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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Giveaway: OmniMount iPad Case and Adjustable Stand

omnimount box

For the last couple years, my husband and I have had an iPad that lived in our kitchen. It was a first generation device and it had a number of our favorite recipes bookmarked for easy access. However, one day I had it wedged between a bottle of olive oil and a jar of mustard when I knocked into the counter hard enough to upset my make-do stand and it fell to the floor. No more kitchen iPad.

vertical omnimount

Since then, I’ve been bringing my real iPad into the kitchen with me when I needed to access online recipes. I’ve been incredibly careful to ensure that it doesn’t meet the same fate as that other much-missed tablet, but I’m always a little nervous that something is going to happen to it.

omnimount stand

Knowing all this, you’re sure to understand that when a rep from OmniMount got in touch, asking if I might like to try out one of their iPad mounts, I said yes. What’s so cool about theses products is that they can either be freestanding holders or you can mount them to a wall or underneath a cabinet.

back of omnimount

I’ve been using the OmniMount as a stand for my iPad Air for at least six weeks and I love it. It keeps the iPad securely at an accessible and readable angle, while ensuring that it stays out of the puddle of water that collects next to the sink.

We were going to mount it on the wall next to the primary work surface in our kitchen, but we’ve been doing some tentative house hunting and so decided that it was best to hold off on installation until we have a better idea as to how life will unfold.

iPad on omnimount

Here’s the fun part for you guys. I have two of these OmniMounts to give away. One holds an iPad Air and the other holds an iPad Mini. So, here’s how to enter.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me about your kitchen technology habits. Do you use an iPad or other tablet while cooking? Do you stick with your phone? Or do you print recipes you find online?
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Saturday, May 24, 2015. Winners will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog soon thereafter.
  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: OmniMount sent me one of their iPad mounts for photography and review purposes. They are also providing the units for this giveaway. All opinions remain entirely my own. 

Live Online Canning Class on May 19 at 7 pm!

Making honey sweetened strawberry jam at Farmers@Firehouse.

A reminder that my my first-ever live online class is t0morrow! Join me at 7 pm eastern time as I make a small batch of strawberry balsamic jam. We’ll talk about canning safety, boiling water baths, and how to safely make a recipe your own. I will also be answering questions, so come prepared with your queries.

The class costs $20 and is being hosting by a service called Concert Window. If you want to participate, create an account on the site now and follow the event. I’ll start broadcasting promptly at 7 pm! Please let me know if you have any questions!

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Links: Ramps, Water-saving Canning, and Winners

birthday cupcake

I did two big things last week. The first was that I co-hosted five canning videos with Nicki Sizemore for the Taste of Home Online Cooking School (I was initially super nervous but it ended up going incredibly well). The second was that I turned 36, which after the fanfare of 35 felt like a singularly anti-climactic birthday. Now I’m back to work and doing my best to make good things to share with you guys. Now, links!

Cup Coozie set

I’ve got winners to announce in both the Cuppow giveaway from last week and the Orchard Road one from the week before! First, the winners in the Cuppow giveaway are: #30/Paula, #33/Carol, #164/Brittany Williamson, #195/Terri, and #207/Christi Michaels.

The winners of the Orchard Road giveaway are: #12/Kelly E., #287/Millie, and #289/Rachael.

Thanks to all who took the time to enter!

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CSA Cooking: Kale Rapini Spread

kale rapini

Years ago, I picked up a copy of Marcella Says while wandering a used bookstore. While I don’t typically follow the recipes closely, it often provides very useful inspiration, particularly when I’m looking for something delicious to do with unusual produce.

rapini spread

One recipe that’s long been in the back of my mind is this one for rapini and pecorino spread for crostini. So, when I found a bundle of kale rapini in the CSA box from Philly Foodworks, it seemed a good time to try it.

sauteed rapini

It’s an easy thing to make. You plunge the rapini in a large pot of boiling salted water for a few minutes and then run it under cold water to cool. Marcella says you should only use the leaves and florets, and I find that the easiest way to do that is to pull them off the stems after blanching. Once you’ve stripped all the good stuff off the stems, chop it fine.

rapini spread at tea party

Then, warm a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a pan and add the chopped rapini. Stir in two or three minced, pressed, or grated garlic cloves, a big pinch of salt, and a few vigorous turns of a pepper grinder. Cook until the greens are warm and the garlic has lost its rawness.

rapini crostini

My plan was to tuck this spread in the fridge, so I didn’t add any cheese. However, I took some of it to a little tea party for three, and we perched slivers of strong, hard cheese on top of it which complimented it beautifully. I ate the rest this morning, folded into some warmed leftover rice and topped with fried eggs.

A good birthday breakfast! Garlicky rapini with leftover rice. Sunny side eggs. Tomatoes. Iced cold brew. #breakfast

It would also be good spooned into a little omelet or stirred into a grain salad. It keeps in the fridge for a bout a week and is a useful way to condense your greens if your fridge overflows.

Next time, I’ll tell you about that bundle of chard.

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Philly Foodworks Partnership + Stinging Nettle Pesto

Philly Food Works Share

Over the years, I’ve participated in a number of different CSA shares. Last year, I had to sit the CSA thing out entirely because I just wasn’t home enough. This year, I’ve partnered up with Philly Foodworks, for a series of blog posts on how I approach a CSA share. The goal is to share recipes for preserves as well as salads, spreads, and other goodies to help you make the most of what’s in your weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly box.

stinging nettles

Once a month, they’ll be dropping off one of their small Farmer’s Choice/Share boxes on my doorstep. When it’s in my hands, I’ll document and then share the ways I cooked, preserved, and prolonged the various bits of produce. If you’re in the Philly area and want to play along, sign up for one of the Philly Foodworks CSA programs. Use the code “FOODINJARS” to get $10 off your first order.

blanched nettles

The first box contained kale rapini, stinging nettles, a head of butter lettuce, 3/4 pound of fat asparagus spears, Swiss chard, a bundle of arugula, a slender bunch of ramps, and a pound of red potatoes. I’ve made several things so far, but right now, want to talk about the stinging nettles.

toasting walnuts

Stinging nettles grow wild in the springtime and are typically foraged rather than cultivated. They have a taste similar to spinach and are bursting with good things, including vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, potassium, and calcium. They can cause a topical rash (hence the stinging) when touched raw with bare skin, so if you do forage them, you want to wear gloves.

If you end up with a big bag of them like I did, the best approach is to bring a large pot of water to a boil and then upend the bag of nettles right into the pot. Cooked for 2 to 3 minutes, they’ll lose their sting and become a possible ingredient for all manner of dishes.

stinging nettle pesto

My freezer stash of pesto has dwindled over the last few months, so it seemed best to transform these nettles into a bright, green pesto to start replenishing the stores. Once my nettles had spent the requisite time in the boiling water, I strained them into a colander and rinsed them with cold water. That made it possible to pick through and remove the tougher stems and any twigs that came along with the nettles. Finally, I gave them a good, hard squeeze, in order to force as much of the cooking water out as possible.

finished pesto and rapini

They went into a food processor with 1/2 cup toasted walnuts, 3 crushed garlic cloves, a generous pinch of salt, and the zest and juice of 1 lemon. I pulsed to help combine the ingredients and then ran the motor while streaming in 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil. I stirred, tasted, added a bit more salt and a few turns of a pepper grinder, and processed for another 10 to 15 seconds (I like a silky pesto).

Once it was done, I smeared a little on a piece of toast for a snack and then packed the rest into little mason jars. The total yield was just under 2 cups. I topped the jars with a thin layer of olive oil (to keep the air out), screwed on old lids and rings (this is where you can reuse lids that have been through the canner), and stashed the jars in the freezer.

I’ll be back tomorrow to talk about the sauteed rapini. It’s a riff on a recipe from Marcella Hazan, so you know it’s good.

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