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The Cookbook Stall + Food in Jars = Signed Copies for the Holidays

Naturally Sweet Food in Jars spine

We are firmly in the season of wish lists, gift guides, and holiday shopping. If getting or giving a signed copy of one of my books is on your mind this year, I’ve got good news. I’ve teamed up with my friend Jill Ross at The Cookbook Stall (Philly’s only cookbook-only book shop) to offer a way for you all to buy signed copies of my books.

To get a signed copy, head over to The Cookbook Stall’s online shop and put a copy of Food in Jars, Preserving by the Pint, or Naturally Sweet Food in Jars into your cart and head to check-out.

In step five of the check-out process, there’s a field where you can add comments about your order. Use that space to tell us to whom you’d like the book to be signed and if there’s a specific message you’d like me to convey in my note (Happy Hanukkah! Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! Good Solstice! Happy Birthday!)

Deadline to order your signed book is December 9. I’ll head into the shop the following week to sign the books you all ordered and then she’ll get them into the mail for you guys, in plenty of time for holiday giving.

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My Imaginary 2016 Thanksgiving Menu

cookbooks-for-thanksgiving-inspiration

I’m cooking Thanksgiving this week. I’ve not gotten to make the whole meal since 2008, so I’m feeling pretty giddy about the whole thing. However, as I’ve planned the menu and made lists, I’ve realized that my fantasy Thanksgiving and the reality of the one I’m cooking are pretty far apart.

sriracha-pimento-cheese-recipe

In my fantasy, I’d make all sorts of fun, new things, taking inspiration from some of the new cookbooks I’ve gotten recently. However, I’ve come to realize that the classic are where it’s at for the crowd who will be gathering around my table. So I’m satisfying my urge for the new by sharing my dream menu here.

creamy-sunchoke-soup

For nibbling before the meal begins, I’d make the Sriracha Pimento Cheese from Kristin Donnelly‘s gorgeous book Modern Potluck. I’d serve it with baguette rounds and cucumber slices. And for the very start of the meal, the Creamy Sunchoke Soup from The Vegetable Butcher by Cara Mangini.

herb-roasted-turkey

For the main event, I’d use the recipe for Herb-Roasted Turkey with Gravy from Jenny Rosenstrach‘s book, How to Celebrate Everything (I love this book. There’s nothing that I like more than a good food tradition).

cranberry-and-persimmon-relish

I confess that I like a traditional cranberry sauce (we’ll have a honey-sweetened one on the table this year), but this one combining cranberries and persimmon from Vegan Vegetarian Omnivore by Anna Thomas speaks to me.

triple-threat-celery-mash

My husband would be very sad if I omitted traditional mashed potatoes, or did anything to them that made them “interesting,” but if I had my druthers, I’d make a batch of this celery root, potato, and celery stalk mash from the book Mashed by Holly Herrick.

roasted-sweet-potato-pudding

This roasted sweet potato pudding from Rebecca Ffrench‘s Whole Protein Vegetarian looks awfully good and might be something I make for Christmas at my sister’s house. I like that it’s minimally sweetened with maple syrup.

healthy-root-vegetable-gratin

If the table could hold one more root vegetable dish, I’d call on the Healthy Root Vegetable Gratin. It’s another one from Modern Potluck and is something that is on my to-make list this winter.

roasted-and-raw-sprout-salad

No meal is complete without a green vegetable (at least, so says my mother) and the Roasted and Raw Brussels Sprouts Salad from Modern Potluck looks a good, seasonal one.

normandy-apple-cake

For dessert, the Normandy Apple Cake Tatin Style from French Desserts by Hillary Davis. Served with vanilla ice cream, of course!

wild-rice-and-turkey-muffins

Now, a bonus recipe. This one for Wild Rice and Turkey Muffins, from Cooking Wild by John Ash and James O. Fraioli seems like a really great one for using up leftover turkey and would be far more inspired than my typical pot of soup.

I’m curious. What are you guys making come Thursday?

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Cookbooks: Preserving Italy by Domenica Marchetti

preserving-italy-cover

Over the last several months, I have done a truly terrible job sharing the wonderful preserving books that have been published recently. I’m going to try to do a better job, because there are some exceptional new books out there that you should be checking out of the library and putting on your holiday wish lists.

preserving-italy-infused-oils

First among these excellent books is Domenica Marchetti’s Preserving Italy. Focused on preserving food in the traditional Italian style, this gorgeous paperback neatly fills a void in the canon of food preservation writing. I often get questions from people wanting to preserve tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and garlic in the same manner as their grandparents once did, and this book deals with all of those topics (as well as many more).

preserving-italy-quince-jelly

The recipes are divided up into eight sections. They deal with foods preserved in oil, food preserved in vinegar, sweet preserves, tomatoes and sauces, infused oils and vinegars, fresh cheeses and basic cured meats, syrups and boozy things, and confections. In addition to the recipes focused on preserving, Domenica also tucks recipes into each chapter that are designed to help you use what you’ve preserved.

preserving-italy-vinegar

One of the things that I most appreciate about this book is that fact that it balances tradition with safety. Domenica includes a section on pressure canning and addresses the issues that exist when you preserve foods in oil (the start of that section includes some safety tips that should be required reading for anyone thinking about using this method of preservation).

preserving-italy-back-cover

As we head into the holiday season, this becomes an even more vital addition to our collective food preservation libraries. I am considering making a batch of the Coffee Cream Liqueur for gift giving and the Pear Mostarda would be so fabulous for a New Year’s Eve cheese board.

If you haven’t checked this book out yet, please do! It’s very much worth your time!

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Cookbooks: Batch

The cover of Batch by Joel MacCharles and Dana Harrison

I think of myself as minor expert on canning and preserving books. In addition to having written three of my own, I have a working familiarity with nearly everything that’s out there and so whenever I’m asked to recommend books for specific purpose, I flip through my mental file and offer up a few options.

The spine of Batch by Joel MacCharles and Dana Harrison

Need help with small batch fermenting? Amanda Feifer’s Ferment Your Vegetables is the best option. Looking for thoughtful recipes with a modern, Southern twist? Kevin West’s Saving the Season is for you. Domenica Marchetti’s Preserving Italy will help you recreate your Italian grandmother’s pantry. And Karen Solomon’s Asian Pickles is brilliant and self explanatory.

The waterbath preserving spread in the cookbook Batch

I’ve also found myself suggesting Joel MacCharles and Dana Harrison’s new book Batch a great deal lately (if their names sound familiar, it’s because they are the bloggers behind the website Well Preserved).

This book is essential for anyone who wants a huge, exuberant, smart, gorgeously designed, and vibrantly photographed book that deals with seven styles of food preservation, offers recipes for using the food you’ve preserved, and helps you make the very most out of every scrap of food you grow, buy, and forage.

The introduction to the fermenting section of the cookbook Batch

I particularly like how they’ve structured this volume. The first quarter of Batch is designed to help you build the skills you’ll need in the balance of the book. It’s here that you’ll learn about waterbath canning, pressure canning, dehydrating, fermenting, cellaring, salting & smoking, and infusing. Joel wrote the bulk of the book’s text and his writing telegraphs calm knowledge and reliable expertise.

The introduction to the Peppers chapter of the cookbook Batch

The remainder of the book is organized around 25 ingredients, laid out in alphabetical order. Starting with apples and ending with tomatoes, each ingredient chapter helps you make the very most of seasonal produce with recipes to preserve, store, and consume.

A page featuring Batch-It recipes in the cookbook Batch

One of the brilliant elements in this book is the Batch-It approach. The recipes are grouped so that it becomes easy to make two or three things in concert with one another rather the traditional approach that silos each project. I find that having read my way through this book, I now am constantly thinking about how I can couple my preserving activities.

Falafel lettuce wraps in the cookbook Batch

Another thing that makes this book so uniquely useful is the way in which the recipes for using the preserves are nested into the ingredient sections. Some put the preserve to work as an active ingredient and others demonstrate how a side of sauce or chutney can easily enhance a simple plate.

Back cover the cookbook Batch by Joel MacCharles and Dana Harrison

Along with being a reliable and useful resource, Batch is a pleasure to glance through. Dana is an artist and designer, and both her creative eye and her work are found throughout Batch’s pages. Every time I open it, some new element catches my eye.

If you’re an avid canner and you’ve not added it to your bookshelf yet, I highly encourage you to add it to your wish lists and shopping carts!

Disclosure: I bought the copy of Batch you see pictured above. I count Joel and Dana among my friends, but the opinions offered here are offered on the basis of their exceptional book, not our friendship.

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Cookbooks: The Modern Preserver

The Modern Preserver Cover

These days, it takes a lot for a canning book to delight me. After all, I’ve spent the better part of the last decade totally immersed in jamming, pickling, and preserving. I sometimes even begin to think that perhaps I’ve seen every trick and flavor combination there is. And then a book like The Modern Preserver drops out of the sky and into my mailbox, and I am delighted.

The Modern Preserver Spine

Written by Kylee Newton, an artisan jam maker from New Zealand and now based in London, The Modern Preserver offers up a familiar and fresh array of jams, pickles, compotes, jellies, cordials, and more. The design is clean, the photography is gorgeous, and the voice of the book is reliable and charming.

The Modern Preserver Green Bean and Coconut Relish

The book opens with a short introduction that details Kylee’s background, and then offers a bit of information about her ethos as a preserver. From there, she talks about the rules of preserving. Do know that this section is far briefer than it would be in an American book. I’ll dig a little more into that in a moment.

The Modern Preserver Fennel and Orange Pickle

Following the intro, we dig into the recipes. The first section contains Relishes, Chutneys, and Sauces. Next up is Pickles, Fermentations, and Vinegars; followed by Jams, Jellies, and Compotes; and Curds, Candies, and Fruit Cheeses. Bringing up the rear of the book are the Syrups, Cordials, and Alcohol.

I have bookmarked a goodly number of recipes in this book, and every time I open it, I find something else that I’d like to make, or at the very least, use as inspiration for a related preserve (Blackberry Relish! How had I never thought to make that!)

The Modern Preserver Lime and Saffron Jelly

My only quibble with this book is that there’s no acknowledgement that best practices for preserving vary depending on where you are in the world. Here in the US, it’s standard practice that we use jars designed for canning (not recycled jars from store-bought preserves). We use two piece lids and we make sure that the flat lids are new each time we can. And finally, we run everything we make through a boiling water bath. None of this is in the book (I’m a little bit surprised that the US publisher didn’t make them at least add an appendix referencing the different standards).

All that said, I will still be preserving from this book. I’m just going to make sure that I bring along my food science knowledge and general understanding of canning. Everything will be packed into appropriate jars and will get a trip through the canning pot (to determine timing, I’ll reference recipes with similar ingredients and densities).

The Modern Preserver Back

Now, with all that off my chest, let’s have a giveaway! The kind folks at The Countryman Press have given me one copy of this gorgeous book to give away. Here’s how to enter!

  1. Leave a comment on this post tell me about a recipe source that’s been serving as inspiration for you lately.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Saturday, June 18, 2016. A winner will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, June 19, 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.

Disclosure: The Countryman Press sent me the copy you see pictured above for photography and review purposes, and is also providing the giveaway unit. Both are being provided at no cost to me. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. 

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Giveaway: Broth & Stock from the Nourished Kitchen

Broth & Stock cover - Food in Jars

I learned to make broth from my mom during my childhood, though there was never a point at which she sat me down for a lesson. It was simply something she did and in my way, I watched and absorbed the information. When I had my own kitchen, homemade chicken stock was one of the very first things I cooked.

Broth & Stock intro - Food in Jars

These pots of homemade broth are something I mostly do by feel, and while I don’t think that’s going to change anytime soon, there’s a new book on the topic that I am delighted to welcome into my kitchen. Called Broth & Stock from the Nourished Kitchen and written by Jennifer McGruther, this book offers info on making your own broths and stocks as well as recipes designed to help you make the most of every drop.

Broth & Stock scrap broth - Food in Jars

The book opens with an introduction that walks you through a brief history of broth (mention of portable broth in this section inspired me to cook two quarts of my own stock down into a single, concentrated cup, so it served me before I got to the first recipe!). From there, we get chapters entitled The Broth Maker’s Kitchen, Master Broths and Stocks, Poultry, Meat, Fish, and Vegetables. It’s a simple and highly useful method of organization.

Broth & Stock pho - Food in Jars

One of the things that I appreciate about this book is that it’s useful whether you’ve got a whole day or less than an hour to make your stock. What’s more, the recipes for using up the batches of broths and stocks you’ve made are appealing and aren’t limited to just soups and stews (risotto! glazed bok choy! gratins!). It makes me hungry every time I pick it up.

Broth & Stock back - Food in Jars

Thanks to the kind folks at Ten Speed Press, I have a copy of this book to give away. Here’s how to enter the giveaway.

  1. Leave a comment on this post that has something to do with homemade broth, stock, or soup.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Saturday, June 4, 2016. A winner will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, June 6, 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.

Disclosure: Ten Speed Press sent me the copy you see pictured above for photography and review purposes, and is also providing the giveaway unit. Both are being provided at no cost to me. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own.