Archive | cookbooks RSS feed for this section

Giveaway: Foolproof Preserving from America’s Test Kitchen

Foolproof Preserving cover - Food in Jars

Over the years, America’s Test Kitchen has become known and respected for their tireless pursuit of the very best recipes and techniques for home cooks. In their newest cookbook, Foolproof Preserving: A Guide to Small Batch Jams, Jellies, Pickles, Condiments, and More, they’ve turned their attention to the art of putting up.

Foolproof Preserving peach jam - Food in Jars

Like the other America’s Test Kitchen books that have come before, this volume is thoughtfully constructed, clearly written, beautifully photographed, and features a number of recipes that will have both new canners and seasoned preservers leaping up to gather produce and pull out their cookware.

Foolproof Preserving pickled red onions - Food in Jars

The introduction to this book is particularly useful, because it answers so many of the questions that people typically have about canning. They clearly go into the issues around acid content, achieving set, adjusting for altitude, and, in the case of fermentation, the relationship between salt and temperature.

Foolproof Preserving figs - Food in Jars

As I see it, there exists a fairly large flaw with this book. To my imperfect count, of the 111 recipes included, 42 of them cannot be processed and made shelf stable. To be fair, there are 16 recipes for quick and fermented pickles, which are things that never go into a boiling water bath in the first place. But that still leaves us with a goodly number of recipes that will require space in the freezer or fridge.

I can see why the authors made the choices they did. They were developing recipes where the topmost priority was flavor, texture, and freshness. Those are all noble and worthy goals. However, as someone who preserves primarily to create good-tasting food that can live on the shelf until needed, I find myself frustrated to be confronted with a tomato jam recipe that can’t be processed (particularly since a small amount of citric acid would make it safe for the canner and would have very little impact on the finished flavor).

Foolproof Preserving back - Food in Jars

Reading the introduction, I have a sense of why this book came to be as it is. The authors confess from the start that they approached this project as canning novices and that the testing was a process of discovery for them. I can see how that shaped the book I hold in my hands, because they were not driven by the primary goal of having shelf stable preserves to last the year. However, it doesn’t stop me from wishing they’d better addressed the fact from the start that 38% of the book focuses on short-term, rather than long-term, preserving.

Foolproof Preserving giveaway pack - Food in Jars

With all of that off my chest, let me say that again that this is a beautiful, well-designed, useful book. If long-term shelf stability isn’t your primary goal, you will find much to love here. I plan on exploring this book throughout the summer and fall, just taking care not to fall in love with too many recipes that demand space from in my limited fridge and freezer.

Thanks to the kind folks at America’s Test Kitchen, I have one copy of this beautiful book to give away, along with a jar lifter and stainless steel wide mouth funnel. Here’s how to enter.

  1. Leave a comment on this post. Tell me about something you’ve preserved lately, or a preserve you opened and enjoyed in recent days.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Sunday, May 8, 2016. A winner will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Monday, May 9, 2016.
  3. Giveaway open to United States only (so sorry!). 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.

Disclosure: America’s Test Kitchen sent me the copy of the paperback you see here, along with a box of jars, two wide mouth funnels, and a jar lifter. I’ve included the jar lifter and one of the wide mouth funnels in the giveaway, they’re also providing the second copy of the book. All this has been done at no cost to me. No additional compensation has been provided. All opinions expressed are entirely my own. 

Comments { 273 }

Curious Feast Postcard Box from Princeton Architectural Press

Curious Feast box - Food in Jars

I have always loved the convergence of food and art. Whether it’s a carefully arranged platter of cut vegetables designed to please the eye, or a more enduring still life rendered in oils or water color, I am always drawn in. Which is why I found the new box of postcards from Princeton Architectural Press so appealing.

Curious Feast open box - Food in Jars

Called Curious Feast: 100 Postcards by 10 Artists, this compact box features cards from artists who specialize in food-related art. The pieces are wide-ranging and include a realistic bowl of ramen, close-ups of food that look more like the surface of the moon than something edible, hand-written recipes, food sculpted out of fabric, and lots more.

Curious Feast strawberries - Food in Jars

The artists featured in Curious Feast are Naz Sahin Ozcan (curator), Alex Proba, Brest Brest Brest, Caren Alpert, Melinda Josie, Patricia Curtan, Michele Humes, Mimi O Chun, Wijnand Warendorf, and Joel Penkman. It should come to no surprise that my two favorite cards in the box are Mimi O Chun’s canning and pickling-themed ones. I want that plush jar!

Curious Feast jars - Food in Jars

 

The box would make a good gift for food lovers, those who like to send (or just collect) postcards, or anyone who wants to brighten up their workspace, kitchen, or dining room with whimsical pictures of food. The Curious Feast box is available from Amazon, or directly from Princeton Architectural Press.

Disclosure: The PR folks at Princeton Architectural Press sent me the Curious Feast box in the hopes that I might be charmed by it and be moved to share it here on the blog. I was entirely delighted by it and so wrote this post. No additional compensation was provided and all opinions expressed in this blog post are my own. 

Comments { 1 }

Giveaway: Paperback Edition of Stir by Jessica Fechtor

Stir Paperback Cover - Food in Jars

One of my favorite books of 2015 was Jessica Fechtor’s Stir. It is memoir-with-recipes that tells of her brain aneurism at the age of 28, and her grueling but successful recuperation. An avid cook and joyful eater prior to the aneurism, the book is the story of her recovery and the ways in which food brought her back to herself as her wounded brain and body healed.

Stir Paperback Back - Food in Jars

I read the book in just a day and half last summer, and mentioned it briefly on the blog last fall. Today, the paperback version of Stir came out (complete with a pretty new cover featuring the author!) and when I was offered a chance to give away a copy of that edition, I said yes immediately. After all, I’m always delighted to have a chance to shine a light on work that I love.

Stir Paperback Spine - Food in Jars

I have one copy of this wonderful book to give away. Here’s how to enter.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me something you’ve read recently that you loved.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Saturday, April 9, 2016. A winner will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, April 10, 2016.
  3. Giveaway open to United States only (so sorry!). 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.

Disclosure: Avery (the publisher) sent me the copy of the paperback you see here in the hopes that I might post about it and they’re providing the giveaway unit. No additional compensation was provided. 

Cookbooks: The Backyard Homestead Book of Kitchen Know-How

Kitchen Know-How Cover - Food in Jars

I have been a fan of Andrea Chesman’s work for a very, very long time. The author of more than 20 book, her Pickles & Relishes was one of the first canning books I bought when I started down this path nearly a decade ago and I consider The Pickled Pantry one of the best volumes on home pickling out there.

Kitchen Know-How Contents - Food in Jars

I had the good fortune to meet Andrea last year at the IACP annual conference and I was delighted when she told me that she had another book in the works. Called The Backyard Homestead Book of Kitchen Know-How, it is an incredibly comprehensive guide to cooking, canning, home dairy, freezing, curing, fermenting, dehydrating, and more.

Kitchen Know-How Equipment - Food in Jars

The book is divided into three large chunks of information. The first is called Getting the Most from Fresh Food and contains information about setting up your kitchen (including Andrea’s recommendations for the sturdiest and most durable equipment), how to harvest, handle, and cook fresh produce, how to store grains and beans, what to do with eggs, tips on butchering poultry and rabbits, how to make the most of fresh milk, and how to label, store, and use goat, lamb, pork, and beef.

Kitchen Know-How Freezing - Food in Jars

The second part of the book is called simple Food Preservation, and it offers detail on cold storage, freezing, canning (both boiling water and pressure), drying, pickling, the making of fruit preserves, culturing milk, and curing meats and sausages. I particularly like her essay on pages 227 and 228 entitled, “Strong Opinions about Pectin.” I have similarly strong opinions on the topic.

Kitchen Know-How Homestead Cooking - Food in Jars

Part three is called Homestead Cooking and is a treasury of recipes, preparations, and suggestions for how to cook, bake, simmer, and stew the fruits of your homestead into appealing meals and treats. What I most like about this section is that Andrea repeatedly encourages her readers to use these recipes as nothing more than a starting place and that they are there to be adapted and personalized depending on the ingredients you have.

Kitchen Know-How Back - Food in Jars

Andrea has poured her years of culinary experience into this book. It’s one that any home cook looking to stretch seasonal produce and make the most of the food coming forth from their homestead, garden, or farmers market will value. I highly recommend it!

Comments { 6 }

Naturally Sweet Food in Jars Book Tour – West Coast Edition

Book Larder Windows

Friends! My new book officially comes out tomorrow (though in reality, it’s been shipping for the last two weeks), and so I thought it was high time to walk through the details for the first installment my west coast book tour (I’ll be doing a second swing in September). It starts on April 6 and runs through April 20. Please do sign up for the classes, mark your calendars for the free events, and come out to say hi!

Wednesday, April 6 (Los Angeles)
I’ll be in Santa Monica, at the Gourmandise School of Sweets and Savories, for a farmers market walk, with a canning demo and tasting to follow. We’ll meet at 9 am at 3rd Street and Arizona. This event is free, but requires registration in advance.

Saturday, April 9 (Santa Cruz)
I’ll be at Chefworks (1527 Pacific Avenue) from 1-4 pm, demonstrating recipes from the new book and signing any books purchases. This event is free.

Monday, April 11 (Half Moon Bay)
Come see me at the New Leaf Community Market in Half Moon Bay (150 San Mateo Road) starting at 4 pm for a canning demo and book signing. No pre-registration is required and it’s a free event.

Tuesday, April 12 (San Francisco)
I’ll be at 18 Reasons (3674 18th Street), co-teaching a canning class with the delightful Shakirah Simley, Canner-in-Residence for the Bi-Rite Family of Businesses. We’ll make two recipes from my new book, and there will be a goodly amount of hands on involvement. The class starts at 6:30 pm and costs $55-65. Register here.

Wednesday, April 13 (San Francisco)
I’ll be at Omnivore Books (3885 Cesar Chavez Street) at 6:30 pm, demoing a half batch of strawberry cocoa jam, and signing books. There will be samples and they will be delicious.

Thursday, April 14 (Berkeley)
Join me for a Meet and Greet at Books Inc. (1491 Shattuck Avenue) in Berkeley. We’ll have jam samples for tasting and I’ll be available from 3:30 until 5:30 to answer all canning questions.

Friday, April 15 (SW Portland)
Come out for a demo-style class at The Cakery (6306 SW Capitol Highway), from 6:30 to 7:30 pm. The $30 cost of the event includes a copy of Naturally Sweet Food in Jars. Sign up by calling 503-546-3737.

Saturday, April 16 (Beaverton)
You’ll find me at the Beaverton Farmers Market (12375 SW 5th Street) from 10 am to 1 pm. I’ll be demoing continually and will have books on hand for sale and signature.

Saturday, April 16 (SE Portland)
Later that same day, join me for a hands-on natural sweeteners canning class at Portland Homestead Supply from 3-5 pm. The class costs $45 and you can register here.

Sunday, April 17 (Eugene)
At 11 am, you’ll find me at Down to Earth’s Olive Street (532 Olive Street) location for a canning demo and book signing. It’s a free event and a good time will be had by all.

Sunday, April 17 (Portland)
That evening at 7:30 pm, I’ll be at the main location of Powell’s Books (it’s something of a dream come true), having a conversation with fellow food writer Ivy Manning. There will be a book signing to follow. More details here.

Monday, April 18 (Abbotsford, BC)
Next, a leap to the north. I’ll be teaching a canning class at Lepp Farm Market (33955 Clayburn Road) from 7 to 9:30 pm. This class costs $77 (which includes a copy of the book) and you can register here.

Tuesday, April 19 (Seattle)
I’m returning to The Pantry at Delancey (1417 NW 70th Street) for a canning class focused on natural sweeteners. We’ll make four recipes from the book, and everyone will go home with a jar or two of freshly made preserves. The class is from 6:30 to 9:30 pm and costs $85. Register here.

Wednesday, April 20 (Seattle)
I’ll be at the Book Larder (4252 Fremont Ave. N) in Seattle from 6:30-8 pm demonstrating a half batch of the strawberry cocoa jam from the new the book and signing as many copies as I can. The event is free, but they ask that you RSVP using the form at the bottom of this page.

Comments { 5 }

Cookbooks: Beyond Canning by Autumn Giles

Beyond Canning Cover - Food in Jars

Autumn Giles and I first met nearly six years ago. It was at a canning party in Kate Payne’s Brooklyn apartment on a hot, August morning, where we chopped, trimmed, pitted, and canned our way through nearly 100 pounds of produce.

She was a beginning canner in those days, but as you can see from her new book, Beyond Canning: New Techniques, Ingredients, and Flavors to Preserve, Pickle, and Ferment Like Never Before, she has become an expert preserver in the intervening years!

Beyond Canning Back - Food in Jars

The recipes in this book are divided up into three sections. You’ll find the Sweet Preserves first. That chapter includes appealing things like Tomato-Vanilla Jam, Hibiscus-Lime Jelly, Banana-Chocolate Butter, and Fig Jam with Toasted Fennel Seeds. I particularly like how Autumn makes good use of chiles and spices to add interest and flavor to familiar fruits.

Beyond Canning Jar Diagram - Food in Jars

Next comes the Pickles. This section positively vibrates with creativity and I want to make every single thing in it. Recipes that are particular stand-outs in my mind are the Broiled Pickled Onions (I love the idea of a little char in a pickle), the Maple Plum Mostarda (it’s made with mustard seeds rather than the oil, so that the ingredients are accessible for all makers), and the Green Chile Jam (I want to dollop some on eggs immediately).

Beyond Canning Smooth Cherry Limeade Jam - Food in Jars

The third section digs into various acts of Fermentation. You’ll find Dilly Beans (a long-time favorite), White Kimchi, Gochugaru Preserved Lemons, Chow-Chow Kraut, and so much more. If you’ve not yet dipped a toe into the fermentation pool, I promise, Autumn’s clear and confident instructions will help you get started without fear.

Beyond Canning Apple Chutney - Food in Jars

Beyond Canning has been out for a few weeks now, but today marks the start of the its online book tour and I am delighted to be kicking things off! If you like what you see here, make sure to check out the rest of the sites who will be writing about this lovely book in the coming days.

3/7: Food in Jars
3/8: Punk Domestics
3/9: CakeWalk
3/10: Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking
3/11: Snowflake Kitchen
3/14: Good. Food. Stories.
3/15: Heartbeet Kitchen
3/16: Brooklyn Supper
3/17: The Briny
3/18: The Preserved Life
3/21: Hitchhiking to Heaven
3/22: Hola Jalapeno
3/23: Cook Like a Champion
3/24:  Local Kitchen

Beyond Canning Lemony Sprouts KrautChi - Food in Jars

I have one copy of this fabulous book to give away this week. Here’s how to enter.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and share something that’s been sparking your culinary creativity in recent days.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Saturday, March 12, 2016. A winner will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, March 13, 2016.
  3. Giveaway open to United States and Canadian residents. 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.

Beyond Canning Rose Wine Jelly - Food in Jars

I have one more treat from this book for you. Autumn and her publisher have given me permission to reprint the Rose Wine Jelly recipe. I’ll confess, I’ve not had the chance to make it yet, but I LOVE the idea of it and plan on turning to her formula the next time I have a bit of wine leftover from the bottle. That recipe is after the jump, so make sure to click through and give it a read!

Continue Reading →