Flash Giveaway: Meals On Wheels Delaware Annual Meals from the Masters

Image courtesy of Meals on Wheels Delaware

Image courtesy of Meals on Wheels Delaware

I’ve got something a little bit out ordinary for you guys this weekend. The nice folks from Meals on Wheels Delaware asked me if I’d help spread the word about their annual Meals from the Masters weekend of events and so have given me some tickets to give way. It’s their premiere fundraiser and is an awesome way to support a really worthy cause while also getting to try some delicious food.

I have two tickets to Evening with the Masters ($150 value) on Friday, April 25 and two tickets to the Celebrity Chefs’ Brunch ($350 value) on Sunday, April 27 to giveaway.

Entrants need to be able to get themselves to Wilmington, DE for these events because travel is sadly not included. Here’s how to enter.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me why you want to attend this event!
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm on Monday, April 14, 2014. Winners will be chosen at random and will be contacted.
  3. Giveaway open to US residents only.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog at the bottom of this post.

Disclosure: Meals on Wheels Delaware is providing the tickets for this giveaway. They have not paid for placement.

Roasted Cashew and Coconut Butter

food swap goodies - Food in Jars

I went to a food swap on Tuesday night. Because of my nutty travel schedule, it was the first I’ve managed to be at in at least six months (we only have four swaps a year here in Philly, so it’s not as bad as it sounds) and so it was so fun to plot and plan what to bring with me.

I pulled out four half pints of the honey sweetened peach chutney* from last summer, baked up eight round loaves of honey oatmeal bread (I tripled this recipe and then divided the dough into eight portions. It meant I had six to swap, one to sample, and one to keep), and whirred up a bunch of roasted cashew and coconut butter.

roasted cashews - Food in Jars

The cashew butter happened for several reasons. I had a half gallon jar that was 3/4 full of cashews and they needed to be used. I also had some flaked coconut. And, I wanted to finally try making a nut butter in my Vitamix.

You see, I’ve taken something of a hiatus from homemade nut butters recently because my food processor just wasn’t cutting it (I wonder, is it possible to get a Cuisinart blade sharpened?). My machine originally belonged to my Great-Aunt Flora and is at least 35 years old (and it may well be even older). But I’d heard tell that making nut butters in a high speed blender was actually the better way to go and it was time to give it a whirl (literally).

roasted cashew coconut butter - Food in Jars

I roasted enough cashews for multiple batches (400 degrees F for about seven minutes). Once they were cool enough to handle, I combined 1 1/2 cups of the cashews with 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt in the Vitamix container and got to work. I discovered that by working on a relatively low speed, using the tamper to help keep things moving, and occasionally stopping entirely to scrape down the sides, the cashew butter was done in all of three minutes.

I also learned that it is a very bad idea to ask a five year old Vitamix to try and process a double batch of nut butter. I overheated the motor and the machine shut itself down for a full hour until it was cool enough to function without doing damage.

cashew butter on bread - Food in Jars

Still, working in small batches and giving the machine a little time to mellow out between blending rounds, this was a far more pleasant nut butter experience than I’ve had in the past (though I do acknowledge that the relatively softness of the cashews and coconut might have something to do with it. They yield more willingly than peanuts or almonds. More testing is necessary!).

Once the machine reset itself, I ended up making enough for the swap in four batches and it was something of a hit. I have a few tablespoons left in my sample jar and I’ve been rationing it until I can get more cashews and make more.

For those of you with food processors and no high speed blender, I think this butter is still within your grasp. Ashley over at Edible Perspective (the undisputed queen of internet-based nut butter recipes) has a cake batter cashew butter made in a food processor. If my instructions aren’t cutting it, head over and read through her recipe for additional guidance.

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Pomona’s Pectin on Clearance at Williams-Somona

pomona's pectin

Since the weather has been improving, I’ve been treating myself to an afternoon walk a couple times a week. It’s so nice to get out of my apartment for half an hour, move around a little and generally feel like I’m part of the world.

A couple of days ago, I was on one such walk and found that my feet had taken me right to the front door of my local Williams-Somona (it’s a dangerous thing to have one just six blocks away). I wandered in, promising myself that I was just there to browse (and drool over the new Vitamix S30. Have you seen that thing? I am having serious blender envy).

However, I spotted a deal that was too good to pass up. Pomona’s Pectin reduced to $3.99 a box. It’s not a huge discount, but enough of a price cut that I picked up four boxes, which is more than enough to get me through a couple years of canning (and Pomona’s Pectin never expires, so it’s good as long as it lasts).

If you have a Williams-Sonoma and use Pomona’s Pectin, I recommend picking up a box or two.

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Taking Preserving by the Pint to Chicago!

RTM food swap

It seems like this week has been all about event announcements here on the old blog, but I’m going to be out and about like crazy this month and just want to make sure that you all have a chance to come see me if I’m in your neck of the woods.

After I get back from my trip through a handful of Southern states, I’m dashing off to the Chicago area for a four day stint. I’m teaching classes, doing demos, giving talks, and signing as many books as I possibly can. Here’s where I’ll be.

  • April 25 – Highwood, IL: Luncheon and book signing, Highwood Bocce Courts. Event costs $36, which includes lunch and a copy of the new book. 11:30 am to 1 pm. Click here to for more details and to register.
  • April 26 – Chicago Suburbs:
    8:30-10:15 am - Book signing and tasting at the Sunset Foods’ Booth at Northbrook’s Earth Day Celebration in the Village Green (at Meadow & Walters).
    11 am – 1 pm - Demo and signing at the Warren Newport Library in Gurnee, IL. Click here to sign up.
  • April 27 – Long Grove, IL: Canning class at the Sunset Food’s Long Grove Cooking Studio from 1:30-4 pm. Cost is $80 per station or $95 per 2-person station. Call (847) 810-0484 to sign up.
  • April 28 – Winnetka, IL: Demo and signing at the Winnetka-Northfield Library, 2-4 pm. Details here.
  • April 28 – Evanston, IL: Canning demo and book signing 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.
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A Southern Swing for Preserving by the Pint

my demo set-up

Next week, I’m packing up my car and hitting the road. This first leg of my book tour is taking me south and I couldn’t be more excited. One of my biggest regrets about my last tour was the fact that I didn’t manage to get anywhere further south than Washington, D.C. and so when planning for this time, it was an absolutely priority.

I’ll be stopping in Charlottesville, Asheville, Atlanta, Birmingham, and Memphis. If you live in one of those cities please do come out and say hi.

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Giveaway: Cutco Five Inch Petite Santoku

Cutco small santoku 2

While in Chicago a few weeks ago, I attended a fancy lunch that included hibiscus cocktails, lots of happy networking, and a most generous gift bag. Included in the tote of goodness was a Cutco Petite Santoku knife that I was very excited to take home with me (I even checked my previously carried on bag in order to hang on to it).

It’s rapidly become an oft-used knife in our kitchen for small tasks. I make scrambled eggs for Scott with some sort of chopped deli meat every morning and it’s the perfect for cubing up the ham or pastrami. I also like it for quartering apples, cutting carrot sticks, and splitting grapefruits into quarters.

holding the small Cutco

I’ve been using a handful of Cutco knives since 2010 when I first encountered them at a food show in New York. Four years on, those knives have proven to be sturdy, reliable and continue to earn their place on our knife strip (and I am ruthless about ditching knives that don’t pull their weight).

Because I’ve been so pleased with them, I’m delighted to host a Cutco giveaway in the hopes that some of you might find yourself equally smitten. This week, I have five of these Cutco Petite Santoku knife to share with five winners. Here’s how to enter.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and share a knife story. What’s your current cutlery situation? How do you get your knives ready for canning season? What’s happening on your knife strip these days?
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm on Saturday, April 12, 2014. Winners will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, April 13, 2014.
  3. Giveaway open to US residents only.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog at the bottom of this post.

Cutco Cutlery Social Media!

To keep up to date with all the Cutco happenings, make sure to follow them on social media. They occasionally host their own giveaways and other promotions, and that’s the very best way to stay in the know. You can find them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Disclosure: As mentioned above, the nice folks at Cutco gave me the knife you see pictured above at a blogger event in Chicago a couple weeks ago and are providing the knives for this giveaway. They did not pay to be mentioned here and my opinions are entirely my own.