Preserving Dinners with Chef Eli Kulp at High Street

high street PbtP image

Over the course of this summer and fall, I’m working on a really cool collaboration (much like Tenaya and Amanda did before me). I’ve teamed up with Chef Eli Kulp (Executive Chef at Philly’s Fork and High Street restaurants) to help create a series of three preserving themed dinners at High Street.

The menus are going to feature lots and lots of jams, pickles, chutneys, and other preserves. Some will be the shining star of the course, while others be supporting players. For those of you who struggle to find ways of using your canning beyond the basics, these meals will give you an opportunity to taste some amazing flavors and get a world of fresh inspiration on how to put your preserves to work.

The first of these three dinners will be on Tuesday, June 3 and if the meeting we had this morning is any indication, it’s going to be spectacularly delicious. The cost is just $25 per person (plus beverages, tax, and gratuity). The menu will be released at 12 noon, the day of the meal and service begins promptly at 9 pm. Reservations are highly recommended, and you can make them by calling (215) 625-0988.

If you can’t make the June dinner, the other two will be on July 22 and September 30. They menus will all be seasonally driven and different from one another. I hope to see some of you there!

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Cookbooks: The Hip Girl’s Guide to the Kitchen

HGGTK Cover

I first met Kate Payne in early 2010. She was living in Brooklyn at the time and was making a day trip down to Philly to explore a little and see what delicious things the city had to offer. We met up for drinks and dinner and spent a solid three hours talking non-stop. It was one of those instant friendships, where you go from being strangers to being friends, without any intermediate stops along the way.

HGGTK spine

In the years since, I’ve helped to lead a canning workshop in Kate’s kitchen and hosted a book party potluck for her when she was traveling around the country and sharing tips and tricks from her first book, The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking. She and her wife put me up when I was in Austin a couple years back, waiting for my sister to give birth to Emmett and served me a scrumptious meal when I was in town back in January.

equip your ship

Today is the release day of Kate’s new book, called The Hip Girl’s Guide to the Kitchen: A Hit-the-Ground Running Approach to Stocking Up and Cooking Delicious, Nutritious, and Affordable Meals. It is a sturdy paperback that is bursting with everything you need to know to rock the most important room in your house.

knife honing

Though I call it a cookbook up in the subject line, this volume isn’t really a cookbook as we traditionally see them. There are plenty of recipes, to be sure, but the bulk of the book focuses on skills, techniques, and helping you build out your knowledge so that you can become a culinary problem solver. When you think about it, that ends up making it far more useful than any one cookbook could ever be.

pantry staples

The book is divided into three equally important sections. Part one is called Stocking Up and contains everything you need to know about cookware, pantry staples, maintenance of your tools, how long things last, how to store everything, and even details about the labeling you’ll most often find at the grocery store (conventional, organic, and GMO free, to name a few.

feeding others

Part two is called Feeding Yourself and digs into the nuts and bolts of how to make good, approachable, and affordable food, day after day after day. You’ll learn the basics (homemade vinaigrette! mayonnaise! soup from scraps!), some simple substitutions for when you’re out of eggs, buttermilk, or sugar, and some very useful tricks for baking up a wide array of muffins, cookies, and breads with what you have in the pantry. I promise, you will return to this section again and again.

hip tricks

The final portion of the book is called Feeding Others. It’s in this section that you’ll find information on canning and preserving (because we do that as much for our friends and family as we do for ourselves).

There’s also some really great laundry lists in this section that are simply titled, “Things to do with…” She digs into vegetables, fruit, dairy, eggs, herbs and spices, and more. It’s a ridiculously useful resource for those moments when you’re staring at the bundle of oregano that came in your CSA share and wondering how you’re ever going to make the most of it.

HGGTK back

From the time I was very young, I had a deep interest in food and cooking. Because of that, I paid a great deal of attention to my mom as she grocery shopped, packed lunches, and cooked dinner.I thought I knew everything I needed when I finally acquired my own kitchen, but I quickly realized that there were a number of details upon which I was a little fuzzy. Through trial, error, and lots of phone calls home, I was able to fill in the gaps. However, had Kate’s new book with me in the kitchen, things would have been a whole heck of a lot easier.

My bottom line? Whether you’re an experienced home cook or someone just starting to get to know your stove, you should have a copy of this book within easy reach of your kitchen.

For more stops on Kate’s online book tour, visit the following blogs:

May 21 – Healthy Green Kitchen
May 22 – Local Kitchen
May 23 – Autumn Makes and Does
May 27 – Punk Domestics
May 28 – Spinach Tiger
May 29 – Local Savour
May 30 – Love and Lemons
June 2 – Kitchen Ecosystem

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Strawberry Lavender Caramel + Giveaway

driscolls strawberries

Spring has been slow to come this year and so the local produce has only just begun to trickle into the markets around Philadelphia. Happily, a much-welcome dose of spring arrived on my doorstep a couple weeks back, in the form of a large box of Driscoll’s strawberries.

the incredible hull

Months ago, Driscoll’s and OXO hatched a plan to gather up a gaggle of food bloggers, send them an assortment of tools and berries, and see what they created. For me, it couldn’t have come at a better time, as I was positively itching to get my hands on some fresh ingredients.

berry top

One of the tools that came in the box was OXO’s new berry huller and I am not exaggerating when I say that it’s a strawberry game changer. I’ve used their previous huller and while it was a good tool, I always defaulted to a paring knife.

berries in blender

But, now having tried this new huller, it is my go-to strawberry prep tool. It is incredibly easy to use, cleanly removes the hard white center, and makes it possible to whip through four or five pounds of berries in no time at all.

berry puree

I made three different preserves with the berries Driscoll’s sent and I’ll be sharing those recipes over the course of this week. The first one is a variation on the strawberry caramel recipe that I wrote for Simple Bites a couple weeks ago. The second is a maple sweetened strawberry butter. And the final batch was honey sweetened strawberry vanilla jam.

dried lavender

I love the basic version of the basic strawberry caramel, but I’ve long thought that it would be delicious to infuse with lavender for a more complex flavor. And since I spotted OXO’s twisting tea ball, I had a feeling it would be the perfect infusion tool (short answer: it was!).

lavender in tea ball

You start with one pound of strawberries, hull them, and puree them (just pop them raw into a blender or food processor) until smooth.

cooking sugar

Then, combine 1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar with 3/4 cup of water in a small saucepan. Measure 2 teaspoons of dried lavender buds (culinary grade) into your tea ball and add it to the pot. Place it over high heat and bring to a boil.

250 degrees F

Cook the syrup until it reaches 250°F/121°C. Remove the pot from the heat and pour in prepared strawberry puree (you should have about 2 cups) and the juice of 1 lemon. Return the pot to the heat and cook until the temperature reaches 218°F/103°C.

finished caramel sauce

Funnel the sauce into two prepared half pint jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe rims, apply lids and rings and process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes.

This sauce is amazing drizzled over ice cream, angel food cake, or a piece of crunchy, buttered toast (it is entirely decadent but ridiculously good).

finished strawberry caramel

Now for the fun part. OXO and Driscoll’s are giving away a pretty terrific prize pack. The lucky winner will get one of those fabulous strawberry hullers, a three-piece OXO berry bowl and colander set, a $70 gift card to OXO.com, and a year’s supply of Driscoll’s berries. You enter via the widget below (not by leaving a comment on this post). The giveaway will close at 5 pm eastern time on Friday, May 30, so make sure to get your entry in!

To see what the rest of the participating bloggers made, make sure to click over to their sites!

a farmgirl’s dabbles
Confessions of a Bright-Eyed Baker
Crepes of Wrath
Crunchy Creamy Sweet
Cupcakes & Kale Chips
Diethood
Eat Your Heart Out
Eats Well With Others
Food n’ Focus
Hoosier Homemade
Never Enough Thyme
Rachel Cooks
Sweet Remedy
Very Culinary

Disclosure: Driscoll’s and OXO provided the berries and tools I used and featured in this post and are also providing the prize pack. They did not compensate me for my participation and my opinions are entirely my own.

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Upcoming Events: Philly! Brooklyn! Manhattan!

Did I mention that the Food in Jars stickers are in? They are free with every book purchase!

The last couple weeks have been the calm before the storm. If you thought my Southern book tour was a major endeavor, just wait until you see what I’ve got up my sleeve for June and July. Actually, you don’t have to wait at all. The entire summer schedule can be found on my Classes and Events page, if you want to take a gander and plug a date into your calendar.

For those of you in the Philadelphia or New York areas, my next three events are just for you. There are still lots of seats available in both those classes, so grab yours now!

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Links: Pickles, Rhubarb, and Winners

Iced tea in a jar! Oh Western Mass, I think I love you.

It was another busy week around these parts. I did a bunch of work, had my 35th birthday, got the stomach flu, and drove to Western Massachusetts to spend the weekend with friends. I would have liked to have skipped the stomach flu portion of the itinerary, but those sorts of things are typically out of our control. Happily, it was a blessedly short lived bug and I’m back to normal. Now, links!

My book got a bit of internet love this week. Here’s who mentioned it.

JOY app

The weekly giveaway returned last Tuesday with the Joy of Cooking app! Here are the lucky winners (I’ll be in touch shortly!).

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Sponsored Post: KitchenAid Classic 4.5 Quart Stand Mixer Giveaway from Craftsy

KitchenAid Mixer 640

When I turned 27, my friends got together and bought me a KitchenAid Stand Mixer. As birthday gifts go, it was one of the better ones of my life because it showed me just how well I was known and appreciated by the people in my life.

I’ve worked that mixer hard over the eight years that it has been in my kitchen and truly, it looks as good as the day it arrived on my doorstep. It is a tank of a machine and I am so glad to have it.

When the folks at Craftsy asked if I’d been interested in helping them spread the word about their KitchenAid Classic 4.5 Quart Stand Mixer giveaway, I jumped at the chance to share it with you guys. After all, I shouldn’t be the only one who knows the joy of getting a fabulous mixer as a gift!

This giveaway is a little different from the ones I typically offer here, in that you need to go over to the Craftsy site to enter your name (comments left on this post won’t get you entry this time). If you don’t have one, you will need to create an account on Craftsy in order to enter, but it shouldn’t take long and they are good citizens when it comes to user information.

The giveaway is open until May 23 and residents of the United States and Canada are both eligible to enter. The winner will be chosen at random and contacted by Craftsy.

Click here to enter to win a KitchenAid Classic 4.5 Quart Stand Mixer!

For more about this series of sponsored posts and my year-long partnership with Craftsy, please visit this post.

Official disclosure statement: This is sponsored post from Craftsy. I was compensated for this post. However, all opinions remain my own.

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