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Giveaway: Candy in a Jar eBooks

Book Mill

One of the things I most appreciate about technology is the fact that it gives people the opportunity to share their creative works with larger audiences without having to go through the traditional channels. Musicians can get their music out to appreciate ears, photographers have unlimited methods for disseminating their work, and writers can sidestep the publishing industry with ease.

One such writer who has taken great advantage of ready online distribution is Jennifer Kitchens. She is the author of a quartet of ebooks dedicated to sweet spreads and preserves. They are called Candy in a Jar, More Candy in a Jar, Candy in a Jar: Tastes of Summer, and Candy in a Jar: Fall Flavors (you can also buy all four in a single edition, if you prefer).

Jennifer took the time to answer a few questions about herself. Read more about her and her work after the jump!

For this week’s giveaway, I have three copies of Jennifer’s books to share. The winners will get to choose which they’d like to have and cook from. Here’s how to enter:

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell us about your favorite sweet preserve.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Saturday, May 30, 2015. Winners will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog soon thereafter.
  3. Giveaway open to all. Void where prohibited.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog at the bottom of this post.

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Links: Jam, Doughnuts, and Winners

Finally! A breakfast place that takes jam seriously! Homemade mixed berry jam! #happyjam

We spent the holiday weekend in Northampton visiting friends. We had a lovely time and I’m back feeling refreshed and ready for the summer to start picking up speed (this time of year flies by faster than any other for me). Now, links!

omnimount box

The winners in last week’s OmniMount giveaway are #3/Vin and #86/Juliann Goldman. I’ll be in touch with the winners shortly!

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Cookbooks: Seven Spoons

Seven Spoons cover

If you follow the food blog scene, you may have heard that long-time blogger Tara O’Brady recently released her first cookbook, Seven Spoons. I have seen this beautiful book everywhere lately, coupled with glowing praise and pictures of delectable food.

Seven Spoons chia pudding

Tara’s book landed in my mailbox during that crazy phase when I was finishing my own book draft and while I took a cursory glance, I didn’t pay it the attention it merited. However, since turning in that document, I’ve been clearing out the piles and turning my focus to the neglected pile of review copies that gathered in an unwieldy stack next to my desk.

Seven Spoons spiced candied nuts

Friends, this book deserves all the love it has received of late. I’ve spent many an hour falling into these glorious pages and my copy is now riddled with hopeful Post-Its. It has that perfect balance of inviting story telling, appealing recipes, and spare, beautiful photography.

Seven Spoons soused tomatoes

I also love that in a world where cookbooks seem to require increasingly narrow lenses to be salable, this one simply features Tara’s favorite recipes. This means that you’ve got recipes for seeded bread alongside braised beef. I so appreciate the diversity and inspiration these pages deliver.

Seven Spoons pickled jalapenos

In addition to the recipes I’ve pictured here (which I very much want to try), I’m also hoping to make the Fennel and Chard Puff (page 95), the Pickled Strawberry Preserves (page 111), and the Rhubarb Raspberry Rye Crumble (page 219) as soon as is reasonable.

Seven Spoons spine

What cookbooks have been delighting you of late?

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Urban Preserving: Small Batch Vanilla Rhubarb Jam

chopped rhubarb

I’ve been keeping this blog long enough that I’m starting to repeat myself. This rhubarb jam, for instances, is nothing more than a simplified, scaled down version of the one I posted in the first year I was writing here (there’s also a very similar recipe in my first cookbook).

sugared rhubarb

The honest truth of it is that I can as much for myself as I do to create content for this site, and I very much love this easy little preserve. And so I make it every year or two, each time tweaked slightly. I thought you’d like to see how I do it when I’m only making a little bit.

vanilla rhubarb jam

You could also use this recipe as a starting place for a strawberry rhubarb jam. Either swap in berries for half the rhubarb, or double it (I know that I typically discourage people from doubling small batch recipes, but because this one has a touch of pectin, it scales up nicely).

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CSA Cooking: Turkey Meatloaf and Quick Pickled Chard Stems

finished meatloaf

One of the items in my Philly Foodworks box a couple of weeks ago was a big bundle of chard. Chard is a fairly regular player in my kitchen and most of the time when I’m possession of a bunch, I work it into a pot of soup or turkey chili.

However, with the weather warming up, I didn’t feel moved to make soup or chili. And when I try to serve my husband a side dish of garlicky sauteed greens, he balks. So I split apart the stems and leaves and used them separately.

I cut the leaves into ribbons, sauteed them with a chopped leek and stirred that delicious mess into a batch of turkey meatloaf (that is the recipe at the bottom of this post). I know that meatloaf is singularly unsexy, but it’s one of my favorite week night dinners. I love that it can contain a world of vegetables, is easy to throw together, and makes the very best leftovers (meatloaf sandwiches are my jam).

swiss chard quick pickles

The leaves taken care of, I chopped the stems into small bits and funneled them into a pint jar. Then, I combined 1 cup of rice wine vinegar, 1/2 cup water, 1 tablespoon honey, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt in a glass measuring cup and microwaved it until the salt and honey dissolved. I poured the warm brine into the jar, put a lid on, let it cool until room temperature and popped the jar into the fridge.

The meatloaf was good, but those pickles are the true winner here. They remain intensely crunchy and have just the right amount of pucker. I’ve been eating them spooned onto salads for the last week and am nearly down to the end of the jar. As soon as another bundle of chard appears in my life, I plan on making another batch.

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Small Batch Strawberry Balsamic Jam

strawberry balsamic jam

Tonight’s live online class was terrific. A small group of diehard canners showed up and interacted with me as I made a small batch of strawberry balsamic jam in my tiny kitchen.

The recipe I made is a slightly lower sugar riff on this strawberry vanilla version. The balsamic and a pinch of freshly ground black pepper give it depth and just a little edge that goes really well with cheese or as a glaze for meat.

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