Brown Soda Bread from Homemade Winter

brown soda bread in pan

Back in the fall, I wrote about Yvette Van Boven’s book Home Made Winter for Table Matters. One of my favorite things I made during the week I was cooking from that book was her Brown Soda Bread. If you’re still looking for some food item appropriate for St. Patrick’s Day, I urge you to try it.

Made with whole wheat flour, rolled oats, and oat bran, it’s a dense, nubby loaf that stands up well to toasting and dunking in bowls of soup. Just know this. If you don’t think your family can eat the whole batch within a day or two, make a half batch. It just doesn’t store well.

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Multi-colored Carrot and Green Radish Pickles

carrots and a green radish

The green one is the only radish, the rest are carrots.

Last week, I reported that I was feeling a little lackluster kitchen-wise and thoroughly tired of winter. Well, I’m happy to report that things are looking up and its all thanks to pickles. Quick pickled carrots and radishes, that is.


Recently, I was browsing the display of root vegetables at the Fair Food Farmstand, looking to see if there was anything that might tickle my canning fancy, when I spotted baskets of brightly colored carrots and vividly green radishes (I do believe they belong to the daikon family).

At $5 a pound, they were more expensive than my average pickle ingredients, but it had been so many months since I’d felt so immediately moved and energized by an ingredient that I was more than willing to pay up.


Once home with my pricey roots, I washed them well, sliced them thinly on a mandoline, and tossed them with a little sea salt and granulated sugar. This helps draw out some of the water and make room for the vinegar to take up residence. Then I let them sit for about an hour, until the slices looked damp and seemed quite pliable.

into the brine

After a quick rinse and a vigorous shake, into a simple brine they went. My hope was to mimic the pickles that are so often served as garnish at Vietnamese restaurants, so I stayed simple with unseasoned rice wine vinegar, honey, water, and just a touch of salt (I know I started by salting the pickles, but by the time the carrot and radish slices hit the brine, most of that salt has been rinsed away. And unsalted pickles taste flat).

three pints

The pickles only stayed on the stove long enough to just heat through. Then I funneled them into jars and let them sit on the counter until they were cool enough for the fridge. They are both brightly flavored and just so darn pretty (though the purple carrots did bleed their color once they were in the jar and so over time, all those multi-colored roots have turned a near-uniform red).

crunchy fridge pickles

I gave one jar of these pickles away and have eaten most of the second jar tossed into salads of baby arugula and made into little stacks with slivers of cheddar cheese. It’s been fuel for plugging away on a cookbook and dreaming of warmer days.


  • If you can’t find green daikon radish, you could easily use the more readily available white variety. If you can’t find that, sub in any radish that you can put your hands on. 
  • This is a refrigerator pickle because it tastes best that way. While you could process it in a water bath canner, the texture won’t be as good.

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Giveaway: New Heritage Collection Blue Jars from Ball

Ball Heritage Jars

In the last few years, many of my favorite things that were once rare and only available in thrift stores and junk shops have been reissued. First there were the Pint & Half jars that came back last winter. Then Dansk from back their classic Kobenstyle cookware (according to The Kitchn, there’s more to come in that product line this season!). Now Ball has brought back blue glass canning jars. Be still my heart!

heritage jars from above

These Heritage Collection Pints are a limited edition jar, that has been issued to mark the 100th anniversary of the Perfect Mason, the original jar designed and produced by the Ball brothers. They’re not exact reproductions of those first jars, but do a lovely job at evoking an earlier age of home food preservation.

New and Old Jars

The shape of these new jars is identical to the regular mouth Ball pint jars currently on the market. They have measure marks along the sides in both cups and milliliters, come in sets of six, and are absolutely safe for home canning. As you can see from the photo above, the color is not an exact match to the jars of yesteryear, but it’s quite close. They also have a little commemorative note embossed on the back.

Vintage-style Jars, front and back

One thing to note about these jars is that they truly are limited. When they’re gone, they’re gone. If you want to add these to your pantry, make sure to pick some up sooner rather than later. You can currently order them from Fillmore Container. The Fresh Preserving Store and Amazon have them available for pre-order and should be fulfilling orders soon. I’ve not seen them in the wild yet, but I’ve heard that they will be stocked in brick and mortar stores.

Thanks to the nice folks at Ball, I have one box of these pretty jars to give away to a lucky Food in Jars reader (make sure to follow the Ball Facebook page and Pinterest account to be the first to know about future limited edition jars). If you want to enter, here’s what to do:

  1. Leave a comment on this post and share a blue glass jar memory or experience. If you don’t have any fond remembrances about blue glass jars, share how you’d use these new jars in your home.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm on Friday, March 15, 2013. Winners will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog over the weekend.
  3. Giveaway open to US residents only (so sorry, my further-flung readers).
  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 publicist for Jarden Home Brands gave me a box of these jars to review and is providing a second box for the giveaway. They did not pay for inclusion on the blog and my opinions remain entirely my own. 

Quick Pickles and the End of Winter

quick cucumber pickles

Without really meaning to, I took most of this week off from showing up around these parts. The manuscript for my next book is due in just five weeks (yikes!) and it’s been hard to think of anything beyond those 100+ recipes and their accompanying headnotes and introductions.

I’m also floundering a little as far as preserving inspiration goes. It happens every year around this time, when the citrus begins to fade and there’s nothing bright and fresh and new to take its place (though I have heard tell that champagne mangos are arriving in markets. That’s exciting).

I did recently make the quick pickles pictured above. We had a hothouse cucumber that had gone soft on one end and so I trimmed away the squidgy parts and made a brine from unseasoned rice wine vinegar, some salt, red chili flakes, green onion and dehydrated garlic bits (embarrassingly, we were entirely out of fresh garlic the day I made these). They’ve been good eating and help me remember that more flavorful days are coming.

Are any of the rest of you suffering from some late winter blahs? How are you dealing with them?

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Links: Energy Bars, Fruit Squares, and Winners!


by hand and bag

by hand winners Time for winners! I loved reading about all the things you guys make by hand. You are truly a group of talented, handy folks!

Our By Hand tote bag and magazine copy recipients are Sarsie (#105) and Katie (#637). I’ll be in touch soon!

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Fair Food and The Brewer’s Plate (+ Giveaway!)

Fair Food Farmstand

Philadelphia is fortunate to have a number of organizations that work to support the local foodshed, connect farmers with restaurants and shoppers, and generally spread the work about the amazing food that is being grown, raised, and produced through the region.

One such organization is Fair Food. In addition to running a very visible Farmstand in Reading Terminal Market, they do an amazing job of connecting producers with restaurants and institutions who want to use local food in their kitchens.

Each year, Fair Food throws a grand fundraiser called The Brewer’s Plate, in which they bring together nearly fifty area restaurants, brewers, cheesemakers, and bakers for an orgiastic evening of tasting and sipping. This year’s event is coming up on Sunday, March 10 and runs from 5:30-9 pm at the National Constitution Center. General admission is $70 a head and VIP tickets are $140 (it gets you early admission and access to an extra, less crowded area).

Fair Food has given me a pair of general admission tickets (a $140 value!) to give away for this year’s Brewer’s Plate (sadly, transportation to Philadelphia is not included). If you can get yourself to Philly on March 10 and want a chance to win the tickets, here’s what you do:

brewersplatewinner The winner is commenter #69, Michele G., from RowHouse Livin’.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and share a reason why you like to eat locally grown/raised/products foods when you can.
  2. Comments will close at 12 noon on Monday, March 7. The winner will be posted promptly to the blog.
  3. Giveaway open to anyone who can get to Philadelphia on March 10.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog at the bottom of this post.
Disclosure: Fair Food gave me a pair of tickets for giveaway, as well as an additional pair that I can use. However, my opinions are my own and uninfluenced by these tickets. No cash changed hands.