Links: Roasted Carrots, Rhubarb, and a Winner

Date Night In carrots

Friends, thank you all for the lovely birthday wishes. I had a fabulous weekend of celebration and I’m feeling decidedly cheerier about 37 than I was last week.

Now, let me tell you about some phenomenal carrots. When I was in Seattle last month, I had the good fortune to teach a class at The Pantry at Delancey. They’ve recently expanded their space and now have two classrooms. The night I was there, I taught in their newer kitchen, while the very talented Ashley Rodriguez led a class next door, featuring recipes from her book, Date Night In.

At the end of the evening, we swapped leftovers. I offered her team what remained of my spread of jams, pickles, and chutneys, while they made me a plate of roasted carrots with maple and coriander and butter lettuce salad. The salad was excellent, but the carrots were transcendent. The moment I got home, I ordered the book so I could recreate them and I’ve now made them twice in the last ten days.

The trick it to get carrots with their greens and leave an inch or so of the stems intact. They turn crisp in the oven, which just a hint of caramel from the maple syrup. In combination with the tender, slightly blistered carrots, they are my very favorite thing to eat right now. I highly encourage you to get your hands on a copy of this book so you can make them yourselves. They are worth it. Now, links!

Foolproof Preserving giveaway pack - Food in Jars

A couple weeks ago, I posted a giveaway featuring Foolproof Preserving from America’s Test Kitchen, but neglected to announce the winner. Well, without further delay, the winner is #28/Amber V. Congratulations Amber!

Also, don’t forget that I’m also currently giving away three copies of my new book, Naturally Sweet Food in Jars. If you haven’t entered yet, you have until Saturday!

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Giveaway: Naturally Sweet Food in Jars

Naturally Sweet Food in Jars cover (1)

My birthday is this Saturday and in celebration, I’m giving away three copies of my new cookbook, Naturally Sweet Food in Jars. As most of you know, this is my third cookbook(!) and it focuses on preserving with honey, maple, agave, coconut sugar, fruit juice concentrates, and dried fruits.

Naturally Sweet Food in Jars spine

The idea for this book was initially sparked by this post, as well as the many alternatively sweetened recipes that have come since on this site. The finished book features more than 100 recipes for preserves, as well as a handful of recipes designed to help you use up some of what you’ve put up.

Naturally Sweet Food in Jars roasted apricot jam

I had two primary goals in mind when I was writing Naturally Sweet. The first was to translate some of my most beloved sugar-sweetened recipes into those that used less refined sweeteners.

Naturally Sweet Food in Jars Honeyed Meyer Limoncello

The second objective was to create new and novel recipes that would be safe for canning and that featured the various sweeteners in ways that made the most of their unique, individual flavors.

Naturally Sweet Food in Jars Lemony Strawberry Jam

I also wanted to help change the conversation about preserving. So often, people dismiss it because they feel like the products created when you preserve aren’t always the healthiest.

Naturally Sweet Food in Jars Concord Grape Jam

However, by shining a spotlight on alternative sweeteners, I feel like I’ve created a collection of recipes that are able to balance health concerns with issues of safety and shelf stability.

Naturally Sweet Food in Jars Sweet Onion Relish

And, as always, the recipes are relatively small batches that don’t require too much of your time and energy.

Naturally Sweet Food in Jars back

Thanks to my publisher, Running Press, I have three copies of my book to give away today. Here’s how to enter.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me about something you like to eat to celebrate your birthday. And if you don’t have a favorite birthday food, just wish me happy birthday!
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Saturday, May 21, 2016. A winner will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, May 22, 2016.
  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: Running Press is providing the giveaway copies at no cost to me. 

Guest Post: Pink and Yellow Pickled Eggs from Heather Francis

Today’s guest post comes from Heather Francis. Heather is originally from Nova Scotia, Canada and has spent the last decade working and living on boats. Since 2008 she and her Aussie partner Steve have been living and sailing Kate, their Newport 41’. They document their travels and their edible DIY projects on their blog, Yacht Kate. Last year, Heather shared her recipe for mango chutney with us. Today, she’s telling the tale of pickled eggs. Enjoy!  

Eggs

Captain Chook is the Master of the good ship Pollo Picante. He watches over his crew, keeping everyone safe as his vessel is heaved to and fro by the ocean. His job is not an easy one, his crew are not the heartiest bunch and his vessel has limited space. No more than 24 can live aboard in peace and late one night we woke to find that mutiny broken out.

Overloaded, the Pollo had broken free from her mooring and was run aground. We were able to salvage the ship and some of her crew, but several were mortally wounded and were given a burial at sea. We think Chook he is a fair and able Captain; not many under his command could be considered ‘bad eggs’.

We eat a lot of eggs onboard. A couple mornings a week we have an egg for breakfast and I will often make a frittata for lunch or serve a fried egg perched atop a stir fry for dinner. On passages there are always hard boiled eggs in the fridge for an easy to grab snack while on watch, and when there is fresh bread and good mayo around I treat us to a curried egg sandwich.

eggs in a carton

Fresh eggs have never been hard to find, once I stopped looking in the refrigerated section of the supermarket, that is. In most places we find eggs sold at the local open-air markets alongside all the fresh fruit and vegetables that people grow or forage. These markets are held in the municipal center or large township and islanders from surrounding villages often travel for several hours and camp out for days in order to participate.

I frequently buy my eggs in bulk, a flat at a time, so we have enough on board to last 3-4 weeks, or until we get to the next market town. However since my hanging egg basket (A.K.A the good ship Pollo Picante) can only safely hold so many I use another method to store eggs onboard; I pickle them.

I didn’t realize that pickled eggs were something unusual until I mentioned it to an Aussie a few years back. Turns out the pickled egg phenomenon never made it Down Under. I, on the other hand, have been eating pickled eggs for as long as I can remember.

Pickled Eggs Jar

On hot summer days when we all piled into the family car to take the long meandering drive through rural Nova Scotia to visit my Grandparents we would always stop for a pickled egg. On a sharp corner of a long wooded road was a small milk-carton shaped building, not unlike nearly every other house we passed that day. Maybe it was a corner shop, maybe it was just someone’s house; there was no sign or takeout window and none of us kids ever got out of the car to find out.

My Father would disappear around the corner of the building and a few minutes later return with a half a dozen pale brown pickled eggs in a small clear plastic bag. The bag was passed around the car and we would each pick out our own firm, but slightly squishy pale-brown egg. I could literally taste the anticipation as I waited or my turn, the air filling with the acidic tang of vinegar that would tickle my nose and make my mouth water. It has been over two decades since I last drove down that road and stopped at that mysterious house but a good pickled egg is still a favourite snack of mine.

Making pickled eggs is easy: hard boil and peel the eggs, put them in a large jar with desired spices and cover with a vinegar brine. When cool put them in the fridge and wait at least a week before eating. Eggs will keep for 4-6 weeks in the fridge and the flavour will continue to develop and intensify the longer you let them sit.

Traditional pickled eggs are flavoured with a blend of pickling spices; bay leaves, peppercorns, allspice, caraway and mustard seeds. And although I have a soft spot for that classic flavour profile I also like to experiment. Which is how I came to make pink and yellow pickled eggs one year around Easter time.

Pickled Eggs

Unlike painted Easter eggs the colours for my pickled eggs are not achieved used dyes but by adding natural ingredients to the pickle brine. For the pink eggs I layer the hard boiled eggs with slices of pickled beets from a tin and add a little of the water from the can to the brine solution. The deep burgundy colour is slowly absorbed by the eggs and after a couple weeks penetrates almost all the way to yolk. When the eggs are sliced they are both startling and beautiful. Although many people have aversions to pink foods most agree that my Beet ‘n’ Pickled Eggs are delicious.

Anyone who has cooked with turmeric knows of its power to stain hands/aprons/dishcloths/utensils. I figured a teaspoon of ground turmeric would do good job of staining eggs too, and then I threw in some mustard and cumin seeds and a few chillies for good measure. The turmeric doesn’t penetrate the egg as severely as the beets but the result is a pretty sunshine-yellow egg with bright Indian flavours.

To most batches of pickled eggs I also add onion slices to the jar. The onion not only adds flavour to the eggs and ends up nicely pickled as well, and is a delicious addition to sandwiches or sundowner crudité plates. Of course you don’t have to wait until Easter; I keep a jar of pickled eggs in the fridge year round.

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Fourteen Ways to Preserve Strawberries and a Pie

hulling strawberries

I haven’t seen any local strawberries yet here in Philadelphia, but my sources say they’re coming any day now (just as soon as it warms up a little!). For those of you who have them or are just dreaming about them like I am, I thought I’d put together a collection of my strawberry preserves from over the years. At the end of this post, you’ll find a recipe for the strawberry pie I try to make at least once a year (because it’s just so good).

strawberries in a colander

The Small Batch Recipes

small batch strawberry vanilla

The small batch version of my beloved strawberry vanilla jam. I make several batches of this preserve every year because it’s quick and delicious.

quart of berries

An itty-bitty batch of strawberry rhubarb jam.

strawberry rhubarb rosemary

Strawberry rhubarb jam scented with rosewater. If you make this one, add the rosewater in stages, in case yours is more potent than the one I used.

strawberry fig jam

Strawberry fig jam. If you can’t get fresh figs, you could also make this one with frozen figs.

strawberries and kiwis - Food in Jars

Strawberry kiwi jam. A teeny, tiny, tangy jam.

finished strawberry caramel

Strawberry lavender caramel. A sweet sauce for drizzling and glazing.

strawberry balsamic jam

Strawberry balsamic jam. The perfect strawberry preserve for serving with cheese.

The Large Batch Recipes

strawberry vanilla jam large

My very first strawberry jam recipe. It’s a classic. It’s strawberry vanilla jam!

strawberries and apples

A nice big batch of dusty pink strawberry applesauce.

pint of strawberry vanilla jam

Want a big batch of strawberry jam with half the sugar? This low sugar version is for you!

strawberry chutney ingredients

For the fans of sweet and savory, consider this strawberry chutney. It’s so good with stinky, runny cheeses!

The Butters and Compotes

strawberry rhubarb butter

Strawberry rhubarb butter. Super smooth and spreadable.

maple strawberry butter

Slow cooker strawberry butter, sweetened with maple syrup.

roasted rhubarb and strawberries

Roasted rhubarb and strawberry compote. Eat it over yogurt. Stir it into oatmeal. Top it with granola and call it a crumble.

strawberry pie

Now for the pie. Check the recipe after the jump!

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Giveaway: Foolproof Preserving from America’s Test Kitchen

Foolproof Preserving cover - Food in Jars

Over the years, America’s Test Kitchen has become known and respected for their tireless pursuit of the very best recipes and techniques for home cooks. In their newest cookbook, Foolproof Preserving: A Guide to Small Batch Jams, Jellies, Pickles, Condiments, and More, they’ve turned their attention to the art of putting up.

Foolproof Preserving peach jam - Food in Jars

Like the other America’s Test Kitchen books that have come before, this volume is thoughtfully constructed, clearly written, beautifully photographed, and features a number of recipes that will have both new canners and seasoned preservers leaping up to gather produce and pull out their cookware.

Foolproof Preserving pickled red onions - Food in Jars

The introduction to this book is particularly useful, because it answers so many of the questions that people typically have about canning. They clearly go into the issues around acid content, achieving set, adjusting for altitude, and, in the case of fermentation, the relationship between salt and temperature.

Foolproof Preserving figs - Food in Jars

As I see it, there exists a fairly large flaw with this book. To my imperfect count, of the 111 recipes included, 42 of them cannot be processed and made shelf stable. To be fair, there are 16 recipes for quick and fermented pickles, which are things that never go into a boiling water bath in the first place. But that still leaves us with a goodly number of recipes that will require space in the freezer or fridge.

I can see why the authors made the choices they did. They were developing recipes where the topmost priority was flavor, texture, and freshness. Those are all noble and worthy goals. However, as someone who preserves primarily to create good-tasting food that can live on the shelf until needed, I find myself frustrated to be confronted with a tomato jam recipe that can’t be processed (particularly since a small amount of citric acid would make it safe for the canner and would have very little impact on the finished flavor).

Foolproof Preserving back - Food in Jars

Reading the introduction, I have a sense of why this book came to be as it is. The authors confess from the start that they approached this project as canning novices and that the testing was a process of discovery for them. I can see how that shaped the book I hold in my hands, because they were not driven by the primary goal of having shelf stable preserves to last the year. However, it doesn’t stop me from wishing they’d better addressed the fact from the start that 38% of the book focuses on short-term, rather than long-term, preserving.

Foolproof Preserving giveaway pack - Food in Jars

With all of that off my chest, let me say that again that this is a beautiful, well-designed, useful book. If long-term shelf stability isn’t your primary goal, you will find much to love here. I plan on exploring this book throughout the summer and fall, just taking care not to fall in love with too many recipes that demand space from in my limited fridge and freezer.

Thanks to the kind folks at America’s Test Kitchen, I have one copy of this beautiful book to give away, along with a jar lifter and stainless steel wide mouth funnel. Here’s how to enter.

  1. Leave a comment on this post. Tell me about something you’ve preserved lately, or a preserve you opened and enjoyed in recent days.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Sunday, May 8, 2016. A winner will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Monday, May 9, 2016.
  3. Giveaway open to United States only (so sorry!). 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: America’s Test Kitchen sent me the copy of the paperback you see here, along with a box of jars, two wide mouth funnels, and a jar lifter. I’ve included the jar lifter and one of the wide mouth funnels in the giveaway, they’re also providing the second copy of the book. All this has been done at no cost to me. No additional compensation has been provided. All opinions expressed are entirely my own. 

Jam & Tea at Valley Forge Flowers with WHYY

spring flowers

On Sunday, May 8, I’m teaming up with WHYY and Valley Forge Flowers for a special canning demo and book signing. There will be tea, jam, and the chance to watch me make jam from a comfortable seat. Tickets are still available for this event and they cost $35 for WHYY members, and $42 for non-members (that price includes a copy of Naturally Sweet Food in Jars).

If you’re looking for something special to do with your mom or other favorite maternal person, this event is for you, because May 8 just happens to be Mother’s Day. However, the program is not Mother’s Day specific, so please come even if you don’t have a mother to fete.

The event is from 4-6 pm and tickets can be obtained here.

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