Heirloom Meals: Savoring Yesterday's Traditions Today

Thursday September 09, 2010

Heirloom Breeds & Seeds:
Where is the corn and eggplant?

It's truly harvest time and it seems the abundance and celerity of the harvest has picked up. It's a bountiful and melancholy time.  The morning mist is postcard perfect with a nip in the air while the days are still warming up.  Jacket weather is not far away.

Here's what Elizabeth Keen from Indian Line Farm has to say about the harvest:
Where is the corn and eggplant?  That is certainly the question many have been asking.  The eggplant remains a bit of a mystery to me.  In years past I have noticed that eggplant seemed to enjoy abundant rain and was not deterred by overly cool temperatures as long as the plants got off to a good start.  We always plant the eggplant the 3rd week of May and then keep the plants covered with floating row cover for at least 2 weeks.  This keeps the plants as warm as possible during what can be still a chilly time of year.  Late May this year was blistering hot and I saw no need to cover them and, in fact, thought I might lose plants because the cover in combination with the biodegradable black plastic can really be overly hot.  However, it turned cold again in early June and the plants were getting eaten by flea beetles so I covered them for two weeks.  When we took the cover off, the plants were noticeably bigger and by all accounts healthy.  We waited and continued to keep the plants as moist as we could through our drip irrigation system.  And we have continued to wait.  After a small flush in July the eggplants have all but petered out.  The plants seem fine, but there has been very little flower production.   I have asked around and it seems more than just I have the same problem.  My conclusion is that eggplant won't flower much above 90 degrees and they really like water.  We can hope for better next year.

Wednesday September 08, 2010

Heirloom Meals Radio:
Happy Rosh Hashana with Lisa Dachinger

For all my Jewish friends - Happy new Year!!! L'Shanah Tovah!!! And in honor of the Jewish New Year, Lisa Dachinger joined Heirloom Meals host, Carole Murko for a delightful hour of reflections and recipe sharing. The sentiment of the holiday is reflected in the food. Apples are dipped in honey, and sweet foods are cooked up in anticipation of the sweetness of the new year. Lisa shares some ideas for her grass-fed lamb as an alternative to brisket. But lest you worry, Lisa also shared her Mom’s tried and true brisket recipe as well as her Mom’s very interesting marinade for the lamb. Lisa boasts that her Mom’s matza balls are floaters and that her ruggelach are prize-winning. Unfortunately that recipe will remain only in the hands of the Dachinger’s, with the promise that it is written down and passed down through the generations!! To the sweetness of the new year!!

Tuesday September 07, 2010

Life at Boulderwood:
A Boy and His Dog

Burtee and Matt surveying their kingdom!!
I love shots from behind and to me there's nothing better than seeing the bond between a boy and his dog.

Monday September 06, 2010

Ms Murky Mondays:
Thank You, Erin Russo

Labor Day = End of Summer, Reflecting & Beginning Afresh

Many of my friends are melancholy. And yes, so am I.  While the 90 degree temps last week seemed to keep summer present for a bit longer, the recent cool off, earlier sun sets and autumnal colors are augurs of the next season.  I am not quite ready.
So today, I want to reflect and write about a person who made my summer exceptional.  Her name is Erin Russo.

I advertised for a Smith College intern (remember Smith is my alma mater) and received several applications but Erin was a stand out in so many ways!!  She was smart enough to read my blog and tailor her letter as a result, she was an anthropology major and understood why I called heirloom meals "salvage anthropology for treasured family recipes," and she had a great attitude and personality.
Erin catapulted Heirloom Meals' progress in three months. We started a facebook fan page, developed an editorial calendar for the blog, booked radio show guests, successfully ran a kickstarter fundraising campaign for a new website, wrote all the content for the soon-to-be-launched website, planned and threw a fundraiser for Berkshire Grown with Sarah Gray Miller from Country Living Magazine etc.
The best part is we had fun while working hard, she was the angel I needed and became a dear friend, sister and daughter in the process.
Here are a few photos of our journey:

Erin at the Taggart House pitching in at the Close Encounters
with Music event that we catered on June 5th.

Allison Hemming and Erin in NYC at the New World Home/
Country Living Green Modular House of the Year Cocktail party on June 7th.

And now Erin's new journey:

Erin in Italy - we are awaiting her Slow Food Saturday Blog posts
when she'll share her food experience grin
And to all of you out there I want to hire Erin when she returns from Italy so let's help me continue to get fans, and raise money for the show!!
Love you ERIN!!

Friday September 03, 2010

Carole’s Concoctions:
Corn Pudding and Springerle Cookies

I love it when my food and recipe comfort zone is challenged and blown wide open.  This past week had two occurances.  The first was over the weekend when our friend David Moore, a race horse owner asked me to cook up a casual dinner for 8 to be shared after the Traver's Cup Race in Saratoga Springs, NY.  He said, "In the interest of this being an heirloom meal, my guests who are also my 2 brothers and their spouses, thought you should make corn pudding."  I said, no problem.  And as I always do when asked to make something I've never made before, I googled corn pudding, printed a couple of recipes and then adapted them into my own.
I thought I was making DESSERT!!
You can only imagine how surprised I was when David put the corn pudding on the table. I proclaimed, "Shouldn't we wait until after the main course?" To which David responded, "It is part of the main course."  And I burst out laughing, admitting I thought it was dessert and I even made whipped cream to go on top!!
And boy was it delicious; a perfect side with grilled hangar steak, chicken, fresh green salad and roasted potatoes. Here's my recipe:  This is a keeper and I was told it was better than their Dad's!! Oh and did I say SIMPLE!!

4 ears fresh corn, shucked and corn cut off cob
4 farm fresh eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
6 Tbsp organic sugar
1/2 stick of butter, softened
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a square 8 x 8 baking dish. Blend all the ingredients in a food processor for about 3-5 minutes until corn is nicely blended while still retaining some texture.  Pour into baking pan and bake until golden brown, about 35-45 minutes.  Cool and serve warm as a side or as dessert grin

David Moore and Jim Finnerty ready to place their bets in Saratoga
and I am guessing we need a horse called Corn Pudding - a WINNER!

And Springerle Cookies were introduced to me by one for my radio show guests (see my Wednesday blog post for the interview).  I am in love with the exquisite molds, the rich history and the taste and texture of the Springerle Cookie.  They may well become a part of my Christmas cookie baking tradition!!

I am so very lucky to have these experiences!!

Thursday September 02, 2010

Heirloom Breeds & Seeds:
Farm Girl Farm Thursdays

As Summer winds to a close at least we have tomatoes to look forward to and thanks to Laura and other farmers we have a great crop - so I am going to be a canning wonder-woman this weekend!!  Here's what Laura has to say this week....

August 31, 2010
Hi all—
End of summer?  Does NOT feel that way.  Although I did wonder if my alarm was mistaken this morning when it seemed to be pretty dark at 6 am…but with 90 degree weather and sun, sun, sun, the cold fingers of winter don’t seem to have quite the grip around my throat that they sometimes do at this time of year.

Although, as the commercials say, “we’ve got plenty of summer left” in terms of tomatoes and watermelons, it is true that kids are returning to school, summer birds are starting to migrate  home to The City…sure signs of fall. And for the summer share CSA members, this week does mark the end of our time together this year.  Thank you, summer share people, for a great season!
Meanwhile we are doing our best to keep getting fall crops in the ground while we try to keep up with the tomato harvest, the perpetual late August/early September dilemma..  We have beets, radishes, carrots and broccoli raab sown, we have new kale and swiss chard seedlings in the ground, and several flats of bok choi and head lettuce awaiting transplant.  We’ll also soon be harvesting baby bitter greens and arugula again, as soon as the leaves size up just a bit more.  We’ll have some baby leeks for you—these babies got pretty engulfed in weeds so they’ve been taking their time growing up, but they are on the way.

I’m looking forward to harvesting pumpkins and winter squash—we haven’t grown much or any of these for the last several years because they are such space hogs.  But our new field afforded the space we needed, and so far the plants and fruits look great, so here’s hoping!  We did get these plants in somewhat later than ideal because the preparation of that new field took longer than we wanted it to, but if you take a walk out there or slow your car down on your way out of the farm, you can see some gorgeous acorn squash and pumpkins lurking beneath those enormous green leaves. 

Some of you who’ve been with FGF for our entire six seasons will remember Marne Litfin, apprentice extraordinaire during our second season, 2005.  She made a guest re-appearance in 2006, and has been traveling the world and learning about all things food and farming.  This past summer she was on staff at my beloved Farm & Wilderness and upon hearing that we had a couple of helpers depart early this season, she wrote to say she had a few weeks between camp and her next gig in Germany, so here she is, reunited with the cherry tomatoes.  We are SO GLAD.  

Other than all that, I’m hoping for some rain which will further all of the above endeavors!

Enjoy the veggies this week.
--Laura Meister, Farm Girl Farm Farmer

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