Cookbooks: Wild Drinks and Cocktails by Emily Han

Wild Drinks and Cocktails - Food in Jars

When I was very young, my family lived in Los Angeles. There weren’t any kids my age on our block, and so I spent a lot of time on my own, exploring our multi-leveled backyard. I’d gather twigs, unripe plums, leaves from the jade plants, and a bark from the towering eucalyptus, heap them in a little plastic bucket, and steep them in water from the hose. I’d offer my “tea” to my mom, claiming it could cure whatever ailed her.

Wild Drinks Rose Water - Food in Jars

Fast-forward 30 years, and Emily Han and her new book, Wild Drinks and Cocktails, are here to teach us all that with a little bit of knowledge, there is much to be found in the natural world (both in LA and elsewhere) to be turned into a vast array of infusions, syrups, squashes (her creations are superior to my childhood concoctions in every way).

Wild Drinks Citrus Squash - Food in Jars

The book is divided into seven chapters. It starts with an introduction to wildcrafting, and offers insight into being a responsible and safe collector of roots, berries, seeds, nuts, and flowers. That section also includes useful information on how to process, preserve, and protect the things you gather.

Wild Drinks Claret Cup - Food in Jars

From there, the book proceeds into the recipes. In Chapter 2, you’ll find the Teas, Juices, and Lemonades (I’ve got Emily’s recipe for Meyer Lemon and Bay Leaf Syrup marked for my annual meyer lemon extravaganza). Chapter 3 is devoted to Syrups, Squash, and Cordials (Rose Hip Whiskey Smash on page 65!).

In Chapter 4, Emily digs into Oxymels, Shrubs, and Switchels. The unifying force of this section is the balance of sweet and tart, and these recipes are for everyone who wants to start using their collection of exotic vinegars.

Grapefruit and Sage Water Kefir - Food in Jars

All of the Infusions, Bitters, and Liqueurs are in Chapter 5. There’s so much in this section that I want to make, but I think I’m going to start with the Winter Gin on page 115 (the thought occurs that it would make a mighty fine holiday gift for a certain subset of my friends and family).

Chapter 6 is all about Wines and Punches. As the weather cools, there’s nothing like a fortifying mug of Mulled Wine (page 157). And finally arrives Chapter 7, with it’s Fizzy Fermentations (yes, please!). Once my travel schedule quiets down again, I’m going to try to start my own Ginger Bug Soda Starter (page 162).

Wild Drinks and Cocktails Back - Food in Jars

Emily has kindly allowed me to reprint her recipe for Classic Switchel and you’ll find it after the jump. It combines molasses, apple cider vinegar, ginger, and water for a bracing tonic. I like to dilute a little in a mug of hot water when I feel under the weather, but it can also be combined with cold water, fizzy water, or used in a cocktail. It’s a most versatile creation.

Oh, and one last thing. I’ve got one copy of this book to give away. Here’s how to enter.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and share a favorite homemade drink.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Saturday, November 14, 2015. Winners will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, November 15, 2015.
  3. Giveaway open to United States residents only. 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: Fair Winds Press sent me a copy of this book for review purposes, and is also providing the giveaway unit, both at no cost to me. All opinions remain my own. It’s a good book.  

For more about Wild Drinks and Cocktails, as well as her classes, follow Emily Han on social media.

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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Giveaway: The Optimist Make Your Own Cleaning Products Kit

The Optimist kit front

The holiday season is just moments away, and with it comes visiting family, parties and gatherings, and lots of extra clean-up. Our friends at The Optimist Co. are sponsoring the giveaway this week, to help us all breeze through this season of messy togetherness easily, and without a toxin in sight.

contents of The Optimist kit

Devin Donaldson founded The Optimist Co. after conventional cleaning products left her with a nasty asthma attack. Her products are simple, effective, and non-toxic (all made with simple ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen) and will help you keep your home spotless without compromising your health or the planet.

The Optimist Bright Side

My favorite product from The Optimist Co. is their Make Your Own Cleaning Products Kit (for the right person, it could be an excellent holiday gift!). This six-piece kit includes two spray bottles, a small bottle of concentrated soap, and three small bottles of essential oils.

GreenYourHomeSet

The bottles have recipes on the side so that you can create a cleaning and shining sprays. There are suggestions for scenting them, but you can also devise your own essential oil formula. Oh, and if you’re not into making the products yourself, the Green Your Home set comes with everything ready made and ready to go!

The Optimist Rosemary Mint

The Optimist Co. recently added a new scent to their line-up. While it’s not part of the MYO kit, a bottle of the Time to Shine cleaner with Rosemary and Mint is a winner for every stinky mess.

Thanks to Devin and her team at The Optimist Co., I have three Make Your Own Cleaning Products Kit to give away this week. Here’s how to enter.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and share a favorite cleaning trick.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Saturday, November 14, 2015. Winners will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, November 15, 2015.
  3. Giveaway open to United States residents only. 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: The folks at The Optimist sent me the kit you see here for review and photography purposes at no cost to me. No additional compensation was provided. All opinions remain my own. 

Links: Pear Jam, Sweet Potato Cakes, and a Winner

apple ginger jam on the stove

It’s been a week now, and I’m still not used to the time change and the early, early darkness. I do love the coziness of dusk at 4 pm, but it sure does put a crimp in my ability to take pictures in the natural light. I’m reacquainting myself with my flash and photography light, but it’s just not the same. How are you all handling the yearly shift back?

pieces in the traveler set

Thanks to everyone who took the time to enter the Wusthof 7-Piece Traveler’s Set! The winner is #313/Jessica HZ.

The All-Clad giveaway is still live, so if you didn’t win this one, make sure to toss your hat in the ring for that!

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November Sponsors: Cuppow, Fillmore Container, Fermentools, Mrs. Wages, Hobby Hill Farm, & Mason Jar Lifestyle

Cuppow with straw

It’s the start of a new month (I’m a little behind in getting this post up, since I lost most of last week to the flu) and that means that it’s time to thank the companies that help make this site possible. As we head into the holiday season, please do think of them for your making and gifting purposes!

In the top spot, we’ve got Cuppow! They are the creator of the original mason jar travel mug topper and the BNTO, a small plastic cup that transforms a canning jar into a snack or lunch box. If you’re looking for inspiration for your holiday giving, some of the Cuppow staffers are publishing gift guides. First up is Greg’s. I join him in coveting that mini Vitamix!

Fillmore Container is a family-owned business based in Lancaster, PA and sells all manner of canning jars, lids, and other preservation gear. They also publish a blog that is a very useful resource for canners. Check back here on Thursday for a giveaway from the folks at Fillmore.

Mrs. Wages makes pectin, vinegar, and more canning mixes than I can count. Their website is an incredible preserving resource and I can’t say enough good things about their salsa mixSign up for their newsletter for monthly installments of canning goodness.

Fermentools offers a brilliant fermentation starter kit that involves a heavy-duty glass pickling weight, an airlock, a lid with a reusable rubber seal, and mineral-rich salt. Get one (or several!) to help turn your CSA goodies into naturally fermented pickles.

Hobby Hill Farm is back for another month. Based in Powhatan, Virginia, they sell locally made jams and preserves, homemade pretzels, candies, and cheese making kits. What’s more, if you’re in the area, owner Sharon regularly teaches cheese making classes around central Virginia. I have a fun giveaway from Hobby Hill Farm coming soon, so keep your eyes peeled for that!

Mason Jar Lifestyle is a one-stop shopping site for all the jar lovers out there! They’ve got silicone drink lids, fruit infusers, silicone jar seals (great for those times when you want to ensure that your jars aren’t going to leak), copper regular mouth lids (fun for gifts!), and even pin cushion toppers.

If your company or small business is interested in becoming a sponsor, you can find more details here. I offer discounts for multiple month purchases and am always happy to work with your budget.

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Preserves in Action: Black-eyed Pea, Tuna, and Pickle Salad

finished salad on marble - Food in Jars

Most days, my lunch is not particularly photo-worthy (despite the evidence presented on Instagram). Most of the time, I eat whatever leftover is closest to the front of the fridge and hasn’t been earmarked for that evening’s meal (at least once a week, I make dinner with the intention that it will last two nights). Occasionally though, I’m inspired to make something a little more elegant than reheated quinoa and roast vegetables.

salad pickles - Food in Jars

This salad was born on one of those days when there happened to be a dearth of leftovers AND I felt moved to use what I had rather than run across the street for take-out. A true alignment of the stars! It was a quick thing, made up of a can of tuna, another one of black-eyes peas, several generous spoonfuls of pickled chard stems, a chopped celery rib (with the leaves), and a liberal application of salt, pepper, and olive oil.

Safe Catch Tuna - Food in Jars

What made the salad special was the ease with which it came together and the fact that the ingredients were so good. I used a can of Safe Catch Tuna that landed in my mailbox some months ago, and it was some of the best canned tuna I’ve ever eaten. It was chunky and flavorful, and had the added benefit of being line caught and tested for mercury levels.

tuna and black eyed pea salad - Food in Jars

The pickles also made it particularly good. I used some of these chard stem pickles, but if you have any of my salad pickles tucked away in a cabinet, they’d also be a good choice. Save either of those, if you are willing to do a bit of dicing, my open jar of pickles you have in the fridge will work. Make sure to tip a generous glug of the brine into the salad for added zip.

finished salad - Food in Jars

The finished salad made enough for two days of lunching and I’ve stocked my pantry so I can make another bowlful soon.

How are you putting your preserves to work these days?

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All-Clad NS1 Nonstick Induction Chef’s Pan + Kabocha Squash, Coconut, and Wild Rice Stew

finished all-clad dish - Food in Jars

About a month ago, I got an email asking if I might want to participate in a blogger promotion that All-Clad was running in order to spread the word about their new line of NS1 Nonstick Induction cookware. They would send me the NS1 Chef’s Pan so that I could play with it, develop a dish in it, and then share both my thoughts and the recipe with my readers. Of course I said yes. Who says no to All-Clad?

All-Clad pot - Food in Jars

This line of All-Clad is made from anodized aluminum, has a sturdy three-layer PFOA-free nonstick interior, and is induction-compatible thanks to steel base that also helps prevent warping. The chef’s pan has high sides and broad cooking surface that makes it great for simmering, sautéing, and steaming. Currently, the NS1 Nonstick Induction line is available exclusively at Williams-Sonoma and the pan they sent me sells for $99.95.

All-Clad handle - Food in Jars

In the month that I’ve had it, the NS1 chef’s pan has become my favorite for wilting and braising greens (something I do A LOT in the winter), because it has a bit more vertical real estate than a frying pan, and the tight-fitting lid keeps the moisture in the pan. I also like it for one of my favorite weird breakfasts – sauteed cabbage with a couple of eggs scrambled in once the cabbage wilts and browns (a simple version of the dish Joy explains here).

interior of All-Clad pot - Food in Jars

The nonstick surface has proved itself to be among the most sturdy and easy to clean that I’ve tried in my cooking career, It still looks pristine after a month of regular use. I haven’t taken particular care to baby it, either. I wash it and set it in my dish drainer, same as all my other cookware (this pan is dishwasher safe, but it just doesn’t seem necessary, given how easily it cleans up with a quick swipe of the sponge).

greens and squash cubes - Food in Jars

Now, let’s chat about the dish I created. It’s a stew of kabocha squash (though any sweet, dense winter squash would do), braised greens (a combination of kale and baby spinach), wild rice, red lentils, and coconut milk. It’s loosely based on a recipe in Liana Krisoff’s brillian book Whole Grains for a New Generation, and is delicious, filling, and entirely vegan.

All-Clad dish close - Food in Jars

I love making easy stews like this one in this chef’s pan, because the flared shape helps the moisture evaporate out, concentrating the flavors in the pan. It also has plenty of room for the eight cups of chopped greens that finishes the dish.

Thanks to the kind folks at All-Clad, I have one of these All-Clad NS1 Nonstick Induction Chef’s Pan to give away. Here’s how to enter.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me what you’d cook in this pan.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Saturday, November 14, 2015. Winners will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, November 15, 2015.
  3. Giveaway open to United States residents only. 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: All-Clad sent me the pan you see pictured above and they’re provided the giveaway unit, both at no cost to me. No additional compensation was provided.

For more about these fabulous pans, follow All-Clad and Williams-Sonoma on social media!
All-Clad: Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram
Williams-Sonoma: Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram

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