Links: Mincemeat, Harvest Crackers, and a Winner

Roasting garlic for a batch of mashed potatoes (my family's t-giving meal is today!).

I hope that everyone out there had a lovely Thanksgiving! Scott and I spent the actual holiday with his mom in Northern Virginia and then came back up to Philadelphia for a second celebratory meal with my extended family on Saturday night. My cousins sent me home with both turkey carcasses and I’ve been a machine for the last 24 hours, picking them apart, making stock, and running quart jars of finished stock through the pressure canner. It’s such satisfying preserving, because it is such a useful thing to have in the pantry.

Now, links!

Homemade Living with Ashley English

Thanks to everyone who took the time out of their busy pre-Thanksgiving days last week to enter the Ashley English Homemade Living series giveaway! The winner is #18, Chip in SC. He said, “I am thankful for my family and friends!” Chip, I feel the very same way.

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Giveaway: Ashley English’s Homemade Living Series

Homemade Living with Ashley English

I am sure that most of you are knee-deep in Thanksgiving lists and travel coordination this week, so I’m going to keep this giveaway post short and sweet. Thanks to Ashley English and the kind folks at Lark Crafts, I have one set of Ashley’s Homemade Living books to give away. This series includes Canning & Preserving, Home Dairy, Keeping Bees, Keeping Chickens.

These books are the perfect resource for those folks who want to delve deeper into an array of homestead-y arts. If you’re limited by space (like me) and can only dream about having property enough for a flock of chickens or a personal beehive, they also make excellent aspirational reading.

Homemade Living with Ashley English

Because Thanksgiving is nearly upon us, let’s focus on gratitude in the comments. I’ll go first. This year, I am exceedingly grateful for my family. I am deeply grateful for the amount of love in my life. And I am outrageously grateful for all of you who take the time to read these blog posts and make my recipes. Giant thanks to you all.

And now, in more organized fashion, the giveaway instructions.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and share something for which you are grateful.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm east coast time on Saturday, November 30, 2013. Winner will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday.
  3. Giveaway is open to US residents (apologies to my more far-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. I do not accept submissions via email.
Disclosure: The nice people at Lark Crafts are providing the books for this giveaway. My opinions remain my own and I received no compensation for this post. It’s here because I like Ashley and her work. 

Links: Pumpkin Syrup, Cranberries, and Winners

Looks like we're all set for copies of my book for tonight's talk at Temple!

I spent the end of last week feeling like I was on the verge of getting really sick. In response, I hunkered down, drank buckets of tea, and slept multiple 12 hour stretches. Happily, the worst of the crud never came, but I did fall behind in everything but my Scandal watching. We’re off to Scott’s mom’s house for Thanksgiving on Wednesday morning, so I’m trying to squeeze all my catching up into Monday and Tuesday. It’s probably not going to happen, but I’ll do my best.

Now, links!

Anolon Dutch Oven

anolon DO winner We had two giveaways come to their end last week. First was the Duralex giveaway sponsored by MightyNest that ended last Wednesday. The winner in that giveaway was selected through Rafflecopter and is Brenda McNamee Diggs.

The Anolon giveaway ended on Saturday night and the winner, selected by, is Sarah (commenter #8). Thanks to everyone who took the time to enter! I’ll have  a Thanksgiving week giveaway up tomorrow, so stay tuned!

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The First Issue of Edible Philly

Edible Philly November 2013

For years now, I’ve envied all the other cities out there that had their own Edible magazines. It just seemed wrong that a vibrant food town like Philly didn’t have its own food-focused publication. Happily, my envious days are over. The very first issue of Edible Philly finally hit newsstands this month.

Edible Philly November 2013

This first issue is filled with good stuff, including a story about locally made ciders, a piece about Bethlehem, PA, and gorgeous, photo-heavy spread about Di Bruno Bros., Philly’s cheese institution.

Edible Philly November 2013

Some of my favorite local writers and photographers contributed to this issue, including Tara Matazara Desmond (I’ve been raving about her new book, Choosing Sides, to anyone who will listen), fab photog Albert Yee, and Madame Fromage herself, Tenaya Darlington. I am honored to be listed among so much talent.

Edible Philly November 2013

I wrote about beets for the In Season column in this issue. I had so much fun developing the recipes and have made the both the roasted beet dip and the beet and potato latkes repeatedly since writing that piece. The latkes would be a fun way to mix up your Hanukkah table this year, if you’re looking for fresh inspiration.

Edible Philly November 2013

I’m looking forward to reading (and hopefully contributing to!) many future issues of Edible Philly. It’s such a good addition to the city’s food scene!

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Spiced Cranberry Jam

jar of cranberry jam

Most of the time, I do my preserving in relatively small batches. However, as we begin to approach the gift giving time of year, I take inventory of what I have in the pantry and then make a few very large batches to round out the selection (Scott likes to give his co-workers some of my jams and pickles, and I typically put together gift bags for neighbors and family members).

bag of cranberries

One fruit I rely on heavily for these larger, holiday-themed batches is the mighty cranberry. It has great flavor, contains a goodly amount of pectin (which means there’s never any doubt that it will set up), and goes beautifully with all manner of wintertime fare.

cranberries in a pot

This is not my first go-round with cranberry jam (I shared a basic batch the first year this site was around and did a tin can molded version back in 2011), but I like this one because it has plenty of flavor and retains its essential tartness. Of course, if you want to temper the boldness of the cranberry, you can try pear cranberry jam, cranberry marmalade, apple cranberry jam, or cranberry quince sauce.

cooked cranberry jam

When making this jam for gift giving, I cook it until the berries are mostly popped and will sometimes use a potato masher to help break it down a bit more. If you prefer a smoother spread, you could either introduce an immersion blender or push the jam through a food mill for something that it mostly skin and seed-free.

filling jars with cranberry jam

Because cranberries are quite high in acid, this is a recipe you play around with a little without causing unsafe conditions. Swap out the spices and drop in a vanilla bean instead. Use more orange zest and juice for a citrusy punch. Go wild and add a little cayenne or ancho chili powder to provide some heat. Unless you start adding handfuls of garlic and onion, you’d be hard pressed to make an unsafe cranberry jam.

cranberry jam from above

Oh, and one more note about cranberries. If you like sweet and tangy things and you haven’t tried my pickled cranberries yet, consider making up a batch while they’re in stores this season.

Now your turn. What cranberry jams, sauces, and jellies are you making this time of year?

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Giveaway: Anolon Tri-Ply 5 Quart Dutch Oven

anolon lid 640

Over the last few years, I’ve become something of a booster for stainless steel cookware. I like the fact that it’s durable, relatively light (at least if compared to enameled cast iron), and comparatively easy to clean. The easy to clean part is of particular importance because as an easily distracted person who frequently cooks sugary things, I occasionally find myself scorching or burning a batch of jam or jelly (it happens to the best of us).

When this happens in expensive enameled cast iron, the jig is up (at least in my experience). The cooking surface of that vessel is forever changed for the worse and the pot becomes increasingly prone to future burns. When you burn something in stainless steel, you can soak and scrub until the charred bits release their hold. Though the surface may bear marks of the burn, it will continue to serve.

Anolon Dutch Oven

And so, I’ve slowly been building my collection of stainless steel cookware (I still have some enameled pots and pans, but I save them for low heat and oven applications). I have a few pieces of All-Clad that were either picked up at a thrift store or bought at steep discount from Cookware & More. We added some nice pans from Anolon’s Nouvelle Cuisine line (thanks to this giveaway partnership) to the kitchen last year. And just recently, this Anolon Tri-Ply 5 Quart Dutch Oven joined my cookware line-up.

Anolon Dutch Oven

The nice folks at Anolon sent it over, thinking that it might be a good pan for the tiny batches of jam I often make. And they were absolutely right. It’s a terrific piece of cookware that is perfect for small batches of jams, jellies, and chutneys because of its low, wide design (it promotes fast evaporation!). I also like it for the soups and sauces I frequently make for dinner (it’s size helps keep me from cooking for an army, which is my natural default). And if you’re looking for a relatively inexpensive Dutch Oven in which to bake loaves of no-knead bread, look no further. This guy is oven safe up to 500 degrees F.

Thanks to Anolon, I have one of these Tri-Ply 5 Quart Dutch Ovens to give away. Here’s how to enter:

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me about your favorite piece of cookware.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm east coast time on Saturday, November 23, 2013. Winner will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday.
  3. Giveaway is open to US residents (apologies to my more far-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. I do not accept submissions via email.
Disclosure: Anolon has provided both my review unit of the 5-Quart Dutch oven and the giveaway unit at no cost to me. However, my opinions remain entirely my own.