Heirloom Recipes is a term coined by the fabulous Beekman Boys , Josh and Brent whom many of you know as the winners of the Amazing Race. My first introduction to the Beekman Boys was through two of their biggest fans my aunt Joellen and my mother Maureen. Many phone calls and afternoon lunches were spent raving about their show The Fabulous Beekman Boys and how I need to catch up by watching on demand; followed by a book club of The Bucolic Plague: How Two Manhattanites Became Gentlemen Farmers; then on to a packed book signing in Cambridge at the Harvard Square Coop and ending their Beekman Boys tour with a trip to Sharon Springs to visit the farm and the home town of what is lovingly been tauted as the “gay Green Acres”. Now you cans see why I lovingly tease them and call them my Beekman Boys stalkers!
Our most recent run in with the Beekman Boys was at the Stonewall Kitchen’s Cooking School. This class brought forth an understanding to me what heirloom recipes really are about and where my mom and aunt’s enjoyment of these two quirky and genuine men comes from. It is about the memories that simple, seasonal ingredients and recipes bring to the table every time you make them. During our class Brent said something that has stuck with me, “recipes are every changing and evolving” as our families grow and change. Adding your own twist or spin on to a recipe should be welcomed, and it almost puts a stamp on that moment time and allows that memory to live on.
My Grandmother Ellen Scannell, or as many of us, loving refer to her as Nana, had passed away about a week prior to us going to the Stonewall Kitchen’s Cooking School. Nana was the life of the party, a mother of 9 children, 15 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren! So imagine all the meals she cooked during her lifetime. The thing I will remember the most about her passing (which I didn’t notice until attending the cooking class) was the first thing my mom and aunts did was get out cookbooks used by my grandmother and recreated childhood memories through American Chop Suey, Beef Bourguignon and cheese potatoes.
My aunt Joellen gave an amazing eulogy where food, meals and holiday memories played a vital role in understand how loving, caring and exuberant my grandmother was. Those moments are what heirloom recipes are all about, it created an understanding of where we come from and what it must have been like to grow up in a bustling house of 9 busy and active children. For them to share that food and now those recipes, I will forever be able to stay connected to my Nana and family. Who knew that cooking class, a fabulous cookbook and 2 entertaining farmers could create such warm and meaningful memories!
Now as Thanksgiving is upon us, family is gather and we are kicking off the holiday season this is a perfect time to create Heirloom Recipes with your family. Just simple, whole foods can create a dish that has love, meaning and memories behind it! I will start you off with Pumpkin Cheese Bread from The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook. I cooked this right after the taking the class, this is savory bread that has a vibrant flavor and color from pumpkin puree, cayenne, and sharp cheddar cheese. Also something about fresh cooked bread in a home is so warming and welcoming.
My Challenge this week is for you to share your favorite heirloom recipes your family uses during the holiday season with all my readers! Post pics to my facebook page! Happy Thanksgiving!!
- 3 3/4 cup(s) All-Purpose Flour, plus more for surface and bowl
- 1 tablespoon Light-Brown Sugar
- 1 package Rapid-Rise Yeast
- 1 1/4 teaspoon Salt
- 1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
- 3/4 cup Pumpkin Puree (not sweetened)
- 4 ounce Shredded Sharp Cheddar
- 1 tablespoon Unsalted Butter, softened, for buttering pan
- 1 large Egg, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon water
Step 2:Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until it forms a smooth ball. (Add up to 1/4 cup more flour if needed.) Sprinkle a large bowl with flour and add ball of dough, turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Step 3:Butter a 9- by 5-inch loaf pan with 1 tablespoon butter. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and use hands to flatten to a rectangle, about 9 by 10 inches. Roll dough into a log and place seam-side down in loaf pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let rise at room temperature until almost doubled in volume, 1 to 1 1/4 hours.
Step 4:Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Using a sharp knife, slash loaf down center. Brush loaf with egg wash. Bake until loaf sounds hollow when tapped, 40 to 50 minutes. Turn out of pan onto a wire rack to cool.