Heirloom Meals: Savoring Yesterday's Traditions Today

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:

Monday October 04, 2010

Ms Murky Mondays:
Moroccan Brisket Recipe

Kudos to Whippoorwill Farm in Lakeville, CT for raising, then selling the most beautiful and delicious cut of brisket from their herd and for sharing "Laura's Moroccan Beef Brisket" recipe.  Thank you Laura, whoever you are!!


Here's the recipe with my comments, of course:
This should be made a day ahead for maximum flavor.
 1 whole beef brisket, about 5 lbs
2-3 Tbsp Olive Oil
2-3 large onions (I sliced them)
2 cloves of garlic (I used 4 and minced them)
1 can tomato paste
1 cup beef broth (I used more like 2)
1-1/2 cups red wine (I used 2 1/2 -3)
1 cup dried apricots (I used organic, unsulfured and left them whole)
1 cup of green olives, halved
1 cups prunes, slices
Pepper and salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon (I used 1 tsp)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Heat a large dutch oven on high heat for 2-3 minutes.  Add the olive oil, then add the beef.  Sear the beef for about 5 minutes on both sides until browned.  Remove and season with salt and pepper.  Add sliced onions and saute over medium heat for 10 minutes until golden.  Add salt, pepper, garlic and tomato paste. Put meat back in, add cinnamon and then wine and broth to cover the meat.  Add apricots, olives and prunes.  Cover and place in oven.  Turn the brisket once or twice while it's cooking for 2 1/2 - 3 hours.  Cool in refrigerator overnight.  While the recipe says to defat the gravy, the brisket was so lean there was no fat and the gravy was a perfect consistency and did not need cornstarch to thicken.  Slice the brisket while its cold, put back in gravy and reheat in a 350 degree oven.

I served it with roasted potatoes, broccoli and green salad; and with polenta and sliced tomatoes the next day for dinner. YUMMY.  It was sweet and savory with a nice robust flavor and very tender.  It's a keeper for sure!!

Sunday October 03, 2010

Life at Boulderwood:
A Late Arrival

Could it be?  A baby chick is hatched in autumn?  Indeed it is.  And Mommy bird is doing a great job. Birth is a miracle and hard-wired genetics are fascinating.  I tried to put some water and food nearby and Mommy bird bit me. And to that I say, "why mess with nature?"  She knows what's she's doing.  Who needs humans anyway.  Lesson learned!!
Because I couldn't get close - this photo isn't a good one - but "Harvest Moon" is alive and peepin'!!


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