Links: Apricot Gelato and Spiced Pumpkin Butter Bars

Turkey sandwich, grape tomatoes and leftover baked sweet potato fries with tomato jam for dipping.

Is it just me or does November seem to be speeding by? I swear, it was just Halloween and now we’re more than halfway through the month. I am singularly unprepared for the rush of the holiday season but here we are nonetheless. How are the rest of you holding up?

Now, links.

I don’t have a winner to announce in the Duralex giveaway yet because it doesn’t end until Wednesday. Have you entered?

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Maple Walnut Granola

granola in a jar

I woke up yesterday craving granola. Specifically, the maple granola that I used to eat with yogurt for lunch every day when I was in the 5th grade. It was my favorite and could be bought only from the bulk bins at People’s Food Co-op in SE Portland. We didn’t live anywhere nearby, but my mom often made the trip to stock up so that I could have a lunch that made me happy (5th grade was a particularly hard year for me).

oats, walnuts, nutmeg and kosher salt

I’ve been out of granola for a couple of weeks (I finished the peanut butter banana batch right around Halloween). It hasn’t been a great hardship, as there were still bowls of oatmeal, scrambled eggs, or slices of peanut butter toast to be had in the morning. But there was a space on the shelf where a jar of granola could go, and with that craving still whispering in my ear, I decided to make a batch.

extra virgin olive oil

I did not reinvent the wheel with this granola. Instead, reached for my cookbook and opened it to the recipe for Maple Pecan Granola (I’m a little bit embarrassed by how often I reach for the book I wrote to refresh my memory of certain recipes. You’d think I’d know them all by heart but I most certainly do not).

grade b maple syrup

That recipe uses melted butter, pecans and dried blueberries for a super rich granola that tastes much like a good, crispy oatmeal cookie. I didn’t want something quite so rich and I didn’t have any pecans in the freezer (the best place in the world for nut storage) and so opted to use olive oil in place of the butter, swapped in walnuts, and skipped the blueberries entirely.

granola ready for the oven

As this batch of granola baked (I did this one at very low heat for a long while – a tip I’ve gleaned from Megan Gordon and the writing she’s done about her granola company, Marge), the apartment filled with the most glorious smell of toasting nuts and warm maple syrup. It was the aromatic embodiment of cozy productivity.

finished granola

One of the things I’ve still not quite gotten used to about my job as a blogger, teacher and author is the fact that I have a very distinct busy season. Things pick up for me around April and they don’t slow down much until the beginning of November. By the time we hit this time of year, I need a break but it always takes me a couple of weeks to remember how to relax and slow down (transitions have never come easily to me). Making this granola helped remind me that it’s okay slow down a little and just enjoy the scent.

granola in the jar with the lid

So now I have a lovely jar of granola, and finally am feeling a little more at ease with myself and the slightly slower days. Who knew that following a morning urge to bake granola could be so helpful!

Oh, and one more thing. You’ll notice that I’m not storing the granola in a mason jar (I know, it’s blasphemy) and instead stashed it in one of OXO’s flip lock glass canisters. I got a couple of these jars last June at Eat, Write, Retreat and they are one of my favorite things for foods that get accessed a lot. Instead of twisting off, you flip up the lever on the jar and it releases the seal. Take out the granola that you need, pop the lid back on and press the lever back down to seal the jar again. I like them a whole heck of a lot, but they were (disclosure!) free from the swag table, so I thought you should know.

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Giveaway: Duralex Picardie Tumblers from Mightynest

Duralex stack down

We all know that canning jars are good for so much more than canning. You can store dry goods in them, use them to tote leftovers to work for lunch, and even drink out of them. They make it easy to transition from plastic food storage to glass because they’re relatively inexpensive and readily available. I’ve certainly used my mason jars for nearly everything under the sun and value them beyond measure for their wide utility and food safe qualities.

Duralex Picardie packaging

Thing is, in recent years I’ve learned that it can be hard on canning jars to constantly employ them for everyday use and then turn around and can in them. That’s because when you eat out of jars and bang them around, it can weaken them and eventually lead to breakage in the canning pot.

I’ve actually started to save my jars for canning and (gasp!) use food storage containers and drinking glasses for their intended purposes (though I do have a selection of jars that are designated for drinking and leftover storage only).

Duralex logo

However, for those of us canners who prize mason jars for their sturdiness as drinkware, where do you go when you want glassware that’s just as hardy? For me, the answer is Duralex. I became obsessed with the iconic Duralex Picardie glass about five years ago and since then have built up a sizable collection of tumblers in graduating sizes.

homemade latte in Duralex

For a brief period, they went out of production and I became something of a Duralex stockpiler. Happily, they’re available again and I couldn’t be more pleased. Made of tempered glass, they can be used to serve both hot and cold drinks and they’re nearly impossible to break (an excellent feature for when my nephew is visiting. The smaller tumblers are also just the right size for his little hands). Truth be told, I love them nearly as much as my canning jars.

three sizes of Duralex

The nice people over at Mightynest heard about my crazy devotion to these Duralex Picardie tumblers and suggested we team up on a giveaway. And so today I’m delighted to be giving away a collection of Picardie tumblers to one lucky Food in Jars reader. The winner will receive six 5.75 ounce glasses, six 10.5 ounce glasses, and six 17 ounce glasses.

This giveaway is open to US residents only (glass is pricy to ship) and entries can only be accepted via the Rafflecopter form below.

Local Kitchen, Autumn Makes and Does, The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking, and Tasty Yummies are hosting Duralex giveaways this week thanks to Mighty Next. Enter them all!

For more ideas on how to add more glass to your kitchen, check out Mightynest’s Pinterest board featuring glass pitchers, glassware, and food storage products.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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My Imaginary Menu: Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving cookbooks

Thanksgiving is approaching and Scott and I are attending two celebrations this year. We’ll will be spending the actual holiday with his mom down in Virginia and then on Saturday, we’ll gather with my family back up here in Philadelphia.

Because I’m not hosting either meal, I don’t get to have much of a say in the menu beyond bringing my assigned potluck items (pie and potatoes). And so, to satisfy my urge to sift through cookbooks and choose a selection of harvest-y dishes, I bring you my imaginary menu, Thanksgiving style (you last saw me do this last spring in anticipation of Passover).

lentil pate and semolina cracker sheets

To start out, I’d make a batch of the Lentil Pate from Kim O’Donnel’s fabulous book, The Meat Lover’s Meatless Celebrations. I made it last year for a story on Table Matters and it was seriously amazing. For dipping, I’d bake up a batch of the Semolina Cracker Sheets from Ivy Manning’s Crackers & Dips. I’d put out a few jars of pickles and preserves, along with a log of chevre and call the appetizers done.

pumpkin cozy rolls

Before we get any further, I must make it clear that the turkey is assumed. I haven’t selected a recipe for it because I’ve spent many a year roasting turkeys with my dad and so it’s one of those dishes that is ingrained in my muscle memory.

With the turkey taken care of, I’d bake off a batch of the Pumpkin Cozy Rolls from Tara Matazara Desmond’s fantastic new book, Choosing Sides. A great number of my recipe selections are from this book, so prepare yourself to see it a lot in this post.

caramelized onion and roasted garlic herb stuffing

No turkey centered meal is complete without some kind of stuffing. I love it when it’s cooked inside the bird, but know that it’s a method that gives food safety folks the shakes. Whether cooked inside or out, I think this Caramelized Onion and Roasted Garlic Herb Stuffing sounds like a winner.

arugula with sugar cranberries and pancetta

I’m a big believer in having lots of lighter vegetables on the Thanksgiving table and so some sort of salad is a must. I’m something of a fool for arugula and so think that Arugula with Sugar Cranberries and Pancetta from Choosing Sides sounds like just the thing. If was cooking for my Jewish family, I’d skip the pancetta and sub in some toasted nuts instead.

green beans with smoky pistachio dust

Buttered green beans topped with slivered almonds are a Thanksgiving requirement in my family, but if they allowed me to tweak things ever so slightly, I’d do so by making these Green Beans with Smoky Pistachio Dush from Cheryl Sternman Rule’s Ripe instead.

browned brussels with maple butter

For my husband, I’d do a batch of these Browned Brussels with Maple Butter from Choosing Sides. He cannot abide the green bean but loves sprouts, maple syrup, and butter. The combination would make him thankful indeed.

roasted butternut and spuds

If the table could handle just one more dish, I’d add a batch of the Roasted Butternut and Spuds from Choosing Sides. I have a casserole of mashed potatoes, winter squash and a mountain of cheese that I dearly love, but it is HEAVY. This version sounds lighter but still delicious.

pear and chocolate oat crumble

For dessert, I’m turning to Nigel Slater’s newest work, Notes from the Larder. He has such a nice way with seasonal desserts. This recipe for Pear and Chocolate Oat Crumble looks both restrained and decadent. I bet it’s perfect with a little bit of vanilla ice cream and a post-dinner mug of tea.

That wraps up my fantasy menu for the coming holiday. Now your turn. What dish do you long to make for Thanksgiving this year?

Disclosure: All the cookbooks mentioned here were promotional copies, sent to me for review. However, all opinions expressed here are mine alone. 
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November Sponsors: Cuppow, Fillmore Container, Eat Boutique, Preserving Now, and The Clay Studio

pink BNTO

It’s the beginning of practically the middle of November and that means it’s time to mention and thank the current Food in Jars sponsors. These are the companies make it possible for me to spent time testing recipes, writing tutorials, and answering canning questions.

In the top spot is Cuppow. They are the maker of the original mason jar travel mug topper and, more recently, of the BNTO. Have you seen their new multi-colored BNTOS? They are awesome!

Next up is Fillmore Container. They sell all manner of canning jars and lids, as well as a handful of books and jar accessories. They’re a family-owned business based in Lancaster, PA and they happily work with home canners and commercial producers alike. If you’re looking for unusual jars for your holiday gifts, give them a call!

Returning sponsor Eat Boutique is an online magazine and market that discovers and celebrates the best small batch foods by boutique makers. They sell specialty gift boxes and regularly host tastings and pop-up markets. We recently collaborated on a box that features a few of my favorite preserve flavors, along with a signed copy of my book. It’s the perfect gift for the preserver in your life!

I’m also happy to welcome Preserving Now back! Operated by Lyn Deardorff, Preserving Now is both a website and school dedicated to helping people expand their canning and preserving skills. If you’re in the Atlanta area, make sure to check out her schedule of upcoming classes and events!

Back for another month is The Clay Studio. This Philadelphia-based non-profit was founded in 1974 and is dedicated to affirming the importance of the ceramic arts. They work to make clay an accessible medium to a broad range of people. They sell a number of pieces in their shop that are both lovely to look at and to hold.

I am always delighted to welcome new sponsors to the site. Ads start at $75 a month. More information can be found here.

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Links: Apples, Cranberries with Hibiscus, and Winners

A lovely Sunday brunch at home.

We are smack dab in the middle of one of my favorite times of the year. I love this pocket of late fall days, when the weather is crisp, but not bone-chilling and the farmers markets are full of hearty greens and heads of cabbage. I appreciate the changing light and the earlier evenings. And I thrilled to be able to bring my basket of scarves back into rotation.

This last week was one of recovery for me. After four weeks straight of weekend classes and travel, I finally got to hunker down a little and commune with my couch. I didn’t get a whole lot accomplished, but I’m okay with that (not every week can be about forward momentum. Sometimes you need to stand still for a bit). Happily, I’m now ready to tackle the to-do list and slay the email dragon. Now, links!

Hamilton Beach SaladXpress

saladxpress winners Now for the fun stuff! Winners in the Hamilton Beach SaladXpress giveaway. Here are the eight lucky folks who are going to get one of these handy food processors to use in their own kitchens!

Congratulations to all the winners! Stay tuned, this week’s giveaway will be appearing on Wednesday instead of Monday.

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