Giveaway: Cuppow Lids and BNTO Adaptors

New BNTO Colors - Food in Jars

Our friends over at Cuppow have been really busy lately. Not only have they added more colors to their line-ups of Cuppow drink lids and BNTO jar lunchbox adaptors, they’ve added the most beautifully packaged laundry powder from The Simply Co. to their shop that I’ve ever seen (it comes in a sturdy, reusable 32 ounce jar!).

New Cuppow Colors - Food in Jars

In case you’re unfamiliar with Cuppow, they are the makers of the original mason jar drink lid adaptor and the inventor of the BNTO, which allows you to transform a mason jar into a two-part food storage (great for picnics and snacks on the go). Whenever I know that I’m going to be away from home for most of the day, I tuck some cut fruit into a jar and pop a BNTO in on top and pour some nuts into it. Nothing better to prevent lousy snacking that being prepared!

BNTO Angle - Food in Jars

The nice folks at Cuppow just sent me a box of their drink lids and BNTOs so that I can share them with you guys. There will be six winners in this giveaway, and each winner will get a Cuppow lid and BNTO. I’ll do my best to make sure everyone gets their preferred colors, but that sort of thing isn’t always possible.

Here’s how to enter.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me how you’d put a Cuppow lid or BNTO into action in your life.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Saturday, March 5, 2016. A winner will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, March 6, 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: Cuppow is a Food in Jars sponsor and is providing these giveaway units at no cost to me. However, all opinions expressed here are entirely my own. 

Other People’s Preserves: Lehigh Biltong

Lehigh Bilton - Food in Jars

Other People’s Preserve is my opportunity to shine a spotlight on some of the very delicious jams, pickles, and preserved foods being made by some of the many dedicated professionals out there. If you see one of these products out in the wild, consider picking up a jar, tub, or bottle!

Most of you are probably familiar with jerky, but biltong may be a new one to you. It’s a South African method of drying meat for long term preservation. The meat is seasoned with salt, pepper, vinegar, and coriander and then hung to dry for several days, until it is dry but still pliable.

Biltong Bag - Food in Jars

I recently had the change to try the biltong made by a Pennsylvania company called Lehigh Biltong. It’s fresher tasting, more pleasant to eat than any jerky I’ve ever tried, and makes for a convenient, protein-packed snack. If you’re on a paleo diet or just trying to shift your snacking habits, it’s a really terrific option.

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Oatmeal Fruit Muffins from the Healthy Fats, Low-Cholesterol Cookbook

Oatmeal Fruit Muffins in tin - Food in Jars

So far in 2016, the culinary theme in my household has been comfort. Between the brutal cold and my mother-in-law’s declining health, we’ve all been turning to food for solace and support. This doesn’t mean that we’ve engaged in unchecked gluttony, but I’ve certainly done more baking and melting of cheese than is typical for an average February.

American Heart Association Cookbook - Food in Jars

Earlier this week, in searching for a balance between treat and nutrition, I cracked open the copy of the American Heart Association’s Healthy Fats, Low-Cholesterol Cookbook that arrived early in January. As I was thumbing through the pages, the recipe for Oatmeal-Fruit Muffins caught my eye.

Made with rolled oats, white whole wheat flour, wheat germ, applesauce, and dried fruit (among other things), they struck me as a sweet treat that would offer both comfort and enough satiating fiber to leave one contented and not in danger of eating the whole pan.

Oatmeal Fruit Muffins cooling rack - Food in Jars

They are also blessedly quick to make. No more than 30 minutes passed from the time I stood up to make them to the moment I was sliding the pan out of the oven. They also filled the apartment with a gorgeous scent, which I find offers nearly as much solace as the actual eating.

I will confess that I made a few changes to the recipe. I used an egg in place of the egg replacer, measured 2% rather than skim milk, and opted for dried cherries rather than suggested figs (I didn’t feel like dirtying a knife and cutting board to dice the dried figs I have).

They do turn a bit rubbery once they’re more than a day old, but a quick turn in the toaster oven or under the broiler revives these muffins nicely.

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Single Skillet Pasta in Viking’s Stainless Steel Casserole Pan

Finished Skillet Dish Viking - Food in Jars

I’ve been cooking dinner on a near-nightly basis for the better part of the last two decades and over that time, I’ve come to understand a few essential things about myself. The most primary is that at my core, I’m a lazy cook. I’m not trading quality over convenience, but I am always making choices that I hope will make life just a little bit easier.

Viking Stainless Steel Casserole - Food in Jars

My inclination to reduce dishes and avoid unnecessary steps means that whenever possible, I opt for soups, stews, and other dishes that only require a single vessel. I will often cram things into a single pan when they might have been better off cooked separately. And any recipe that requires browning in batches is summarily discarded.

Skillet Pasta Ingredients - Food in Jars

Last month, a piece of cookware came into my life that has both encouraged my lazy ways and upped my nightly game. It’s a stainless steel casserole that holds just over six quarts. It is sturdy, has a low, wide profile that makes for quick evaporation, comes with a tight-fitting lid, cleans up beautifully, and it made by Viking (until they reached out about this pan, I didn’t realize they did more than large kitchen appliances). It’s the Viking 3-Ply 6.4 Quart Casserole Pan.

Sautéed Veg - Food in Jars

This pan has been on my stove top on a near-constant basis since it arrived. I’ve made a number of skillet chicken dishes in it (brown chicken in a single batch. Remove. Add onions and veg and cook until wilted. Return the chicken, add a little liquid, cover and braise until the chicken is cooked through). I’ve used it for pancakes, turkey bacon, and a large batch of eggs poached in tomato sauce.

Fire Roasted Tomatoes - Food in Jars

However, I think that the very highest calling for this pan is this skillet pasta dish. The original inspiration for this recipe is the single skillet pasta recipe from Martha Stewart that took the internet by storm a few years ago. This one isn’t quite as simple as just heaping all the ingredients in a pan and heating for nine minutes, but it’s pretty darn close.

Skillet Dish Without Pasta - Food in Jars

You start by heating a couple tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat. When it shimmers, add some chopped onion, garlic, red pepper, and kale and cook until all the veg is tender. Then you add some cubed chicken sausage (I used some that was already cooked through), a cup of liquid (white wine, chicken stock, or water) and a couple cans (or jars, if your pantry runs to such things) of fire roasted tomatoes and get it bubbling.

Adding Pasta - Food in Jars

Then you add eight ounces of uncooked pasta. I used whole wheat elbows, but any short cut variety you have in the pantry does the job. Cover the pan and cook until the pasta is tender. It will absorb the liquid in the pan, making for flavorful pasta and less clean-up for the cook.

Finished Skillet Pasta - Food in Jars

I’ve written the instructions out in an organized fashion for you, but this is more of a technique than a recipe that must be followed to the letter. You could do a version with braised fennel bulb and a pound of pork fennel sausage. A batch with artichoke would also be nice. The options are endless!

What would you make in a Viking casserole like this one?

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Upcoming Events – Eating Words! Greensgrow Farm! Local Mouthful Potluck!

a potluck plate

Hello friends! I took a look at my calendar today and realized that I have a few events coming up that I’ve neglected to tell you about. If you’re in the Philly area and feel the need to get out, talk to people, take a class or join me at a potluck, I’ve got a few options for you!

February 27 – I’m speaking on a panel at Eating Words: Philadelphia. It’s a one-day food writing conference put on by Edible Philly and hosted by the Culinary Literacy Center at the Free Library of Philadelphia. The conference runs from 9 am to 4 pm and costs $85 to participate.  The full schedule and to register.

March 19 – An introduction to preserving with natural sweeteners at Greensgrow Farm in Philadelphia. This hands on class is from 12 noon to 2 pm and all participants will go home with a small jar of jam made in class. More details and registration info.

March 20 – The first Local Mouthful Cookbook Club potluck! We’re inviting local listeners to cook a dish from one of the cookbooks we’ve featured so far this year (Lucky Peach’s 101 Easy Asian Recipes, The New Persian Kitchen, or The Indian Family Table). More info soon about time and location of the potluck.

I’ve also got my full schedule (at least as it stands right now) for April and May up on my classes and events page right now (June, July, and August coming soon). I’ll be all up and down the west coast in April, so check it out and mark your calendars.

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Cookbooks: Brodo

Brodo spine - Food in Jars

If you follow food trends of any stripe these days, you may have heard people talking about the many wonders of bone broth. When Joy and I went to the Natural Foods Expo last fall, we spotted several companies selling versions designed for sipping (though I tend to be skeptical of such things, I must say that Noma Lim was quite delicious).

I recently got a pitch for a kit hoping to make homemade bone broth even easier (though truly, it’s not that hard even without a kit and it’s far more affordable). And there has been a steady stream of books trying to help guide you towards doing it yourself.

Brody cover - Food in Jars

For those of you who don’t mind flying without recipes, you don’t need anything more to make bone broth (or stock, or regular broth, or whatever else you want to call it) than a big stock pot, some meaty bones (sometimes roasted, sometimes not), vegetables, and tasty, clean water.

However, if you like to have a bit more guidance, may I suggest the book Brodo, by Marco Canora? He’s a New York-based chef who started a bone broth take-out window in his restaurant Hearth and has created a lovely, smart book on the topic of making delicious, savory broths.

Brodo add-ins - Food in Jars

One of the reasons I like this little book is that it offers so much more than just a handful of broth recipes (there are actually 15 distinct versions). It also features bowls (I have the ginger beef bowl on my meal plan for next week), soup add-ins (I need to make the Infused Coconut Milk immediately), and risotto recipes.

Brodo back - Food in Jars

Now, just one thing. As much as I’m pleased that people are returning to the act of making their own stocks and broths, I do think that there’s a danger of becoming too precious about the process once it becomes as hot and trendy as bone broth has.

It is important to use good ingredients, but remember that the act of making broth or stock was originally intended to be one of frugality and making the most of your food. Don’t think you need to break your budget in order to add it to your homemade pantry. And don’t feel like you have to be bound to a specific recipe. Work with what you have.

Oh, and don’t forget! If you’re short on freezer space and you’ve got a pressure canner, you can make your broth shelf stable!

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