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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The Agricola Cookbook and a Kimchi Recipe

finished kimchi - Food in Jars

I am a relative newcomer to kimchi. It wasn’t part of my family’s pickle culture (we leaned Jewish and Japanese) when I was growing up and I don’t think I had even so much as a taste of it until college. After that first bite, spent about a decade feeling kimchi-neutral. I’d eat a bite or two at Korean restaurants, but it wasn’t something I sought out.

Agricola - Food in Jars

Then something shifted. I became someone who always had a jar of kimchi (whether homemade or store bought) in the fridge. These days, I eat it with eggs, layered into quesadillas, on top of avocado toast, or even just out of the jar when nothing else appeals. It is one of my favorite ways to add flavor and texture to just about everything.

kimchi recipe - Food in Jars

Over the years, I’ve tried a number of different recipes for kimchi, and oddly, the proportions for my favorite version don’t come from a specialized fermentation book or one devoted to Korean cuisine. Instead, the foundational recipe comes from the Agricola Cookbook, a book born from a farm and restaurant in the Princeton, NJ area.

napa cabbage - Food in Jars

The essentials of basic kimchi (and what I mean by basic is that this is the kimchi most commonly found in the US) are the same. They are napa cabbage, daikon, green onion, garlic, ginger, salt, and chile powder. Some recipes have you add rice flour (for thickening the spice paste), shrimp paste or fish sauce (to increase the funky umami), apple or asian pear (for sweetness), or carrot (for more crunch and color).

salted napa cabbage - Food in Jars

For my uses, I find that the simpler approach is best. The most exotic ingredient you’ll find in my batch is the Korean chili powder called gochugaru that gives kimchi its trademark color and spice. You can get it at most large Asian grocery stores, though I typically buy it a pound at a time from Amazon.

kimchi close - Food in Jars

The process takes about a week. I start by salting the cabbage and letting it rest overnight. The next day, I rinse and drain it, add the julienned daikon (made using one of these peelers), and lengths of green onion. I make a spice paste with garlic, ginger, and sugar, add the gochugaru and then rub it into the vegetables. Then I pack it into a jar or crock where it can ferment for five or six days. When it’s done, I transfer it into a jar for the fridge and start eating down the batch. Easy and delicious.

I’ll be taking some of this kimchi with me to the next Philly Food Swap. It’s on Monday, November 9 and there are still spots available, if you want to join us!

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Cookbooks: My Pantry, Brew Better Beer, Homemade Vegan Pantry

three book stack - Food in Jars

I have been gazing at this particular stack of three books for at least a month now. I set them on the edge of my desk sometime in early October, thinking that they made a nice little collection, and then got lost in a hurry and busy of life. Read nothing into my delay, all three of these books are worthy contenders for your eyeballs and wish lists.

cover of My Pantry by Alice Waters

Alice Waters is a woman who needs no introduction. As the founder of Chez Panisse and the author of many, many cookbooks, her influence on our culture’s understanding of food has been vast.

My Pantry is her newest volume and is relatively slim in comparison to some of her earlier works. However, as someone who takes great pleasure from making my own pantry staples, I am entirely charmed by this book. It is a trip through Alice’s favorite homemade condiments, simple soups, preserved meats, sweet preserves, and simple cheeses. It’s like a peek into her fridge and cupboards, and there’s much here that I’ve bookmarked for future days of making.

cover of Brew Better Beer by Emma Christensen

I’ve never brewed beer. There are a couple things that have stopped me from trying my hand at it. First is the issue of storage (I’m already at capacity with my preserving habit). Second is the fact that my body hates it when I drink more than a few sips and tortures me with headaches if I venture beyond my paltry tolerance.

And yet, despite all that, thanks to Emma Christensen’s Brew Better Beer, I still want to give it a shot someday (I’ll just have to give most of it away, which should make me very popular with my neighbors). Her instructions are clear, the flavor combinations are hugely appealing, and I so appreciate the fact that the recipes are scaled so that you can brew your batches in either 1 or 5 gallons. If you have a burgeoning home brew enthusiast on your list this holiday season, you should get them this book.

cover of Homemade Vegan Pantry by Miyoko Schinner

In a sea of books devoted to making pantry staples from scratch, Miyoko Schinner’s Homemade Vegan Pantry, is unique for its plant-based approach. I know several vegans who have already come to depend on this volume for the nut-based cheeses.

However, don’t think you should skip this book if you take a more omnivorous approach to your diet. There is still plenty here for you. The soup concentrates (tomato! mushroom! cream of broccoli!) alone earn this book a spot on my shelf. The crackers are pretty special as well. And I’m really curious about the flax seed meringues!

Are there any cookbooks that you guys have been enjoying lately?

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