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As the first official day of summer fast approaches and kids are out of school, families everywhere are preparing for summer vacations. Whether you’re off to a cozy cabin in the mountains or a quaint cottage at the beach, you’re not only embarking on a great vacation but creating a tradition with your family.

I was so thrilled when I caught the tail end of an interview with Ricky Lauren, wife of the fashion-fabulous Ralph Lauren, who has just come out with a special new book – The Hamptons: Food, Family, and History. There are few brands as all-American as the iconic Ralph Lauren, and this book exudes the same tradition and classic influence.

During the interview, Ricky talked about how special their Hampton’s home has been to their family, as a gathering place for them, their friends and their children’s friends. It has been a place that has kept them close, with food and special memories at the heart of it all.

The book takes a look into the kitchen, a collection of family photos and stories and I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy!

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I have noticed several celebrities who have come out with cookbooks giving a nod to the family members that inspired them. I was so tickled when Gwyneth Paltrow gave an IceMilk Aprons shout out in her funny Mother’s Day column on LA WEEKLY { check it out  here } last month, so I wanted to return the favor with a little look into her first cookbook – My Father’s Daughter.

My Father’s Daughter: Delicious, Easy Recipes Celebrating Family & Togetherness – what could be a more perfect theme? She found her passion of cooking from her father and shares her favorite family recipes and family stories. Sure to be a heirloom treat!

And, if you haven’t signed up for Gwyneth’s GOOP emails, be sure to pop over to do so. I love her picks & tidbits, and know you will too.

In this week’s Heirloom Recipe Series, we are so excited to feature a recipe from the collection of Winnie Abramson.  The daughter of a chef and restaurant owner, Winnie’s love of cooking began from an early age.  She decided to incorporate her passions for cooking, green living, nutrition and photography to produce the wonderful and informative blog Healthy Green Kitchen.  You’ll find everything you need to know from making homemade mozzarella cheese and nutella hazelnut spread to a yummy homemade throat remedy and how to start composting.  Oh and it’s super organized and easy to navigate too!

The recipe Winnie shares with you today could not be more interesting, creative and delicious sounding.  Here at IceMilk Aprons, we cannot wait to get in the kitchen with this recipe and we have a feeling you’ll feel the same way too!

Enjoy!

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My grandma Bessie was a lot like me: feeding people made her happy. When she died a few years back, I inherited her recipes.

I keep her recipes in a box, and every now and then, I go through the contents piece by piece. Her greatest hits are all here – Jewish favorites like her brisket and her bundt kuchen- these are the recipes that she made often. But there are also many recipes in the box that while written out on cards in her perfect script, weren’t part of her regular rotation (or at least the rotation I knew as a child).

I always wonder about the story behind these recipes. Are they recipes she actually cooked? Or did they simply intrigue her, so she wrote them down and kept them, but never actually got around to making them?

This recipe for Pickled Crab Apples is one of the handwritten recipes in Grandma Bessie’s collection. I honestly have no way of knowing whether or not this is something she ever made. But she saved it for a reason- it meant something to her- and making the recipes she lovingly preserved is how I stay connected to her.

Recipe for Pickled Crab Apples

Makes 3-4 quarts

How this recipe ended up in my grandmother’s collection is a bit of a mystery to me. A bit of internet research tells me that pickled crabapples (also called spiced crabapples) are traditionally made in the South (where she never lived), but I also found reference to the fact that these might have been served at Jewish holiday meals. Note that as is typical for me when I follow pretty much any recipe, I made some changes. You’ll find my adaptations at the bottom of this post.

Ingredients:

*6 pounds crab apples

*5 cups sugar

*1 1/4 cups cider vinegar

*1 stick cinnamon

*a few whole cloves

*1/2 teaspoon cinnamon drop candy

Directions:

1. Wash apples. Do not remove stems.

2. Bring sugar, vinegar, cinnamon stick and cloves to a quick boil. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Add cinnamon drops.

3. Add crab apples and cook over moderate heat for an hour- 75 minutes until apples are tender.

4. Lift apples with slotted spoon into jars.

5. Cook syrup 10 minutes after filling jars with fruit. Pour syrup over apples in jar and seal.

I halved the recipe and because I didn’t have access to crab apples, I substituted the smallest, crunchiest apples I could find, and I cored and sliced them. I used organic brown sugar instead of white sugar, omitted the cinnamon candy and added an extra cinnamon stick. The result was a chunky applesauce heavy on the spice and tang, and really quite delicious.

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Be sure to connect with Winnie on Twitter, Facebook, on her Healthy Green Living blog, and take a peek at her gorgeous food styling & photography talents online here.

Part of our Heirloom Recipe Series, featuring foodies, chefs, artisans, Southerners & fabulous folks willing to share their stories, recipes and photos in an effort to help preserve and share these family recipes for generations to come.

Mark your calendar folks! IceMilk Aprons is so excited to have the joy and privilege of joining Gena Neely Knox for her cookbook signing at one of our favorite places, Urban Cottage!  Mrs. Knox is kicking off her summer cookbook tour for Southern My Way Saturday, April 23 from 1pm-4pm and we could not be more thrilled to be joining her.

In case you’ve been missing out on the greatness that Gena Knox has created, let us fill you in!  A homemade salsa company turned catering business, creating beautiful landscape architecture on the Georgia coast and starting one of the fastest growing, nationally ranked private companies, Fire and Flavor, with her husband.  Oh and she just wrote her second cookbook, Southern My Way!  Gena’s passion for food, the South, homegrown gardens and family traditions is evident in everything she has created.

Here at IceMilk Aprons we love that her cooking influences come from generations before her, the same traditions she had as a young girl are carried on today, and that she is still trying to master her grandmother’s caramel cake!  If you are in the Atlanta area Saturday the 23rd, please stop by and visit.  Also, check out www.genaknox.com for more information about her book tour and for delicious recipes!  If you would like all the details for the event or would like to RSVP via Facebook please click here.

Our wonderfully southern friend Ms. Lisa Porter joins us here this week for the Heirloom Recipes Series and I couldn’t be more happy to have her. Lisa has a delightful blog – The Lisa Porter Collection – that is filled to the brim with inspiration, beautiful things and creativity galore. I love scrolling thru her photos and writings as the bring about happy times. And her profile photo on Twitter will prove to anyone in doubt that she simply is the purest of Kentucky gals, oh how I adore the proper nature of hats!

I was delighted that Lisa agreed to join us here this week and know her & her family enjoyed a walk down memory lane while compiling this delicious post for you. She has been truly gracious to IceMilk Aprons over on her blog and I couldn’t be more thrilled to have her here to share with y’all. Enjoy!

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Heirloom Recipe Series with Lisa Porter.

Just think how remarkable it is that you can mix together flour, butter, sugar, and an egg, and make a memory that will last a lifetime!

Ever since I was a little girl, I have always had memories of cooking with my mother. Even now, preparing food together is a way for us to connect with each other and with the other wonderful cooks in our family. When I was very young, these values were subconsciously learned and absorbed day after day standing on a chair next to her at the kitchen counter. I was a curious one, carefully watching, and always asking why. I was not just learning how to cook, I was being with my mom and we were playing house!

When I was a teen returning home from high school, I would make my way across the courtyard between our house and the garage, through the French doors that led straight to the kitchen. Mom was always home when I arrived. Not in an apron with flour on her face, instead she was usually in her tennis skirt and sun visor and was contemplating whipping up something new from her favorite Junior League Cookbook!

Yes our schedules had changed but one thing remained the same, time together in the kitchen, Setting the table and lighting the candles was my job. Still playing house, and no we weren’t formal; we just had an antique chandelier from Mexico that she loved to light for dinner. That was the 70’s and Julia Child and Erma Bombeck had the final word!

These days, we still love to gather in the kitchen. It’s the heart the home and the food prepared there nourishes us both physically and emotionally. Food cures and consoles and fills a home with an aroma of warmth and love. Every time life get’s to complicated, I pull my family back to the dinner table, and we all end up happier at the end of the day.

In my kitchen, I have a bookcase full of cookbooks. Remember, I used to work for Chuck Williams. But honestly, I love to cook, my husband loves to cook, my daughter loves to cook, and my son, well, he is a growing boy and just loves to eat.

We all have our specialties but in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we seem to have let something far more important slip away, making memories by lovingly preparing and sharing old family recipes handed down through generations.

This all goes back to what I mentioned earlier, making memories, making food memories that remind us of a special person, place and time. When I started writing The Lisa Porter Collection two years ago, I knew that cooking and entertaining were topics that I wanted to discuss. When I discovered Ashley and Ice Milk Aprons, I was thrilled to find this adorable, energetic, entrepreneurial young woman who decided that if we were going to be cooking and entertaining in the kitchen we certainly deserved to look fresh, crisp, and stylish!

I love how Ashley also believes in keeping all of our food memories alive. She is inspiring whole new generations to find pleasure in preparing food that was lovingly prepared by generations before us. She inspired me to look past my newest cookbooks and unearth what I like to call my golden oldies. Handwritten recipes on stained index cards that remind me that caring hands were at work.

These handwritten recipes not only remind me of my southern heritage, they have given me the greatest way to teach my children that a home cooked meal shared with family and friends is truly what makes life rich!

I was thrilled when Ashley invited me to share two of my favorite homemade recipes here at Preserves! Four generations of my family have been making these traditional southern desserts. I hope you will enjoy them too!

The first recipe is for Apricot Cake.

This recipe was handwritten by my mother, and me, for her Aunt Elouise Stinson.This was Aunt Elouise’s favorite Apricot Cake from the Lubbock Women’s Club Cookbook in Lubbock, Texas.

She had it every year on her birthday. She made me my first Apricot Cake for my 2nd birthday. Growing up, it became my favorite too!

I was always very curious about Aunt Elouise. I remember sitting at her art deco dressing table and running my fingers across her hand cut crystal perfume bottles and monogrammed ivory brushes. She loved red lipstick, good jewelry, Tennessee Walkers, fur coats, and apricot cake! I loved her dearly.

This next recipe is for Brownies-beat by hand and was handwritten especially for me by my Aunt Martha Lee McCaleb shortly before I left for college.

She always said that using fresh ingredients and a little elbow grease was what made homemade the best! How did she ever find the time?

Aunt Martha Lee raised a set of twin boys plus one more making for three rambunctious sons. Here we all are in 1962, admiring a new litter of puppies in Granny’s front yard. Aunt Martha Lee in her stylish red & pink shift, Granny, Uncle Charles, the boys, and me on my mother’s knee.

Aunt Martha Lee was always so busy in the kitchen.  She was usually whipping up creamed tuna on toast and chicken pot pies. All for those hungry boys! I always waited till the coast was clear, then I would grab a kitchen chair and push it right up next to her at the counter. It was time to make brownies.  Little did I know we were making memories. Thank you Aunt Martha Lee. I love you.

Thank you again Ashley for inviting me to Preserves and including me in your Heirloom Recipes Series! I so appreciate you allowing me to share my two favorite deserts and go on about the amazing women for whom they are named. They taught me long ago that made from scratch means made with love and that the effort that goes into a homemade desert is always rewarded by the pleasure it brings.

xo Lisa

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Please do connect with Lisa over on her lovely blog, The Lisa Porter Collection or on Twitter @LisaPorterColle!

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Part of our Heirloom Recipes Series, featuring foodies, chefs, artisans, Southerners & fabulous folks willing to share their stories, recipes and photos in an effort to help preserve and share these family recipes for generations to come.

I am so excited to have the absolutely queen of preserves with us this week for the Heirloom Recipe Series – Mrs. Cathy Barrow of Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Kitchen. Now you all know how much I adore preserves, and Cathy has been recognized by NPR and The Today Show and will soon be featured in the food52 cookbook! I hope you’ll take a moment to get just a glimpse inside of Cathy’s kitchen!

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Heirloom Recipe Series with Cathy Barrow.

My mother’s been gone five years now, but each Thanksgiving she sits on my shoulder and guides me through the rituals.

So many of the foods on my table were foods she made year after year. We didn’t ask for a change in the menu – no one wanted anything to change at all. We looked forward to the appetizers – chopped liver on celery stalks (“There will be plenty of bread later.”)

The table was piled high with creamed onions, green beans with almonds, sausage and apple stuffing, giblet gravy, cranberry sauce and of course, that big beautiful bronzed bird.

Desserts were plentiful, but always included pies: apple for my brother, pumpkin for my Dad, and mincemeat for Mom and me.

Since there were only four of us, and food enough for ten, we were thrilled to start a new tradition when Mom and Dad bought a little weekend house in the Berkshires. By that time, my brother David was married with two kids. I was a career girl, working in Pittsburgh. We would gather in Hartford for Thanksgiving dinner then caravan to the country the next day.

Like us, many of the neighbors had spent their Thanksgivings at home and driven up to the mountains for the weekend. The neighbors – Gail and Dusty – also had plenty of leftovers to share, but were curious to see what others were eating for the holiday. Everyone had leftovers. And that’s how The Dead Poultry Society was born.

Every year, the Friday after Thanksgiving, for years and years, we gathered with a dozen or more neighbors to sample their family’s Thanksgiving favorites. There was an amazing pear relish from Gail. Another had scalloped potatoes that I still dream about, studded with truffles.

But rising above all these treats was the day-after-Thanksgiving sandwich my mother concocted. I’ll be making it again this year, because there’s just nothing like the sweet, salty, savory goodness of this sandwich. It’s definitely a little naughty – highly caloric – but just this one day? It’s a necessity.

Day-After-Thanksgiving Sandwich

Roast turkey
Cranberry Sauce
Chopped liver
Leftover stuffing
Mayonaisse
Challah

YUM.

And this really isn’t possible without classic chopped liver, just the way my grandmother used to make it.


Chopped Chicken Liver

6 eggs, hard boiled and peeled
1 lb. yellow skinned onions, minced fine
3 oz chicken fat (schmaltz) or unsalted butter
1 T grapeseed oil
1/2 lb. livers from pastured free range chickens
2 T cognac

Chop the eggs very fine using an mezzaluna or food processor. They should be fluffy. Put in a large bowl and set aside.
In a large heavy saute pan, heat half the butter with the oil. Add the onions and saute slowly until richly browned but not burned.
Salt and pepper generously while they cook.
In the meantime, rinse and clean the livers well, removing connective sinew.
When the onions have finished cooking, put them in the bowl with the eggs.
Heat 3 oz of schmaltz or butter in the onion pan and saute the livers until no pink remains. Do not brown or crisp. Salt and pepper generously.
Remove the livers from the pan and deglaze with the cognac.
Put the livers in your food processor or a bowl.
Pour the deglazing liquid and goodies from the bottom of the pan into the egg/onion mixture.
Chop the livers with a mezzaluna. If you use your food processor, pulse off and on to chop, not liquify.
Gently fold the livers into the onion/egg mixture.
Test and correct for seasoning. The flavor blooms after chilling, so make this in advance and season carefully.
Pack in ramekins or other serving dishes. Keep dishes small – about 4 oz. and make sure to freeze whatever will not be used within two days.

All images courtesy of Cathy Barrow

Be sure to also connect with Cathy Barrow over on her website, Twitter (@mrswheelbarrow) and on her Facebook Page!

 

 

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Part of our Heirloom Recipes Series, featuring foodies, chefs, artisans, Southerners & fabulous folks willing to share their stories, recipes and photos in an effort to help preserve and share these family recipes for generations to come.

We had such a lovely time attending today’s Sugar Coma event hosted by our always wonderful friend, Shameeka of The Broke Socialite! Featuring some of Atlanta’s finest confections – from cakes & cupcakes, to chocolates &  maple cotton candy, to coffees & ice creams – truly heaven in the form of sugar!

The highlights for me? Meyer lemon sorbet from the folks at High Road Craft ice cream + sorbet, the red velvet cupcakes from The Fickle Pickle, and the handmade marshmallows from Cacao Atlanta. And, I must say nothing was lovelier in presentation than the *gorgeous* pecan pies from West Egg – which somehow I failed to capture visually … along with the beautiful simplicity of the maple cotton candy from Maple Farm.

A glorious time, and yes as you might imagine, still in a sugar coma over here … take a moment to click to view the rest of our photos from this event!

From garden to craft to cooking-from-scratch, Martha Stewart‘s MARTHA logo says it all in one intricate glance, embodying everything she is as a person, as a brand, as the heirloom matriarch of our time.

I had the very fine honor of crossing off one pretty hefty To-Do on my bucket list this week,  I was invited as an audience guest at Martha’s Blog Show. A fabulous trip to New York City was just what I needed in terms of inspiration for a brand new year.

As my thoughts wander about amidst all of the heirloom touches that inspire me each & every day – from fashion to cooking to antiques to architecture – I find it important to also note the people behind such things that keep the past in the present for us all to enjoy. There is no denying that Martha Stewart has build her own well-deserved empire one stitch at a time, but to me, it is Martha who has led the heirloom-chic trend of today; it is she that keeps it alive and well in the world.

For Gen X & Y, knitting is the epitome of cool, Food Network is a can’t-miss, everyone wants to grow their own fresh herbs, glitter is all the rage, and KitchenAid Mixers are at the top of everyone’s wish list. It is my belief that Martha has inspired all such things in some form or fashion, constantly keeping them in the forefront of fabulous. The craft of sewing or cooking-from-scratch will never be lost in this world of drugstore costumes and microwaved meals.

So, you may check out the live chatter from the oh-so-delicious #blogshow and always thank Martha Stewart, the Heirloom Matriarch of our day, who inspires things from the past to be savored for generations to come.


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Copyright (c) IceMilk Aprons 2010

The New Year brings about a celebration like no other – of reflection, renewal and rebirth. In the midst of the winters cold, a fervent bubbling of anticipation and the best of intentions ahead.

The tradition of New Years Resolutions dates back to 153 BC, as the Romans honored Janus (hence, January) the god of beginnings. With his two faces, Janus could both look back on the past and forward to the future and thus became the ancient symbol for resolutions.

As we look both behind and ahead to set our resolutions for 2010 (see one here), we will be very sure to include some Heirloom Resolutions on our list again this year.

We wish you & yours all the very best in the new year! What resolutions are you making for 2010?

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Delectable sticks of soft peppermint delight, Bob’s Peppermint Sticks are a must-have vintage confection for the holidays.

Wooden barrels brimmed-over with small bags of these fragrant peppermint sticks fill your head with reminiscent memories of noching on the simple treats. Wrap a stack with a simple ribbon for a beautiful stocking stuffer or in place of a traditional bowl of dinner mints. Adding a peppermint stick to a mug of cocoa or coffee for a tasty stir, or as garnish in a specialty holiday drink.
Be sure to grab a tiny bag of these sweet pieces of peppermint sticks and add a classic twist to the candy canes of today to freshen up your holiday cheer.

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