Monday June 21, 2010
In celebration of the longest day of the year and the first harvest of summer we are hosting a Solstice Soiree at Boulderwood Farm! Every year during the solstice the sun shines directly down the second floor hallway making a spectacular light display as if Boulderwood was Stonehenge itself. Since it is amusing to extend metaphors, we, the misplaced druids, took it as a sign that we must party!
Tonight our table will boast fresh from the sea Maine lobsters, burgers of all breeds, beef, lamb and turkey, radish dip, garlic scape and white bean dip, garlic scape pesto (delicious on burgers!), roasted fingerling potatoes, lush green salad and local blueberry pies for dessert. You might be wondering how we can have lobsters without corn but we are sticking to the harvest theme and will have to throw another party once corn is in season.
Friday June 18, 2010
Ahhhhh...it's friday and thoughts of the weekend are beginning to seep into my psyche. Will there be enough hours to finally weed and plant my vegetable garden, get in some much needed exercise and plan a father's day celebration for Jim with his three kids. My Dad, however, will get all my love and well wishes delivered to him through the airwaves and, of course, the phone!! His gift from me was the trip to Shelburne Farms, VT for the cheesemaking extravaganza we attended last weekend.
So what will I be concocting? Well, it's garlic scape and strawberry season so it would be fitting have both items on the menu. As for the main course, I am thinking barbecue ribs....I'll be attempting something out of Jason Day and Aaron Chronister's book, BBQ Makes Everything Taste Better .
Here's a great recipe that I tore out of the New York Times a couple of years ago for
White Bean and Garlic Scape Dip:
3-4 garlic scapes (but I use twice as many!!)
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 can cannelini beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup olive oil
ground pepper to taste
I like adding a few drops of tabasco!!
Add sliced scapes, salt, pepper and lemon juice in a food processor and process until finely chopped, then add cannelini beans and process to a rough puree. With motor running drizzle in the olive oil. (The recipe calls for some water but I leave it out. It suggests 2-3 Tbsp to make the mixture the consistency of a dip. I like more of a spread!)
And, for the strawberries - how about some ice cream. You'll need and ice cream maker. (I have a cuisinart and don't forget to put the ice cream bowl in the freezer for 12 hours or so.)
Strawberry Ice Cream:
1-2 pints of strawberries, stemmed and sliced
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 cup sugar - I use organic
1 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
Combine strawberries, 1/3 cup sugar and lemon juice and let "macerate
" for 2 hours. Mix milk and 2/3 cup sugar with a hand blender until dissolved and add with the vanilla and heavy cream and liquid from macerated strawberries into the ice cream freezer bowl and turn on ice cream maker and churn for 25 minutes. Then add strawberries for 5 more minutes, place in freezer-safe container and let set up in freezer for an hour or so or eat immediately for a soft-serve consistency.
Wednesday June 16, 2010
How does Boston, beards and beer = BBQ man date? Just listen to the story of Heirloom Meals' radio guest, Jason Day, the co-author of BBQ Makes Everything Better. Born and raised in Kansas City, Jason learned from a young age that the best way to occupy, enjoy and eat with family (a large, Irish Catholic one at that!) was to have a BBQ. The slow, thought-out, smoke-filled kind of BBQ that offers more than just dogs and burgs. Just in time for Father's Day weekend, Jason's insights into everything from meat cuts to seasonings to BBQ strategies, provide some great tips for people looking to take grilling to the next level for dad's special day. Listen in and enjoy Jason's humorous anecdotes about the flavorful BBQ culture of Kansas City and his unique experiences and successes as a champion BBQ-er.
Tuesday June 15, 2010
Poofer the Polish chicken wants to know....
Am I having a good hair day or a bad one?
Monday June 14, 2010
Pasture to Palate
As usual, I am a moving target. Just returned from an installation for one of my interior design clients in Pelham, NY. ......
But what I really want to share is my weekend at Shelburne Farms, VT attending a cheddar cheesemaking seminar with the head cheesemaker, Nat Bacon.
Shelburne Farms "was created as a model agricultural estate in 1886 by William Seward and Lila Vanderbilt Webb. In 1972, it became an educational nonprofit. Our nearly 400 acres of woodlands are Green Certified from the American Tree Farm System. Our grass-based dairy has 125 purebred, registered Brown Swiss cows. Their milk is transformed into our award-winning farmhouse cheddar cheese here on the property."
We began our day with a full tour of the grounds.
And Nat Bacon and Marshall Webb shared tons of information on sustainable farming techniques, the importance of soil management and grass-growing. I felt like I was living Michael Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma upfront and personal. The cleanliness of the barns and the care taken in managing every aspect of the farm was truly inspiring. A true biodynamic farm.
And why is this so important? Well, the cows eat the grass which in turn produces healthy cows and milk full of nutrients. The milk is then turned into cheese. And the cheesemaking process is indeed fascinating.
It all begins at 8.30 am with the delivery of the milk from the freshly milked cows, then the milk is heated up and the large stirring paddles are started. At various times and specific temperatures, a culture and then an enzyme are added, and then you wait. Patience is a cheesemakers' virtue. And then, in a frenzy of activity, the curds and whey need to be separated. And then the "cheddaring" begins. Did you know cheddaring is actually a verb? An action very specific to making cheddar cheese.
Cheddaring is a process of letting the curds settle into each other while the acidity rises and when each of those rectangles is picked up and turned several times until a desired acidity is achieved. Then they are chopped up and salted in a three step process, and then placed into molds and pressed overnite. The entire process ends around 4 pm producing around 550-600 pounds of cheese. This process is repeated each day during the peak cheesemaking season or for 250 days or so.
Eating farmstead artisanal cheddar has a whole new meaning. I relish every bite and crave more!!