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It’s a great big, fun week here on heirloomed, with two very special new additions to the Heirloom Recipe Series!

I have been just bursting to share the delights of  Merrill Stubbs, part one of the dynamic duo behind fabulous foodie site, food52. {note: Amanda joins us tomorrow too – be sure to stop back!}  Merrill, who grew up in a home fortunate enough to have a mother for an amazing cook, has quite an extensive love affair with food. Along with her work on  The Essential New York Times Cookbook, she has also had stints at such amazing publications as Cooks Illustrated and Herb Quarterly (and you know how I adore herbs …).

Here with us today is Merrill, graciously sharing one of her very own family recipes from who else but her mother of course, adding to the collection that is the Heirloom Recipe Series!


For years now, on the day before Thanksgiving my mother has made what my family refers to as “Tuscan Onion Goo” (slightly off putting, I know, so please don’t go by the name alone). Inspired by a visit to a family-owned trattoria in Florence called Ristorante del Fagioli, this sour-sweet onion confit was originally served to my mother as an antipasto. She enjoyed it so much that she asked, in halting but enthusiastic Italian, if the waiter would tell her how it was made. He promptly ushered her into the tiny kitchen, where the sweaty, grinning chef showed her how to put together the dish. She took mental notes and then came home and recreated it, with a few small adaptations.

The recipe has since become one of my mother’s signatures, and Thanksgiving would simply not be the same without “Tuscan Onion Goo.” It’s a great addition — or alternative — to cranberry sauce. While the flavors are very different, it serves a similar role: the sweetness provides a counterpoint to other, more savory sides, and the acid in the vinegar cuts through some of the richness that often pervades the meal.

The confit couldn’t be easier to make, although it does require a bit of a time commitment. You can use frozen pearl onions, but it’s worth trying with fresh cippollini. My mother insists that you have to be crazy to make it with anything other than frozen onions after the first time, but I find peeling cippollini somewhat cathartic. The confit keeps very well in the fridge, and it doesn’t have to be limited to turkey, or to Thanksgiving; it’s great with beef, pork and lamb as well.

Tuscan Onion Confit

Makes about 3 cups

1/4 cup pine nuts
12 ounces small cipollini onions or one 10-ounce bag of frozen pearl onions, thawed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup medium sherry
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup raisins

1. Using a small frying pan, lightly toast the pine nuts over medium-low heat for 3-5 minutes, shaking the pan back and forth to keep them from scorching. Set aside.

2. Peel the onions — either by blanching them first in boiling, salted water for about 30 seconds and then using a sharp paring knife to strip away the skins, or by simply going at the raw onions with the aforementioned paring knife. (Personally, I find blanching a waste of time here and prefer to just have at it.)

3. Put the olive oil in large frying pan over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook gently (without browning) for about 5 minutes. Add the sherry and cook until mostly reduced. Add 3/4 cup water, vinegar, sugar, raisins, pine nuts and a pinch of salt. Stir well. Simmer the mixture over the lowest heat possible for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes or so. You may need to add more water from time to time if the mixture gets too thick and gooey or starts to stick to the bottom of the pan. It is finished when everything has caramelized well, and the flavors have blended together (you can take it as far as you’d like—I for one prefer a deep amber color).

4. Cool and serve at room temperature. Can be made ahead of time and refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.


Be sure to connect with Merrill on Twitter, and with food52 on Twitter and Facebook too!

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.

With Mother’s Day quickly approaching, it’s time to find the perfect gift for Mom!

Whether your Mother is a professional chef or just enjoys her time in the kitchen, Gena Knox’s new cookbook, Southern My Way, is sure to leave her captivated. Pair it with an IceMilk Apron and she’ll be cooking and entertaining her heart out!

I had the great pleasure of meeting Gena last weekend at an event we took part in at Urban Cottage in the quaint Virginia-Highlands neighborhood of Atlanta. We sampled a few of her delicious recipes too!  For more pictures of the fun day, click here.

IceMilk Aprons is proud to offer you the opportunity to win a signed copy of Gena’s cookbook, Southern My Way as part of our Mother’s Day Giveaway!

There are many ways you can enter to win our Mother’s Day Giveaway this week, just be sure to get all entries in now thru Friday 4/29/11 at 11:59pm EDT*!


Five entry points for:

1.  Placing an order for an IceMilk Apron for Mothers Day

One entry point for:

If you ALREADY do any of these things, they DO count! So make sure to leave a comment or wall post for each entry to count! You MUST leave each entry as a separate comment or only one comment will count!

2.  Like the IceMilk Aprons Page on Facebook leaving a note on the wall “I just entered to win a signed copy of Gena Knox’s cookbook, Southern My Way from IceMilk Aprons!

3.  Like the Gena Knox Page on Facebook leaving a note on the wall “I just entered to win a signed copy of Gena Knox’s cookbook, Southern My Way from IceMilk Aprons!

4.  Leave a comment on this Blog Post telling us why your mom deserves to win.

5.  Tweet the following: I just entered to win a signed @GenaKnox cookbook at @IceMilkAprons for #MothersDay!

6.  Tweet the following: An @IceMilk Apron makes a great #MothersDay gift!

7.  Sign up to receive emails from IceMilk Aprons here:


*Some restrictions apply. This giveaway is open to US residents only. Entries must be received by Friday, 4/29/11at 11:59 pm EDT. Winners will be notified via their method of entry. Winners will receive one Gena Knox Cookbook as described above. Product will be shipped from IceMilk Aprons.


In week’s Heirloom Recipe Series, I am so thrilled to have my dear friend Christina Ahumada with us. Christina’s extreme passion for creativity seeps through everything she touches, including her oh-so-wonderful new blog, anora grey. I fell immediately in love with Christina’s style after a quick glance at her perfectly polished nail color and my adoration easily continued after being invited to one of her prosecco & homemade cookie dinner parties.

All photos courtesy of Christina Ahumada


What recipe are you sharing with us?

Great Nana Ida, on my Mother’s side.

What makes this recipe meaningful to you?

Flour everywhere, batter flung among my two sisters and me, the fireplace cracking as the logs move. Smell of cinnamon, nutmeg …….the scent of baking.  The hum of family and friends laughing and enjoying. The exuberance of a snowy afternoon, or a holiday meal being prepared.  Tradition is an oh, so important ideal to carry on, and scents, tastes and experiences bring all those traditions back to the tips of your fingers when you take that  bite into that same recipe you had long ago.  With baking traditions, your memoirs are only a recipe away.  Being in Atlanta now and being born and raised in NY – family is a plane ride away, so the wonderful memories of laughter, sisters, mothers, grandmothers are only a few whisk-strokes away.  Cooking these heirloom recipes bring them right into my kitchen. Every single one of them.

E very holiday breakfast, an array of baking items were prepared. Bread Dolls, Sweet Rolls, and my Great Nana Ida’s Coffee Cake. Rich with cinnamon, roasted walnuts, and they always-adorned crumb part of the cake, this recipe was one we looked forward to every holiday. It provides the memory of family, warmth from the cool, snowy New York winters; and love of family and friends.

Baking has a creative, cathartic memory for me, a tradition that began far before my mother began working with my sisters + I on the kitchen counters with our noses covered in flour and fingers covered in batter. Working with my hands created a most gratifying result and you can then watch people enjoy your creations. I have began an annual holiday tradition combining my memories and host  a cookies + champagne soiree for my very best girlfriends where I serve my Grandmothers brisket, my Mother’s bread dolls + baking delectable’s from my Great Nana Ida’s recipe book all created in  her pink baking bowls.  This serves as a great platform for me to embrace all my creative passions, carry old traditions while beginning new ones, flowers, entertaining + baking. Simple, creative pleasures are easy to find… you just need to be looking for them. These, to me, are the best simple creative pleasures I could ask for.

Nana Ida’s Coffee Cake Recipe

1 cup butter

1 ½ cups sugar

4 eggs separated

3 cups sifted flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 cup milk


*Brown Sugar

*Cinnamon topping

Cream butter, gradually blending in sugar + eggs yolks.  Beat until light + fluffy. Sift flour with baking powder; fold into creamed mixture alternately with milk.  Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry + fold into batter.

Turn 1/3 of batter into greased + floured 9 inch tube pan. Sprinkle with 1/3 of topping.  Add another 1/3 of batter + topping.  Add remaining batter, sprinkle with the remaining topping.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, or until cake tester tests it is done.
Makes 12 servings

*Cinnamon topping: Cinnamon, Brown Sugar + Chopped Walnuts


A bit more about Christina:

Born loving all things creative Christina naturally gravitated to flowers, fashion, interior design + baking. She would pick flowers from her mother’s many gardens until she began taking too many, and she was given her own garden to create and pick flowers from.

Christina embraces her creative passions at anora grey, a floral design company inspired by a passion for design + a love for flowers.

This company embraces creativity offering consultation and floral styling services on all things design, creative, event, wedding or styling related, working with Interior Designers, Brides, Interior Design and Shelter Magazines.

Christina believes no room is complete without the perfectly selected flowers. She tweets on all things flowers, creative + design at @anoragrey and enjoys blogging her work + inspirations at


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.

strawberry-refridgerator-cheese-cakeAs I see the packages of fresh strawberries line the shelves at the super market (whatever happened to those cute little baskets?)I can’t help but share this delight of a recipe as we get closer and closer to the spring season.

I love the term gelatin, it reminds me of those orangestrawberry-refridgerator-cheese-cake-2 boxes of Knox. And after much searching, I have finally determined that the “L of C” inscribed on some of the recipe cards in our families collection, stands for “Lady of Charm” who was something of a homemaker icon in Michigan.

So, as most people do love a good cheesecake, I hope you will enjoy this seasonally fresh little treat.

As wedding season gets into full swing, IceMilk Aprons provides a meaningful gift idea for brides-to-be.

Amidst the wedding registries and bridal showers, a monogrammed gift provides the perfect way for new brides to celebrate their new initial. With two custom monogram styles, IceMilk Aprons allows you to mix & match to suit the new brides personal style & taste.

Aside from the monogram detailing, an apron makes an ideal statement gift for new brides, who will be soon settling into a new home, with new kitchen gear, new meals to cook and a whole host of reasons to entertain. She will be sure to get a good deal of use from her lovely new apron gift.

Last but certainly not least, each IceMilk Apron comes with its own “Heirloom Kit” which includes blank recipe cards, Heritage Tag, and Apron story card. Imagine this gift coming from a new mother-in-law, welcoming the new bride the family with a stack of family recipes and a lovely new family name monogrammed apron. What a special heirloom gift to be treasured for years to come.

And of course, IceMilk Aprons gift packages make a lovely gift for bridal parties as brides are racking their brains on what to get their closest friends in thanks for their support & lasting friendship.

Shop online at

51The Rollings of Cinnamon apron holds a special significance, as do all the aprons in our Heritage Collection – and this full apron was inspired by my lovely Mother, Judy Leckey.

Rollings of Cinnamon is an ode to her divine cinnamon rolls that have graced our plates for many breakfasts past. I love, love, love the cinnamon rolls. And lucky for all of us, there are two special cinnamon roll recipes that Mom makes.

The first is what we call the “crescent” cinnamon rolls. A doughy log filled with gooey cinnamon filling and topped with a powdered sugar icing glaze. A quick & easy recipe perfect for any breakfast dish. The second is the coveted “pie crust” cinnamon rolls. These take just a little more time, craft & care – but are well worth it. Sliced into small individual pinwheel cinnamon rolls – the dough is a flaky pie crust and the filling is more a dry cinnamon streusel filling.

Check back with us tomorrow for the very special cinnamon rolls recipe from Mom. And, click to view more on the Rollings of Cinnamon full apron from IceMilk Aprons.

recipe cardsThus far we have shared with you OUR handwritten family recipes, but now it is your turn to share!

Share a meaningful family recipe with us and be entered in our drawing this month to win an IceMilk Apron, as well as having your recipe featured on our blog!

Enter now, it’s easy:
Comment on this blog entry with the name of your family recipe, along with a short story or memory on why that recipe is meaningful to you. Email me at to submit your handwritten recipe card, only handwritten cards will be considered.

We’d love for YOU to share your recipes with us!

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