Giveaway: Bake Your Bundt Off with MightyNest

warm glass bundt pan

This blog post is sponsored by MightyNest. They are an online retailer with a mission to provide the natural, organic, and non-toxic products that parents seek for their home while also giving back to schools.

offset bundt

I like glassware. Truly, this should come as no surprise to anyone who has read this blog for longer than five minutes. I love a good jar like nobody’s business. I’m a big fan of vintage glass Pyrex bowls and bakers, as well as the newer glass food storage containers. I’m even a sucker for a well-made drinking glass (oh Duralex Picardie, you will always have my heart).

buttered bundt

So, when the non-toxic avengers over at MightyNest asked if I might be interested in replacing my ancient avocado green, Teflon-coated bundt pan with one made of glass, I was helpless to resist. I said yes and signed on to participate in their “Bake Your Bundt Off” promotion.

chopped walnuts

The bundt pan arrived late last week and it sat on my coffee table for most of the weekend, looking more like modern art than bakeware. I had an itch to bake, but wanted to make sure that I chose just the right thing for the maiden voyage of this glamorous pan. Needing to use a recipe from a cookbook I owned (Scott and I have been purging books lately, and so if it’s not getting used, it can’t stay), I turned to Eat Your Books and searched for bundt recipes.

filled bundt

The search turned up a number of options, but wanting to incorporate the flavors of fall, nothing sounded more perfectly on the nose than Dorie Greenspan’s recipe for Double Apple Bundt Cake (it’s from her fabulous book, Baking). I made just a few small changes, it is essentially still hers.

I swapped out some of the AP flour for whole wheat, reduced the sugar a tiny bit, and used my own homemade apple butter for the store bought version for which she calls (and any time I can shoehorn homemade preserves into a baked good, I am a happy girl).

baked bundt

I also skipped any kind of frosting, because I want to be able to justify eating a slice of this cake for breakfast, and I just can’t make the rationalization work if it’s got a powdered sugar glaze drizzled over the top.

And just a note about the slight bits of char on my cake. This is not the pan’s fault. I forgot to set a timer after deciding that it needed a few more minutes. I got distracted and let five minutes turn into more than ten (and I am not the type to remake a cake for pictures). Happily, thanks to the apple butter and grated apple, the cake was still entirely moist inside. I just use a serrated edge knife to scrape away the worst of the burnt bits before eating.

unmolded bundt

Another reason this particular cake spoke to me was that Dorie mentions that it improves in both taste and texture when you let it rest for a bit. I keep a mental list of baked goods that just get better over time, because they allow me to take advantage of a sliver of free time mid-week to bake for parties and gatherings scheduled for the weekend.

bundt giveaway gear

So, on to the giveaway portion of this post. MightyNest is offering one lucky Food in Jars reader a chance to win a 10 inch glass bundt pan, a Cakebox (from the makers of Piebox), a sweet tea towel, and a sturdy stainless brownie spatula (also good for cake!).

open cakebox

The prize pack has a retail value of $100, and to sweeten the deal, MightyNest is also going to donate $100 to the winner’s school of choice. It’s a mighty good deal. Use the widget below to enter.

A little more about MightyNest, the sponsor of this post:

Everything they sell is selected with the highest standards for safety and quality. Glass and stainless baking gear and food storage. Green cleaning supplies. Natural bath products, and other home essentials. And everything is selected to be free from known toxic ingredients such as: BPA, PVC, Phthalates, Lead, Formaldehyde, flame retardants, Parabens and more.

Anytime you order from MightyNest, they’ll give 15% back to the school of your choice. It’s a great way to be healthier and support your local school.

sliced bundt in box

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. MightyNest sent me a set of the gear that we’re giving away and is also an occasional Food in Jars sponsor.

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Canning 101: How to Swap Vinegars

white vinegar

When I first started canning, I used a lot of distilled white vinegar. It was cheap, readily available, and a lot of the traditional recipes used it so I figured I should too. However, I found that I didn’t always love the flavor of white vinegar.

It was unrelentingly acidic and just didn’t bring anything interesting to the jars of pickles and chutneys in which I used it. Gradually, I started shifting from white distilled to apple cider, red wine, and white wine vinegars (I’ll use champagne vinegar when I can get it, but it’s pricy).

You might think that I was doing something potentially unsafe with my vinegar switch, but I wasn’t. That’s because I was making sure to only swap other 5% acidity vinegars in for the white distilled. As long as the vinegar has the same acidic concentration, you can always pull out one vinegar and replace it with another.

Whenever you buy a jug of vinegar, it should say right on the label (like the one in the picture above) that it has either been diluted or reduced with water to 5% acidity. There are a couple of cases when your vinegar won’t be 5%. Rice vinegar is typically sold between 4% and 4.3% acidity (however, Linda Ziedrich has a formula that allows you to still use it with all your favorite recipes) and in some commercial settings, apple cider vinegar is being sold at 4%.

The moral of the story is that as long as you read the vinegar labels carefully and make sure that you’ve got a bottle containing vinegar that has a 5% acidity, you can use whichever you’d like in your pickles!

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Upcoming Events: Philly, Carlisle, PA, and Harvest on Henry Festival

Marisa at Williams Sonoma

Upcoming events!

October 14, Philadelphia
I’m teaching a sauerkraut class at the German Society of Pennsylvania tonight 7-9 pm. Everyone will make their own quart jar of sauerkraut to take home with them. Class fee is $15 and you can register by emailing librarian@germansociety.org. More details about this class can be found here. I believe the class is full, but I know there was a waiting list, for any of you who feel moved to see if you can get in on a spur of the moment jar of sauerkraut.

October 15, Carlisle, PA
On Wednesday, I’m heading out to the center of Pennsylvania to do a canning demo at the Farmers on the Square market. I’ll be there from 3-5 pm and will have books on hand for sale and signature. I’m also happy to sign books you already own, so if you’re nearby and you’ve got copies, bring them with you!

October 18, Philadelphia
Canning demos and book signing at the Weaver’s Way Farm at Saul HS Harvest on Henry Festival. I’ll do a couple of demonstrations and will help judge the pie contest! More details can be found here. The festival runs from 1-5 pm and is open to all.

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Links: Maple, Carrot Tops, and Winners

Harvey Oak Mercantile is Weck Jar heaven.

The days have gotten cool and cloudy here in Philadelphia. The sun is setting earlier and I’m feeling an overwhelming desire to bake quick breads and pear tarts. I’d say that those are all good signs that fall has well and truly arrived. It might even be time to start opening up the strawberry jam! Now, links!

reCAP lids

Time for the winners in last week’s reCAP giveaway. I loved reading all the ways that you guys are using mason jars these days! Such creativity! The winners are…

If you didn’t win and want to get your hands on some reCAP lids, you can either check out their online shop, or contribute to their ongoing Kickstarter campaign to get the hottest and newest lids.

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Preserves in Action: Open Faced Kimchi & Egg Sandwich

Half a bagel, fried egg, kimchi.

Late last week, I came down with a cold. At first, I tried to pretend it wasn’t happening, but it was not to be ignored. And so I spent the last five days in a bit of a haze, doing only the things that absolutely had to be done. I taught my classes and did the demos I’d committed to doing, but I skipped all extras, including grocery shopping.

Today was the first day that I felt anywhere near normal. I woke up ravenous and headed to the fridge, hoping for something fresh and delicious. Instead, I found a number of weird odds and ends, and no fresh vegetables whatsoever.

There was slightly stale half a bagel, a few eggs, and some end of a jar of the most delicious kimchi ever (it was from the July food swap and was so darn good). And so, I toasted the bagel and spread all the kimchi goodness into it (probiotics!). A single fried egg went on top. And it was delicious.

Eggs and kimchi. Make sure to try it.

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Urban Preserving: Concord Grape Jam

concord grapes

Two or three times a year, I pack up a big box of jam and mail it off to my sister and her family in Austin, TX. While Raina knows the fundamentals of jam making (and I know she has at least two cookbooks that could show her how), my mom and I easily (and happily) meet the bulk of her fruit spread needs.

grapes in a pan

In the last shipment, one of the jars I sent was a squat little half pint of concord grape jam. I’d made it as a test batch sometime last fall and hadn’t thought much about it beyond assuming that my nephew might dig it. When Raina reported back on the winners, the thing she raved about most was the grape jam. They ate through it in record time and were all a little sad to hear that there wasn’t even a drop more.

simmered grapes

So when concord grapes came into season this fall, I made a point to pick some up to make another batch of jam for Raina and her crew. I started with 2 pounds of concord grapes. I gave them a quick rinse, and popped them in a saucepan with 1/4 cup of water. I set the pan on the stove and brought it to a simmer. I let it go for a few minutes, just until the grapes popped.

Once the grapes where soft, I poured them into a food mill that I’d fitted with the finest screen and milled them through. This is the step that makes this preserve more of a jam than a jelly. It’s not going to have a ton of texture from the skin, but some gets through and gives the finished product a little more body.

grapes in a food mill

Once I couldn’t mill any more, I measured out the pulp. In my case, I had a little more than 3 1/2 cups, but your results will vary. I poured the pulp into a low, wide pan and added 1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar (roughly half the volume of pulp) and the juice of half a lemon. Then I cooked it until it was thick (times vary, use your judgment).

Once the jam was done, I funneled it into two half pint jars (there was a little leftover for the fridge) and processed them in a boiling water bath canner for ten minutes. They sealed perfectly and will be in my checked luggage when I head for Austin later this month to meet my new nephew (!!!). He was born at 7:59 this morning and everyone is well.

 

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