Marinated Red Peppers with Cooking up a Story

roasted red peppers from Cooking up a Story

Photo courtesy of Cooking up a Story

Last summer when I was traveling to promote Preserving by the Pint, I filmed a few short videos with Rebecca Gerendasy from Cooking up a Story. Earlier this week, she posted the final video from that shoot. In it, I demonstrate how to prepare and preserve a few roasted red peppers.

The finished video, along with the recipe, can be found over at Cooking up a Story.

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CSA Cooking: Roasted Tomatillo and Banana Pepper Salsa

August Philly Foodworks box

My August Philly Foodworks box landed last Thursday. It contained a big bunch of beets, one naughty eggplant, a nice head of lettuce, a jewel melon, a couple red onions, 12 ounces of sweet banana peppers, a pound of tomatillos, a pint of cherry tomatoes, and a few gorgeous heirloom tomatoes.

peppers tomatillos

I first turned my attention to the peppers and tomatillos. My summer thus far has been entirely bereft of fresh salsa and I felt that it was time to change that.

veg after roasting

I have found that you can make consistently delicious salsas without a recipe by throwing a combination of peppers, tomatillos or tomatoes, onion, and garlic into a baking pan, roasting them at high heat (400 to 450 degrees F works pretty well) until you get some nice char and then throwing it all in a blender with some salt and lime juice.

roasted veg in blender

This version was 12 ounces of banana peppers, a pound tomatillos, five cloves of garlic, the juice of one lime, and a very generous pinch of kosher salt. Had there been some cilantro in the crisper drawer, I would have thrown that in, but sadly there was none. Once roasted, I did let everything cool down until handleable, so that I could pluck the heat-loosened skins off the peppers.

roasted and pureed veg

Once pureed, this salsa is an amazing meal starter. Sure, you can dip chips in it and call it done. However, you could also plunk a couple pounds of chicken thighs in a saucepan, cover them with the salsa, braise them until tender, and shred them with forks. You could also use it as an enchilada sauce. Or make yourself a veggie-laden quesadilla and smother them with your tomatillo salsa. So many options!

one pint of salsa

Oh, and just to make it clear, this salsa isn’t designed to be canned in a boiling water bath canner. My batch made a single pint jar, which we’ll use up around here in no time. If you want to make a shelf stable tomatillo salsa, there are recipes in both my cookbooks!

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Spiced Nectarine Jam

nectarines in a bowl

Earlier in the summer, the folks from the Washington State Fruit Commission sent me a glorious box of sweet cherries as part of their canbassador program. In the past, I’ve only gotten a single shipment from them and so I thought that was it for this summer. However, a few weeks ago, they got in touch saying I should expect a shipment of peaches and nectarines.

The box arrived last Tuesday and immediately filled the apartment with the fragrance of ripening summer stonefruit. So far, I’ve made a spicy peach dipping sauce (think homemade ketchup, made with peaches instead of tomatoes), a small batch of oven roasted fruit, and a batch of this spiced nectarine jam.

I’ll tell you more about the other two tomorrow and Thursday, but since I happen to be teaching this particular recipe tonight, it seemed only right to share it today.

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Four Cookbooks I’ve Been Enjoying This Summer

four cookbooks July 2015

I’ve fallen very behind in sharing some of the terrific new cookbooks that I’ve liked recently. In an attempt to get some of them off my desk and into the blog, I’m going to post them in groups. This first group consists of four books that I think are useful, interesting, and delicious.

Steeped by Annelies Zijderveld – This slender volume contains recipes designed to help you see tea as more than something to drink hot or iced. Annelies was in Philly back in the spring and I saw her give a presentation about this book and it started my brain buzzing about all the ways to use tea to add flavor. I’ve made her Lapsang Souchong salt and love using it to add smokey flavor to tomato salads.

Summer Cocktails by Maria Del Mar Sacasa – The title might lead you to believe that this book starts and ends with liquid refreshment, but that’s not true. Sure, it’s got plenty to offer in the beverage department, but it also contains frozen treats, pickles, and even a recipe for fried chicken. A more descriptive title might have been, A Love Letter to Summer.

Yogurt Culture by Cheryl Sternman Rule – This genius book will make you deeply hungry. Cheryl spent years researching and experiencing the ways in which yogurt is made, used, and eaten all over the world, and then brought all that knowledge together. She shows that there is no time of day when yogurt is not an appropriate thing to eat. So complete is her excitement for yogurt that this book could not fully contain it. Find her continuing yogurt passion over at Team Yogurt.

Rose Water and Orange Blossoms by Maureen Abood – This deeply personal book features the food of Maureen’s Lebanese family. There are spreads, salads, vegetable-heavy main dishes, pastries, and a most glorious selection of pickles and sweet preserves. Nearly every other page of my copy is marked with sticky notes and if I didn’t have to head out soon to teach a class, I would be making her Garlicky Lentil Soup with Swiss Chard and Lemon (page 136) for dinner tonight.

What have you been cooking out of this summer?

Disclosure: All four of these books were received as review copies. However, I still mean every word I said! 

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Giveaway: Fante’s Fruit Ripener Bowl

ripener bowl with fruit

My grandma Bunny died more than 20 years ago, but my memory still holds a detailed image of her kitchen. The sink was under the windows on the left side of the room. The stove and wall oven were in the rear corner. And on the passthrough counter to the right of the entrance was where the covered plastic fruit bowl sat.

empty fruit ripener

In summer, the bowl would hold ripening peaches or apricots. In winter, persimmons would be tucked under the domed lid. Just about any time of year, a few Meyer lemons from her backyard would join the rest of the fruit. Often, there’s also be a honeydew melon perched nearby (they so rarely

bottom of fruit ripener

Recently, I got an email from the nice folks at Fante’s (a fabulous, family-owned kitchenwares store here in Philadelphia) asking if I might be interested in trying out their fruit ripening bowl. One look and I realized that it was just like the bowl that Bunny had used. I was sold before I even had a bowl in my hands.

angled fruit in bowl

The way it works is that the bowl helps retain and circulate the water vapor, ethylene gas, and carbon dioxide that the ripening fruit naturally release, helping improve and speed ripening. I’ve used it on several batches of fruit since having it in my kitchen and fine it particularly useful for softening rock hard avocados (tucking a banana in the bowl helps).

I have three of these handy bowls to give away this week. Here’s how to enter.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and share how you’d use the Fante’s Fruit Ripener.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm east coast time on Saturday, August 15, 2015. The winner will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, August 16, 2015.
  3. Giveaway is open to US residents only (and is void where prohibited).
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left on the blog, I cannot accept submissions via email.

Disclosure: Fante’s provided the fruit ripening bowl you see pictured here at no cost to me and are also providing the giveaway units. No additional payment has been provided and all opinions expressed are my own. 

Monday Morning Odds and Ends

Maine blueberries

This weekend was an exercise in extremes for me. I spent all of Saturday engaged in the intensity of teaching. This activity took place in the classroom at the US Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C., where I set up for two classes (wrangling 25 pounds of cooked beets and 50 pounds of raw carrots), taught for four hours, and then cleaned and packed up again.

Sunday, in comparison, was blessedly slow. We slept late, made pancakes, visited Scott’s mom, and took ourselves out for dinner. I also snuck away for an hour to take a walk with a dear friend. It was good.

I didn’t get a links and winners post up last night because somehow, I didn’t manage to collect any links last week (it’s rare, but does occasionally happen). So instead, I thought I’d drop in with a few updates and those Anolon Vesta braiser winners this morning. Here are the updates, in convenient list form.

  • I’m teaching a class in Carlisle, PA Tuesday evening. If you’re out that way, it’s still not too late to register. The class is from 6:30 – 8:30 pm and costs $15. Contact Deb Yorlets at 717-574-2217 to sign up.
  • There is still space in my Omega Institute (in Rhinebeck, NY) workshop at the end of the month. It’s August 28-30 and will be an immersive weekend of food preservation. If you want to join me, you can find all the details here.
  • My friend Joy and I launched a new podcast last week. Called Local Mouthful, it’s a half hour show devoted to food in Philadelphia and beyond. In the first episode, we talked about turkey burgers, Joy’s Dry July, and homemade pizza. You can listen here and subscribe here.
  • I’m going to be in Spokane August 20-23, hanging out with my husband as he attends Sasquan. I was thinking about trying to organize a canning meet-up while I’m in town. If you live in the Spokane region and would be interested in such a thing, leave a comment!

anolon braiser side

The winners of the Anolon Vesta 5-Quart Cast Iron Braiser are #79/Joy and #694/Alyson. Congratulations, ladies! To all of you who didn’t win, I will have another giveaway up later today, so stay tuned for that.

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