Heirloom Meals: Savoring Yesterday's Traditions Today

Monday October 11, 2010

Ms Murky Mondays:
Alex Elman

Sometimes people are placed in your life to inspire you.  I met such a person last night - her name is Alex Elman. She doesn't yet know that she had such an impact on me, but she did.  Her story - inspiring!
We spoke about organic farming and organic wines and I was excited to see if perhaps she might want to be a guest on my radio show, and better yet, a guest wine blogger.  You see, Alex is a wine expert and has started her own label - Alex Elman Wines - Authentic Wine Treasures that are natural and organic. Alex is also blind.  I tip my hat and raise my glass to Alex!!

According to a NY Post article:

"These wines are the best examples of what they are and where they come from. They are wines that are honestly made," she said.
Elman goes for wines that are organically produced, and has picked four with which to launch her company: a Chardonnay and a cabernet sauvignon, both from France; and a red, a Malbec, and a white called a Torrentes, both originating in Argentina.
The wines go for $12 to $15 a bottle, and Elman wanted them to be good enough for people to bring to a party, and affordable enough for every day.
"I'm not someone who is out there telling you what to drink," she said.
"What we're trying to do with Alex Elman Wines is to take a lot of the guesswork out, because when you walk into a store there are so many wines.
"I would really like this to be people's go-to wine," she said.

I can't wait to taste them!!  Thank you Alex.

Friday October 08, 2010

Carole’s Concoctions:
Gordon Hyatt’s Pumpkin Soup

This is the simplest and most delicious soup.  Thank you Gordon!!
Jim said he loved the flavors.  And pumpkin is really healthy!!

One sugar pumpkin, cut in half, seeded
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 apples, peeled and chopped
1 potato. peeled and chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
4 cups Chicken broth
Cumin, to taste

In a 400 degree oven, roast pumpkin by placing flesh-down with about 1" water and cover with tin foil for about 30 minutes.

1. Saute onion and butter in a soup pot

2. Add potatoes, apples, garlic and saute
3. Add 4 cups chicken broth
4. Add cooked pumpkin
5. Puree in a cuisinart or blender

6. Add cumin to taste


Thursday October 07, 2010

Heirloom Breeds & Seeds:
Celebrating more RAIN and some recipes!!

You gotta love Elizabeth Keen and how she runs Indian Line Farm - check out the list of produce for this week's pick up.  THANK YOU is all I can say!!
And, that carrot soup (she suggests) is on my menu today - a rainy, damp and cool day here in the Berkshires.

News from Indian Line Farm
After recording 7" of rain Friday afternoon I began to think of the Old Testament.  This summer has been filled with drought, extreme heat, small insects in mammoth quantities, a strange fungus which killed our last cucumber planting and now... flooding.    We are lucky here in that our land does not actually flood but it sure is saturated with water.  We were overjoyed at the rain and had quite a time on Thursday and Friday during harvest.  We were all so happy to be wet and warm that the pelting rain rarely bothered us.  We will now be rolling up our irrigation equipment for another year and hoping for a bit more rain in 2011. 

For the farm crew,


Vegetables for the week of October 4th
       Potatoes, from Thompson Finch Farm--Ancram, NY
       Green Tomatoes
       Red Meat Radishes
       Hakurei White Sweet Turnips
       Scarlet Turnips
       Cabbage--limited quantity
       Bok Choy
       Daikon Radish
      Broccoli Raab--limited quantity
      Purple Top Turnips
Mix and Match Greens
          Chard, Kale, Arugula, Mustard Greens and Spinach

Delicata Winter Squash

Tomatoes--up to at least 2 lbs.
Rainbow Salad Mix--possibly none
Cherry Tomatoes
Fruit Share
1/2 gallon apple cider from Windy Hill Farm for folks on Tuesday.  Friday folks got cider on Friday October 1st.
Macoun Apples from Maynard Farms, Ulster Park, NY

Heavenly Carrot Soup  (Gardeners’ Community Cookbook by Victoria Wise)
Serves 3 to 4

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter        

1 ½ tsp. ground coriander
1 small onion, finely chopped        

4 cups chicken broth
1 lb. carrots, scraped and finely chopped     

½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
½ cup white wine                

Sprigs of cilantro, for garnish (optional)

1.  Melt the butter in a large soup pot.  Stir in the onion and sauté for 5 minutes, until slightly wilted.  Add the carrots, wine, and coriander.  Cover the pot and cook over low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are mashably soft.  Remove from the heat and cool enough to handle.
2.  Puree the carrot mixture, along with 1 cup of the broth, in a food processor or through a food mill.  Return the puree to the pot and stir in the salt, pepper, and remaining 3 cups of broth.  Reheat and serve right away if serving warm, or cool, and chill if serving cold.  Garnish with the cilantro, if using, just before serving.
Alice’s Moroccan Carrots  (Gardeners’ Community Cookbook by Victoria Wise)
Serves 6

18-24 baby carrots with ¼ in. stem attached, scrubbed, and halved lengthwise 
 ¼ tsp. paprika, hot or mild 
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon                    
1 clove garlic, crushed              
Pinch of salt   

¼ cup olive oil                   
¼ tsp. ground cumin   

Pinch of cayenne   
2 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice            
1 T. chopped fresh parsley leaves

1. Combine the carrots, garlic, and pinch of salt in a large sauté pan.  Add water to cover, bring to a boil, and simmer briskly over medium heat until tender, 3-4 minutes.  Drain and cool to room temperature.
2. Transfer the carrots to a nonreactive dish large enough to hold them without overlapping too much.  Toss with the cumin, paprika, cinnamon, and cayenne. Add the lemon juice, oil, and parsley, toss again, and set aside to marinate for at least 1 hour.  May be refrigerated for up to 3 days, holding out the parsley until just before serving.

Wednesday October 06, 2010

Heirloom Meals Radio:
Becky Sue Epstein

While Becky Sue Epstein's culinary heritage is quite interesting, it's her handy reference, "Substituting Ingredients" that is a MUST for all cooks - aspiring or seasoned!! Host, Carole Murko, navigates the listener through Becky Sue's upbringing - she had a catering grandmother, lived overseas in Switzerland where kids brought bread and chocolate for lunch, and ended up as a restaurant reviewer for the LA Times before becoming a wine connoisseur, food writer and consultant. Substituting Ingredients is truly a great tool for the home cook - it will solve any missing ingredient disaster and provides some very sage advice and tips. Thank you Becky Sue - this one's on my Christmas list for all my friends!!

Tuesday October 05, 2010

Tabletop Tuesdays:
Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding Centerpieces

Sometimes it's not just one tabletop that needs decorating...but 30!!  Shakespeare & Co. is having its annual gala and my friend Lisa Newmann offered to co-chair the decorating committee with me.  To Lisa's credit she queried a few creative people and came up with the idea of decorating styrofoam rounds with some white spackle and lots of trinkets and in one afternoon of good cheer and laughter, 5 of us created some awesome cakes.
In this case we are hoping people will have our cakes but NOT eat them too!!  At the end of the gala each centerpiece will be for sale.

Check them out:

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