Giveaway: BNTO from Cuppow

stack of BNTO

Back in July, the folks who make the Cuppow launched a new product. Called BNTO, it’s a 6 ounce plastic cup that fits snugly into a wide mouth mason jar, making it possible for you to pack a whole meal into a single jar.

It’s a handy item if you’re the type who is mildly jar obsessed (no shame in that) and likes to tote your meals to and fro while creating as little waste as possible. We use it a lot around my household for the packing of carrot sticks and hummus (one of my husband’s favorite mid-day snacks), but it’s also particularly good for yogurt and granola.

BNTOs in a box

Because we’re now smack dab in the middle of the start-of-school, pack-a-lunch season, the Cuppow team and I thought it would be fun to give away a whole bunch of BNTOs. Ten, in fact. Pretty nice of them, huh? Here’s how to enter to be one of the ten winners.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and share a favorite packed lunch memory. Did you have a favorite lunch box as a kid? Or did you leave your milk in your thermos over the weekend, only to have it explode when your mom opened it on Sunday night? (Not that I’d know anything about that!)
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm east coast time on Friday, August 30, 2013. Winners will be chosen at random (using random.org) and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, September 1, 2013.
  3. Giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left on the blog, I cannot accept submissions via email.
Disclosure: Cuppow is a sponsor of this website and has provided the ten BNTOs for this giveaway. They also sent me a few to use earlier in the year at no cost to me. However, my opinions remain my own. 

Links: Jam, Ketchup, and a Sur La Table Winner

a jar coffee table installation

Friends, I’m writing this dispatch from a hotel room in Brooklyn. Scott and I dashed up here yesterday so that I could teach a trio of classes over Saturday, Sunday and Monday at The Brooklyn Kitchen. On Tuesday, we head back to Pennsylvania for a little end of August road trip. I have a few posts that will be going up over the week while I’m away, but I’m not going to be as ever-present in the comments and over email as I often am. Please do cut me some slack and know that I’ll do my best to catch up and answer questions when I get back after Labor Day.

Progressive International canning kit and Le Parfait jars

Thanks so much to everyone to entered the Sur La Table giveaway last week. The winner is #750/Leigh. Thanks again to Sur La Table for the goodies!

Make sure to check back in tomorrow, as I’ll have another fun giveaway up for you all.

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Cookbooks: Crackers & Dips

Crackers & Dips cover

This is a book that I’ve been meaning to tell you guys about since it came out last May. Called Crackers & Dips, it’s written Portland-based food writer Ivy Manning and is a fabulous resource for anyone with an itch to bake up their own crisps, flatbreads, and crunchy crackers.

Crackers & Dips Techniques

Ivy is a friend of mine and we make a point of getting together to talk food writing shop and catch up whenever I’m back in Portland. I’ve had the opportunity to taste a variety of the crackers this book contains over the last few years and I can tell you with certainty that they universally fantastic (and are often just the thing to pair up with a dollop of jam).

Crackers & Dips Swedish Caraway Rye Crisps

This book is divided into six sections. You start with the classic cracker canon and then proceed onto recipes for crackers from around the world, whole grain and wheat-free crackers, crackers that are quick to make and bake, sweet crackers, and finally, a section featuring an array of dips and spreads. Ivy has truly left no cracker or dip stone unturned.

Crackers & Dips Rosemary Graham Crackers

As someone who dearly loves the addition of rosemary to sweet things, these graham crackers are high on my list of things I plan to make from this book. I do believe they’d pair up nicely with a jar of pear and chocolate jam and they’d make a very nice addition to a gift bag of preserves and cheeses.

Crackers & Dips Warm Olive Tapanade

 

I’m also bookmarking this recipe for warm olive tapenade. I am ALWAYS looking for ways to use my stash of preserved lemon and this spread uses a full tablespoon, which is helpful in depleting that jar.

Bottom line? If you’re looking for interesting recipes for both gift giving and entertaining, this book should be on your shelf.

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Small Batch Honey-Sweetened White Peach Jam

white peach jam

Friends, this is not exactly the recipe I promised for today. I do have a batch of peach vanilla jam in the hopper, but I missed my photography window (I spent most of the day in the kitchen clearing out all my pending canning projects) and so it will hold for another moment.

Still, there’s another recipe I’ve been meaning to share. It’s a batch of honey-sweetened white peach jam with strips of lemon zest that I made for Food52. It’s a really light, lovely preserve. The white peaches melt into the honey (choose a mellow one) and the ribbons of zest give you little bursts of tang and texture. Make sure that you don’t skimp on the lemon juice, as it helps keep this preserve safe for canning.

You can read the entirety of the blog post here and this link will take you straight to the recipe.

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Honey-Sweetened Peach Chutney

peach chutney

Every summer and fall, I try to make at least two or three batches of chutney. It’s a handy thing to have to tuck into gift bags (it helps to break up the monotony of all the jams) and it makes for a very easy potluck contribution (one log of goat cheese + a jar of chutney + baguette rounds = happy diners). Last year, I did versions with black plums and apricots. So far this year, I’ve made cherry chutney and this batch of honey-sweetened peach chutney with some of the Canbassador fruit.

peach half

Chutney is not one of the condiments I ate during my formative years, but it has grown on me in my adulthood. These days, it’s one of my refrigerator staples and on days when the leftover pickings are slim, I pull out some cheese, make a piece of toast, and grab some chutney. Works every time. Right now, I’m eating the very end of the black plum from last summer, as well as the dregs of the persimmon chutney from this project.

peach quarters

Before you start making this chutney, you should know that when it comes to removing the skin from relatively small amounts of peaches (and tomatoes, too), I’ve changed my strategy. I am no longer a fan of the blanch and chill. Instead, I cut the peaches into quarters and pull out the pits and heap them in a heatproof bowl. While I work, I bring a kettle of water to a boil.

peeling peaches

Once all the peaches are sliced, I pour the boiling water over the fruit. Let it sit for a few minutes, until you see the skins starting to wrinkle. Drain the fruit, rinse with cold tap water, and peel. It works really well and feels easier and more streamlined.

eight cups chopped peaches

The only thing I can’t stress enough is the importance of using a the heatproof bowl. One very distracted evening, I used a glass bowl that I thought was Pyrex. It was not and it shattered from the hot water. I was able to salvage some of the fruit, but it made a mess and was generally unfortunate.

chutney on the stove

Cooking times can vary a great deal with chutney. I always plan a secondary kitchen project when I have a batch going, so that I can stay close to the pot and give it a good stir every few minutes. It has a tendency to stick on the bottom as the cooking time nears its end, so try stay focused in those last moments of simmering.

peach chutney with honey

The only other useful tip I have to share when it comes to chutney is that it’s best to open a sealed jar an hour or so before you plan on serving it. When you first open chutney, all you can taste is the vinegar. However, if you let it breathe a little, the vinegar dissipates a little and the flavors of the fruit and spices are more prominent.

How do you like to eat chutney?

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Lazy Peach Preserves

more lazy peach preserves

When I teach classes, I’m often asked about peeling fruit. I typically tell people that I always peel peaches and apples, but leave the skins on nearly everything else. However, it looks like I might have to revise that statement, because the preserve I’m about to tell you about includes unpeeled peaches. Shocking, I know.

This particular recipe came about when I became the proud owner of both 10 pounds of cherries and a half bushel of rapidly ripening, very sweet, yellow peaches about ten minutes before I was leaving town for 2 1/2 days.

peaches

Both boxes of fruit were courtesy of the Washington State Fruit Commission, the folks behind the most fabulous website Sweet Preservation. When I signed on to be a Canbassador again this year, I didn’t realize that it was going to converge with the cherry challenge. Still, I am not one to shirk a canning challenge and so, when I got back to town, I went to work.

I made eight half pints of peach chutney (more on that tomorrow). I cooked up a smallish batch of honey-sweetened peach vanilla jam (look for it on Thursday). And I made these unpeeled, but very delicious, peach preserves. I also ate a whole bunch of these peaches just plain and raw (good lord, were they amazing).

I washed four pounds of peaches well, doing my best to rub away most of the exterior fuzzy. Then, I cut them into wedges, covered the fruit with 1 1/2 cups of honey, added some thin ribbons of lemon zest, and stirred it all together. It sat for an hour or so, until everything was juicy. Then I scraped it into a pan, brought it to a boil, funneled the peaches into prepared pint jars and processed them for 20 minutes (I used the processing time recommended by the NCHFP for pints of peach halves and slices).

peach slices

It’s hard to tell from the picture of the jar up at the top of the post, but the peach slices are still quite distinct. My vision for these jars is that I’ll eat them with yogurt and granola or with oatmeal for breakfast later in the year. I often eat those same things with fresh, unpeeled peaches during the summer months and never mind the peels, so my guess is that I won’t mind them with the peels when they’re coming out of a jar. Here’s hoping that will prove to be true!

Though it seems kind of hard to believe, this is the fourth year that I’ve been one of the Washington State Fruit Commission’s Canbassador. Last year, I made Oven-Roasted Nectarine Butter and Luisa Weiss’s Spiced Plum Butter. The year before, it was Italian Plum Jam with Star Anise and Honey-Sweetened Apricot Lavender Butter. And if you go all the way back to that first year, I made Apricot-Blackberry Jam and Pickled Sweet Cherries. These boxes of fruit have led to some very good eating over the last few years.

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