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Farro, Kale, and Feta Salad + OXO SNAP Glass Round Containers

This farro, kale, and feta salad is easy to make, tastes great, and stores beautifully in OXO’s 8 Piece SNAP Glass Round Container Set.

stacked OXO containers

I have always had a thing for food storage containers. When I was in elementary school, I would beg to be allowed to pack peanuts or raisins for my lunch in one of my mom’s two tiny Tupperware containers (when I was still an infant, she had been invited to a Tupperware party by a neighbor, and though she wasn’t particularly interested in plastic food storage containers, had picked out the smallest item in the catalog so as not to be rude).

watermelon in OXO container

In middle school, I cajoled my parents into buying me a set of matching plastic containers, so that I could tote my lunchtime yogurt and granola in style. And I still remember how delighted I felt my senior year of college, when my roommates and I went in on the large assortment of food storage tubs and bowls at the local Kmart. Looking back on this, it’s really no wonder I’ve made a career out of putting food in containers.

vertical OXO snap containers

About a year ago, I became a little bit obsessed with this new wave of glass food storage containers with snap-on lids. Every time Scott and I went to Costco, I’d pause in front of the display of Pyrex Snapware for so long that he’d sigh and make a move to put a box in our cart. I’d snap out of my trance and tell him to put it back. Between the set of containers we’d gotten for our wedding and my VAST collection of jars, we simply did not need it.

pork and pineapple in OXO

So, when I got an email from the folks at OXO, asking if I might like to participate in a blogger promotion centered on their new 8 Piece SNAP Glass Round Container Set, my resolve crumbled and I said yes. I was finally going to get a chance to work with food storage containers with snap-on lids.

faro salad with bowl of greens

I’ve now had this set of containers in my kitchen for a couple weeks and they’ve become my preferred vessels (so much so that I’ve taken to hand-washing them between uses rather than wait to run them through the dishwasher).

The containers themselves are made of sturdy, shock-resistant borosilicate glass, so they can go straight from the fridge or freezer and into the oven or microwave. The lids have a thick, leakproof gasket (it comes out for cleaning) that, once locked into place, prevents even a drop of moisture from leaking out of the container.

This means that when you pack soup or a dressed salad into one and tuck it sideways into your work bag or backpack, you can be secure in the knowledge that it won’t leak all over your computer. This feature is also fabulous if you find yourself occasionally needing to set container on its edge in order to get it to fit into your fridge (this happens in my kitchen more than I’d like to admit).

plated farro salad

These containers are the perfect thing for the picnics and potlucks so many of us plan during these warmer months. Lately, my go-to dish for such events is a room temperature salad made of farro, lightly cooked kale, feta cheese, and golden raisins. I use a technique that I learned from my Deena many years ago, in which you cook the farro and the kale in the same pot, adding the kale no more than two minutes before the grain is finished.

You end up with both components cooked perfectly and only one pot to clean. I mix the rest of the salad in the cooking pot as well (wait to add the cheese until it’s cooled a bit), and then transfer it to the OXO container when it’s time to store or transport. I like to serve it over a bed of baby arugula, though considering the amount of kale you tuck into it, is entirely optional.

Disclosure: OXO sent me their 8 Piece SNAP Glass Round Container Set, 2-in-1 Salad Servers, and Little Salad Dressing Shaker to try and write about. No additional compensation was provided. All opinions expressed are entirely my own. 

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Garlicky Pickled Green Beans on Freshly Preserved Ideas

Ball-pickled-green-beans

Last month, I mentioned that I’ve teaming up with the folks at Ball Canning (much like I did last year) to help spread the word about the many pleasures of home canning. As part of our collaboration, I developed a series of five recipes that will live on the Ball Canning Tumblr, Freshly Preserving Ideas.

I’m here today to share the second recipe I cooked up. These Garlicky Pickled Green Beans have all the flavor of a classic garlic dill cucumber, but with the crunch-keeping power of string beans. Snappy, flavorful, and shelf stable, they may well be the perfect pickle (at the very least, they are MY perfect pickle).

While we’re talking Ball Canning, I also want to make sure that you guys have your calendars marked for the annual International Can-It-Forward Day. This year, it will be taking place on Friday, July 22, 2016, starting at 10 am and wrapping up at 5 pm (eastern time).

Make sure to sign the participation pledge, which will get you a coupon for $5 off for the Fresh Preserving online store, and will ensure that you’re kept in the loop about all the CIFD happenings!

Disclosure: I am a paid ambassador for Ball Canning. 

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Online Canning Tools and Tidbits from Ball Canning

Interactive Canning Map June

This summer, I’m partnering the lovely folks at Ball Canning, to help spread the word about their new tools and products. Today, I want to take a moment to zero in on the online tools they’ve released this season, all designed to help inspire you to gather some produce and pull down your canning pot.

First up is their recently launched Tumblr, called Freshly Preserved Ideas. This page is bursting with ideas, recipes, and hypnotic gifs (truly. I’ve watched this one loop at least a dozen times). You’ll find introductions to the team of Fresh Preservers as well as the new recipes for summer preserves that we’ve all been tasked to dream up (the first of my recipes is Blackberry Lavender Jam).

Another fun tool is the Interactive Canning Map (that’s what’s pictured at the top of the page). It shows the various regions of the country and what’s currently in season in those areas. Clicking on the various images of fruits and vegetables will take you to preserving recipes that utilize those ingredients.

And just today, Jarden Home Brands (parent company of Ball Canning) released survey results in which they found that 40% of gardeners plan to preserve half or more of the food they grow this season and 44% freeze it for later use. A whopping 77% of gardeners have canned, frozen or dehydrated foods to preserve them, and 33% of those preserving gardeners are millennials.

Here’s hoping you all find some of those tools useful!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. My partnership with Ball Canning is a paid one. All opinions expressed are my own. 

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Cherry Swag Bag Giveaway from Northwest Cherries

Cherries in a bowl for the cherry swag bag giveaway.

Earlier this week, I got a box containing a little over 10 pounds of sweet, ripe Northwest Cherries from Washington State. I look forward to this shipment every summer and each time it arrives, I can’t quite believe my good fortune. After all, cherries are among the most precious of the summer fruit.

These cherries come to me as part of my participation in the Canbassador program. It’s an awareness campaign that the folks from Northwest Cherries and the Washington State Fruit Commission run in order to shine a spotlight on their beautiful stonefruit!

This is my seventh year participating in their Canbassador program (wrap your mind around that one!) and over that time, I’ve developed a whole bunch of recipes featuring their fruit.

Next week, I’ll start posting my 2016 recipes, but before we get to those, I have some fun news. This year, I’m not the only one who is going to get a box of delicious cherries. One of my lovely readers is also going to get a shipment of delicious Northwest Cherries, along with a swag bag that will contain a cherry branded water bottle and Oxo cherry pitter.

This cherry swag bag giveaway has a tight turnaround because we’ve got to pick a winner before the season ends (and cherries come and go quite quickly)! Use the Rafflecopter widget below and make sure to tell your friends.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Blackberry Lavender Jam on Freshly Preserved Ideas

Ball-Blackberries-Animated-GIF

This summer, I’m teaming up with the folks at Ball Canning (much like I did last year) to help spread the word about the many pleasures of home canning AND their annual International Can-It-Forward Day. You’ll be hearing lots more about the various CIFD events and the fun new tools they’ve made available online this summer over the coming weeks, so keep your eyes peeled.

To kick off this year’s partnership, I’ve got a recipe for you. I’ve actually developed a series of recipes that will live on the new Tumblr from our Ball Canning friends, called Freshly Preserving Ideas. The first of those recipes, Blackberry Lavender Jam, went live today.

This jam contains a medium amount of sugar, has a mellow hint of lavender, and is just the right balance of sweet and tart. If blackberries are already in season where you live, I encourage you to make this one immediately. And if you’ve still got some time to go, bookmark it for the moment they arrive.

Disclosure: I am a paid ambassador for Ball Canning. 

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Single Skillet Pasta in Viking’s Stainless Steel Casserole Pan

Finished Skillet Dish Viking - Food in Jars

I’ve been cooking dinner on a near-nightly basis for the better part of the last two decades and over that time, I’ve come to understand a few essential things about myself. The most primary is that at my core, I’m a lazy cook. I’m not trading quality over convenience, but I am always making choices that I hope will make life just a little bit easier.

Viking Stainless Steel Casserole - Food in Jars

My inclination to reduce dishes and avoid unnecessary steps means that whenever possible, I opt for soups, stews, and other dishes that only require a single vessel. I will often cram things into a single pan when they might have been better off cooked separately. And any recipe that requires browning in batches is summarily discarded.

Skillet Pasta Ingredients - Food in Jars

Last month, a piece of cookware came into my life that has both encouraged my lazy ways and upped my nightly game. It’s a stainless steel casserole that holds just over six quarts. It is sturdy, has a low, wide profile that makes for quick evaporation, comes with a tight-fitting lid, cleans up beautifully, and it made by Viking (until they reached out about this pan, I didn’t realize they did more than large kitchen appliances). It’s the Viking 3-Ply 6.4 Quart Casserole Pan.

Sautéed Veg - Food in Jars

This pan has been on my stove top on a near-constant basis since it arrived. I’ve made a number of skillet chicken dishes in it (brown chicken in a single batch. Remove. Add onions and veg and cook until wilted. Return the chicken, add a little liquid, cover and braise until the chicken is cooked through). I’ve used it for pancakes, turkey bacon, and a large batch of eggs poached in tomato sauce.

Fire Roasted Tomatoes - Food in Jars

However, I think that the very highest calling for this pan is this skillet pasta dish. The original inspiration for this recipe is the single skillet pasta recipe from Martha Stewart that took the internet by storm a few years ago. This one isn’t quite as simple as just heaping all the ingredients in a pan and heating for nine minutes, but it’s pretty darn close.

Skillet Dish Without Pasta - Food in Jars

You start by heating a couple tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat. When it shimmers, add some chopped onion, garlic, red pepper, and kale and cook until all the veg is tender. Then you add some cubed chicken sausage (I used some that was already cooked through), a cup of liquid (white wine, chicken stock, or water) and a couple cans (or jars, if your pantry runs to such things) of fire roasted tomatoes and get it bubbling.

Adding Pasta - Food in Jars

Then you add eight ounces of uncooked pasta. I used whole wheat elbows, but any short cut variety you have in the pantry does the job. Cover the pan and cook until the pasta is tender. It will absorb the liquid in the pan, making for flavorful pasta and less clean-up for the cook.

Finished Skillet Pasta - Food in Jars

I’ve written the instructions out in an organized fashion for you, but this is more of a technique than a recipe that must be followed to the letter. You could do a version with braised fennel bulb and a pound of pork fennel sausage. A batch with artichoke would also be nice. The options are endless!

What would you make in a Viking casserole like this one?

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