Book Tour: Seattle, Portland, Eugene, San Francisco, & LA!

at The Pantry

This is it. The last truly huge book tour push of this summer. I’m still going to be traveling a lot throughout July, August, and September, but this will be the final extended journey. If you’re in or near Seattle, Portland, Eugene, San Francisco, or LA, I hope to see you soon!

Friday, June 20 (Portland)
I’m teaching a demo-style class at The Cakery in Portland, as part of their Pages to Plate program. The event starts at 6:30 and runs until 8 pm. The cost is $25 and that includes a copy of Preserving by the Pint. You sign up by calling 503-546-3737 and there are more details here.

Saturday, June 21 (Portland)
You’ll find me at the Beaverton Farmers Market from 9 am to 1 pm. I’ll be demoing at 10 am and 12 noon and will have books on hand for sale and signature. Best of all is that I’m sharing the stage that day with Kate Payne and she’ll be demoing at 9 am and 11 am, so make sure to come in time to catch her as well!

Monday, June 23 (Eugene)
I’ll be at Down to Earth in Eugene (532 Olive Street) from 2-4 pm. There will be a demo. There will be books. There may even be cake, as this event is in conjunction with the store’s 37th anniversary celebration. It’s a free event and fun will be had by all.

Wednesday, June 25 (Seattle)
I’ll be at the Book Larder (4252 Fremont Ave. N) in Seattle from 6:30-8 pm demonstrating a recipe from the book and signing as many copies as I can. The event is free, but they ask that you RSVP using this form.

Thursday, June 26 (Seattle)
I’m teaching a four preserve class at The Pantry at Delancey. I believe that the class is currently sold out, but it never hurts to get on the waiting list.

Saturday, June 28 (San Francisco)
From 12 noon to 1 pm, I’ll be doing a book signing at the CUESA classroom at the Ferry Building (you’ll find me under the white tent at the front of the building). Books will be on hand for sale! More details can be found here.

Sunday, June 29 (San Francisco)
I’ll be at Omnivore Books from 3-4 pm, demoing a tiny batch of honey sweetened strawberry jam, and signing books. There will be samples and they will be delicious. Please come!

Tuesday, July 1 (Los Angeles)
My very last stop on this tour will be at The Gourmandise School of Sweets and Savories in Santa Monica. I’ll be teaching a free demo-style class from 2-5 pm and will have books on hand to sign. Click here for more details and to sign up!

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Links: Rhubarb, Cordials, and Winners

Friday brunch and reading material. Asian Pickles by @bolognarose is officially out next week!

On Tuesday, I leave for a week on the road in Ohio and western Pennsylvania. I’ll be home for all of two days before heading out again for two weeks on the west coast. I’ve been obsessively making lists of things I need to take and details still needing to be tended (must arrange for someplace to stay in San Francisco!).

Of course, with all these tasks and to-dos swimming around, the thing that is most concerning me is that I’m probably going to miss Philadelphia’s sour cherry season (and possibly, apricots as well). I will simply remain hopeful that I’ll be able to get my hands on my two favorite stonefruits when I get back. Now, links!

pickling crock square

I actually have couple giveaway updates! The first is that the winner of the MightyNest plastic-free produce packaging giveaway from two weeks ago is Emily Sausville!

The winner of the Pacific Merchants $100 gift card giveaway is Jodi M.! And if you didn’t win, don’t forget about the discount code! It’s good through June 16. Just type in “foodinjars15″ at check out for 15% off your order.

There will be more giveaway goodness soon, so stay tuned!

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Book Tour: Columbus, OH and Pittsburgh, PA

road trip photo

I’ve got a couple big book tour trips coming up in the couple weeks. I’ll tell you more about my West Coast plans on Monday, but today, I want to focus on my stops in Columbus, OH, and Pittsburgh, PA (because they are rapidly approaching)!

Wednesday, June 11
I’ll be at The Seasoned Farmhouse in Columbus, OH, teaching a mid-day class that includes lunch. I’ll be demonstrating four recipes from Preserving by the Pint and sharing some tips on how to incorporate preserves into your everyday meal prep. The class starts at 11:30 am, costs $75 per person, and the fee includes a copy of PbtP (I’ll also have a few copies of Food in Jars on hand, in case someone wants to pick one up). As of this writing, there are still seven open spots in this class. Click here to register.

If you can’t make this class but want to get a signed copy of the book, please do leave me a comment. I will be in town until Thursday afternoon and would be happy to make arrangements.

Saturday, June 14
I’m starting my weekend in Pittsburgh with a small batch canning demo and book signing at Farmers @ Firehouse. I’ll be there starting at 9 am and should be around until 1 pm. Later that day, I’ll be at the Pittsburgh Canning Exchange’s Rhubarb Social from 7-10 pm at Marty’s MarketRead more about the event here and get your tickets right here.

Sunday, June 15
Sunday afternoon, I’m teaching a canning class at Legume Bistro at 214 N. Craig Street from 1-3 pm. We’ll make pickles, I’ll demo a tiny batch of jam, and a good time will be had by all. The class fee is $35. Get your ticket here.

Monday, June 16
I’ll be at the East Liberty Farmers Market from 3:30 to 5 pm, answering canning questions and selling/signing cookbooks.

Then, from 6-8 pm, I’ll be at the Squirrel Hill branch of the Carnegie Library to give a talk and sign books (we’ll also have copies on hand for sale). To register for this event, visit this site and fill out the form.

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Cookbooks: Put ‘Em Up, Love Your Leftovers, and Starting from Scratch

cookbook stack

One of the things I haven’t been doing enough of lately is sharing some of the excellent books that regularly land in my mailbox. The stack next to my desk is getting precariously tall and so I’m going make a concerted effort to bring the Friday afternoon cookbook feature.

This week, there are three books that I want to share. One is a book that contains the answer to every canning question you’ve ever had. The next is a paen to the humble leftover. And the third wants to inform young cooks and help them get excited about getting into the kitchen.

Put 'em Up answer book

First up is the final book in Sherri Brooks Vinton’s excellent canning trilogy (the first and second books were Put ‘em Up! and Put ‘em Up! Fruit). Called The Put ‘em Up! Preserving Answer Book: 399 Solutions to All Your Questions, this spiral-bound volume packs a mighty punch when it comes to useful canning knowledge.

While you’ll find a few recipes in this book, it’s not designed to be the book you turn to for inspiration on what to make. Instead, it plays the role of reliable canning teacher, who is always there with a helpful suggestion to make your preserving process better, faster, and more fun. You’ll find everything from tips on how to improve the quality of your seals, to the design for Sherri’s ideal canning porch (I want one!).

I think this book should be a required resource for all new canners, as it dives deep while also managing to be accessible and unintimidating.

Love Your Leftovers

Next up is Nick Evans’ book, Love Your Leftovers. Some of you might remember an earlier version of this book, called Cornerstone Cooking. The core of Nick’s concept is that instead of making meals from scratch every single day, once or twice a week, you make a large amount of something (like a couple roast chickens or a braised pork shoulder) and then use those items as central players in any number of other dishes.

I thought it was a great concept in Cornerstone Cooking and I’m so pleased to see that Nick got a chance to expand on the idea in Love Your Leftovers and make is even prettier and more user friendly. If you’re in the market for some fresh culinary inspiration, check this one out.

Starting from Scratch

The last book on today’s stack is Starting From Scratch. Written by food journalist Sarah Elton, this book wants to teach kids everything they need to become informed home cooks in today’s dizzying culinary landscape.

While the book does include some basic recipes, the emphasis is more on building knowledge about the properties of flavor, how to read a recipe, and even how to pick the right tool for the job. There’s even a short section devoted to various food preservation methods, which delighted me.

This is the kind of book that I would have devoured when I was seven or eight years old and I plan on buying copies for all my friends who have kids in that age group.

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Upcoming Events: Hatboro! Wyebrook Farm! Havertown! Jenkintown!

First sighting of the new book in the wild! It is a rare and unique joy.

I’ve got a full weekend of events in store today, tomorrow, and Sunday (and Monday, too)! Here’s where I’ll be!

Friday, June 6
I’ll be at the Hatboro Farmers Market tonight from 6-8 pm, demoing the Honey-sweetened Strawberry Jam from Preserving by the Pint. The demo will be set up on the front porch of the Hatboro Baptist Church, which is at 32 N. York Road, Hatboro, PA.

I’ll have samples of the jam to share when it’s finished cooking, and will have copies of both books available for sale and signature. And, as always, if you already have copies, bring them along. I’m happy to sign those as well.

Saturday, June 7
I’m starting the day at the Philly Mag’s BeWell Boot Camp over at Drexel University’s recreation center. I’ll be on stage at 10 am, making the fastest batch of strawberry jam you’ve ever seen.

Later that same day, you’ll find me out at Wyebrook Farm. I’ll be doing two Honey-sweetened Strawberry Jam demos, one at 2 pm and another at 3 pm, and will also have copies of both books for sale and signing. That address is 15O Wyebrook Road, Honey Brook, PA.

Sunday, June 8
I’m teaching a Strawberry Vanilla Jam class at the Havertown Free Library from 2-4 pm. There are just a couple spots left in the class. If you want in, call (610) 446-3082 ext. 216 to register. There is a $5 fee for this class.

Monday, June 9
This is my last Philly-area event in June! I’ll be at the Jenkintown Whole Foods Market, teaching a demo-style jam making class. The class runs from 6:30 – 8:30 pm and is free! Call the customer service desk at 215-481-0800 to sign up!

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Strawberry Maple Butter

strawberry puree

For weeks now, I’ve been meaning to write up my recipe for the strawberry maple butter (hinted at here) I made recently (I liked it so much, I made it twice in rapid succession). And so, I finally sat down to do so tonight, only to realize that I didn’t take any pretty finished pictures of it.

However, instead of being defeated by my lack of artful images (I’ll add one tomorrow), I decided to dig in and write the post anyway, since strawberry season is starting to wane around these parts (and is already entirely over for some of you).

cooking strawberry butter

This one is much like the other fruit butters I’ve made in the past (and is nearly identical to the blueberry butter from four years ago). You start by pureeing enough fruit to fill your slow cooker up at least 3/4 of the way. For my four quart cooker, I found that four pounds of berries did the job nicely. Then, turn the cooker on low and let it run.

If you’re going to be in and out of your kitchen, you can leave the lid off and give it a good stir every half hour or so. The reason for the stir is that if you leave the lid off and don’t stir regularly, a skin forms on the surface of the butter that makes it impossible for the steam to escape.

If you’re not going to be around, set a chopstick across the rim of the slow cooker and then put the lid on. This allows the slow cooker to vent a little, but also ends up trapping just enough moisture to prevent the growth of the skin.

maple strawberry butter

I tend to let this butter cook anywhere from 16 to 24 hours. So much depends on the volume of fruit you start with, the amount of water it contains, and how much heat your slow cooker produces when set to low (I prefer older slow cookers for this task because they cook at lower temperatures). I have been known to cook my fruit butters overnight, but I don’t recommend doing that until you understand how your particular slow cooker works with butters.

So, once your strawberries have cooked down to a dense product that doesn’t have any visible liquid on the surface, it is done. I like to hit it with an immersion blender at the end of cooking, to ensure that it’s perfectly smooth.

Once you like the texture, you add maple syrup to taste. My batches each produced about three half pints, which I sweetened with 1/3 cup of maple syrup. I also included two tablespoons of lemon juice to help keep the color, brighten the flavor, and increase the acid load just a little (strawberries are typically quite high in acid, but maple syrup is low in acid, so a little extra lemon juice makes sure that all is well, safety-wise).

You can process this butter in half pint jars for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath canner. It’s a good one. If you can still get beautiful strawberries, I highly recommend it!

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