Home Again, Salsa, and Upcoming Book Events

quick homemade salsa

I landed in Philadelphia right around 12 noon on Tuesday afternoon. It was almost exactly two weeks to the minute since I’d left and while the book tour was gloriously fun, returning home is always the best thing of all.

I’ve spent the last day and a half reacquainting myself with home, unpacking bags and folding laundry. I also have done quite a lot of cooking in the last 48 hours. I made a goodly amount of jam and pickles while on the road and helped assemble a meal or two in the company of friends, but there was little true cooking and I missed it.

overhead salsa

And so, I’ve made several rounds of breakfast eggs. I roasted every sad bit of vegetable in the fridge and made soup for dinner last night. I prepped a batch of whole wheat chocolate chip cookie dough for the freezer (we bake them a couple at a time in the toaster oven as an after dinner treat). And I peeled two wrinkly tomatoes that I’d left to ripen several weeks ago and made a little batch of salsa.

For lunch today, I toasted a couple of corn tortillas and folded into them black beans, cheese, avocado, sour cream, and generous scoops of the salsa. If a batch of spring salsa sounds good to you (Cinco de Mayo is Monday, after all), the batch I made is essentially the same as this one, only with shallots in place of the onions, and some red chili flakes instead of jalapeño (we didn’t have any). Remember, homemade salsa always tastes better if you make it at least an hour or two before you plan on serving it.

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Just because I’m home doesn’t mean that the book tour is over. Truly, things are only just picking up. Here’s where I’ll be over the course of the week and a half!

  • May 3 – Philadelphia: Demo and book signing at Fante’s Kitchen Shop, 1-3 pm.
  • May 4 – Philadelphia: Tasting and book signing at Headhouse Square Farmers Market, 10 am – 2 pm.
  • May 6 – Broomall, PA: Demo and book signing at the Marple Township Library, 7:30-9 pm.
  • May 10 – Philadelphia: Demo and book signing at Greensgrow, 10 am – 1 pm. Demo and book signing at Occasionette, 5-8 pm.
  • May 13 – Manhattan: Strawberry jam class at The Brooklyn Kitchen’s Manhattan location. 6:30-8:30 pm. $65.
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MightyNest Book Event in Evanston, IL on Monday, April 28

Jars at my book event today.

Friends! I’m currently in the Chicago suburbs, getting ready for a full weekend of events (you can find all the details here) and wanted to drop in with more details about Monday’s canning party in Evanston with MightyNest.

We’ll be at Now We’re Cookin’ (1601 Payne St, Evanston, IL) from 7-8:30 pm on Monday. General admission to the event is $5. There’s also “Mighty Pass” that you can buy for $25 that will get you entrance to the event, a signed copy of the book, and 3 mini Weck tulip jars. Both options can be purchased through Eventbrite.

I’m going to be demo-ing how to make the honey sweetened strawberry jam with thyme from the new book and will happily answer any and all canning questions. I hope to see some of you there!

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Ten Ways to Use and Preserve Spring Rhubarb

rhubarb

I have a confession to make. As much as I’m enjoying this book tour (and truly, every step of it has been a total delight), I am ready to go home, see my husband, and cook in my little kitchen again.

To tide me over until Tuesday, when I’ll be home for a longer stretch than 12 hours, I’ve been digging back through the archives, to remind myself of what I like to cook this time of year. The thing that’s popping out at me most? Rhubarb! Here are nine ways that I’ve preserved and loved rhubarb in the past.

Cooking rhubarb

My first ever rhubarb preserve is still one of my favorites. It’s just rhubarb, vanilla and a little bit of earl grey tea for extra flavor.

rhubarb chutney

Another oldie but goodie is this recipe for rhubarb chutney. It was my first-ever chutney and is still one that I come back to about every other year.

rhubarb syrup

For summertime cocktails and vinaigrettes, cook yourself up a little bottle of rhubarb syrup. Next time I make it, I’m going to plunk a little bit of ginger in for extra zing.

rhubarb butter, from above

If you want less sugar, I find that a fruit butter is always the ticket. I’ve got both Rhubarb Butter with Orange and Strawberry Rhubarb Butter to choose from.

rhubarb/sugar/rosemary

For something slightly more herbaceous, there’s always Rosemary Rhubarb Jam.

roasted rhubarb pieces

If you can bear to turn on your oven, how about some Roasted Rhubarb Compote (this link will take you to the Mrs. Wages site, but I promise, the recipe is still all mine).

macerating fruit

And finally, the small batches! Strawberry Rhubarb Jam. With roseflower water.

cake square

And if you’re not up for preserving at all, but want something tasty, may I suggest this rhubarb cake? It uses up the last of a jar of preserves you’ve got laying around, along with runny yogurt and whole wheat pastry flour. It’s one of my favorites for spring brunches.

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Book Tour Events: Birmingham! Memphis! Chicago!

farmers market set-up Just a quick note to say that the book tour is still trucking! Tonight I’ll be at Birmingham Bake & Cook. The class is sold out, but you can call the shop to get on the waiting list. And if you’re in Birmingham and just want a book, leave a comment and we’ll figure something out.

On Wednesday, I’ll be at The Booksellers at Laurelwood from 6-7 pm doing a demo and signing books. And then on Friday, Chicago!

Hope to see some of you there!

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Links: Book Tour Notes, Pickles, and Birmingham

A shelf of painted jars. I'm normally opposed to painted jars, but these are kind of cool.

The book tour goodness continues! We had rain for most of Saturday in Atlanta, but that didn’t stop people from coming out to the Carter Center and Piedmont Park (including Whit from the Locurean and Jacin from Lovely Little Details/Salt Gatherings). I can’t thank Lyn from Preserving Now for putting together so many terrific events for me.

Today I drove to Birmingham and spent several hours sitting in my hotel room, trying to whittle down the contents of my inbox.I also had dinner with Kim from A Tiny Forest, which was such a treat. She makes all padded tote bags designed to hold and protect mason jars and I love my two-jar bag.

Tomorrow night, I’m teaching a sold out class at Birmingham Bake & Cook and Wednesday, I’ll be at The Booksellers at Laurelwood from 6-7 pm doing a demo and signing books. And then on Friday, Chicago! Now, links!

About the book…

 

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Sponsored Post: Perfect Pizza at Home with Craftsy

finished pepperoni

This post is the next installment in my sponsored content partnership with Craftsy. This time, I took Peter Reinhart’s Perfect Pizza at Home course. It was amazing and changed my relationship with homemade pizza forever. Read on for more!

rising pizza dough

I’ve long been of the belief that even bad pizza can be good, if the circumstances are right. For instance, free pizza that appears in your workplace around lunchtime. It doesn’t have to be particularly excellent pizza in order for the ravaging hordes to descent and empty those boxes in record time.

risen dough

Also in this category is pizza eaten at the airport during a layover, pizza obtained in the late night hours after one too many drinks, and pizza provided by friends after you’ve helped them move.

And, until last week, this category included my own homemade pizza.

flattened dough

Years ago, I got myself a pizza stone and tried to up my homemade pizza game. However, every attempt yielded gummy, tough crusts and toppings that slide right off the slice with the first bite. I kept making it, because of my belief that even bad pizza could be good. In my heart, I knew it could be better, but I never took the time to make it so.

sauced pizza

Happily, it has all changed thanks to Peter Reinhart’s free Perfect Pizza at Home course. This is a class offered by Craftsy and it has totally changed my homemade pizza ways.

pepperoni pizza unbaked

The class is broken up into five sections. After a quick introduction, Peter goes into a primer on dough. I was interested to learn that you get far better dough incorporation if you use your mixer’s paddle rather than the kneading hook for the dough. I had always assumed that the hook was best.

sliced pepperoni pizza

I appreciated the variety of dough options that were offered in that section (hooray for the part whole wheat crust). I was also taken by instructions to pull and fold the dough every five minutes. It didn’t take any major kneading to create a light, perfectly chewy dough and I’ll be doing it this way from here on out.

bottom char

Next up was the segment on sauces and cheese. I’ll confess that I already have a favorite pizza sauce (the recipe is in Preserving by the Pint), but it was liberating to be told that a bit of cheddar cheese tossed with your mozzarella is perfectly acceptable.

mushroom pizza

I think I learned the most from the making and baking segment. There are so many good tips about shaping your dough into the pizza shape (make sure to let the dough rest in between stretching attempts, or it will keep bouncing back) and getting the pizza stone good and hot (crank the oven as high as it will go and heat the stone for much longer than you’d think).

mushroom crust

I was also encouraged by the gluten-free pizza unit. My sister can’t handle the gluten and I love the idea that I can still make her delicious, satisfying pizza.

If you want to take the Perfect Pizza at Home class, click here to register!

For more on my year-long partnership with Craftsy, head over to the first post in the series, all about my experience taking their free Knife Skills course.

Official disclosure statement: This post was sponsored by Craftsy. I was compensated for my time. However, all opinions remain entirely my own.

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