Links: Strawberries, Rhubarb, and Winners

Half of yesterday strawberries have become a big batch of low sugar strawberry vanilla jam. #foodinjars #strawberries #localproduce

This last weekend was a good one. On Saturday morning, I wandered my favorite farmers market and turned a flat of berries into batches of strawberry vanilla jam and strawberry butter. Annelies stayed with us on Saturday night and we went out for a unhurried brunch this morning. A few hours after she left, I picked my dear friend Andrea up at the train station. We met the very first day of college and have been close ever since. She lives in Southern California, so we don’t get to see each other often, but whenever we do, it’s as if no time has passed. Now, links!

The winners in last week’s Candy in a Jar giveaway are #33/Alicia, #86/Madeleine, and #104/Sandy. Thanks to all who shared their favorite sweet preserves!

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Roasted Rhubarb and Strawberry Compote + OXO GreenSaver

shipped rhubarb

A couple months ago, I started hearing some positive buzz about the new OXO GreenSaver containers. I like to keep a variety of greens on hand for smoothies and salads but it’s always something of a race against time to eat them before they get turn slimy. More often than I care to admit, I’ve pitched the last quarter of a bag because it’s gotten too funky to be good.

rhubarb in the greensaver

In an attempt to waste less, I bought myself the medium GreenSaver and started packing it full of greens as soon as I got them home from the grocery store. After the first week, I was a believer (hallelujah!). Those greens stayed good days longer than they would have if stored in bags in the crisper drawer. Week after week, I used up every last spinach leaf and arugula tendril.

The way the GreenSaver works is that the filter pack absorbs the ethylene gas that ripening produce releases, while improving airflow around the produce, and helping control the humidity in the container (the door the holds the filter pack in place slides back and forth to help either retain or release the moisture).

rhubard after 1 week

So, when I got an email from OXO, saying they were looking for bloggers to participate in a campaign they were running with Melissa’s Produce featuring the GreenSaver containers and an assortment of seasonal produce, I submitted my name for consideration (since I was among the converted).

I danced a small jig when I heard I was picked and waited anxiously for a large GreenSaver and a bundle of rhubarb to arrive.

rhubarb strawberries sugar

Now, this is not the first time in my life that I’ve received produce in the mail as part of some blog campaign. Typically I clear my schedule when I know fruit is arriving, because I know it’s going to need to be used within a fairly short window of time.

In this case, the point was to store the rhubarb for a bit in order to prove the efficacy of the GreenSaver so when it arrived on May 15, I simply trimmed the stalks down enough so that they’d fit in the container and popped them in the fridge.

roasted rhubarb and strawberries

There they sat until the following Thursday. I could have let them go longer, but we were headed out for the long weekend and I wanted to couple those rhubarb stalks with some strawberries and they weren’t going to last until we got back.

After a week in the GreenSaver, the rhubarb was in amazingly good shape. It had aged some, but had it been stored in a plastic bag it would have been unusable (just a few weeks back, I’d neglected some rhubarb in the crisper and it molded and liquified after a five days. It was tragic).

roasted rhubarb and strawberries side of jar

I trimmed the rhubarb into lengths of about 2 inches long and quartered the strawberries. I tossed the fruit with a scant half-cup of cane sugar and rubbed the seeds from a split vanilla bean into the mess.

The pan went into a 350 degree oven and the fruit roasted for 20 to 25 minutes. I like the rhubarb to have retain some structural integrity and so pull it out when it has softened but before it fully disintegrates.

roasted rhubarb in a jar

I like to eat this rustic compote with plain yogurt and a sprinkle of simple granola (Cheryl’s nutmeg crunch would be good too). It’s also good as a topper for oatmeal, pancakes, waffles, and french toast. Hey, I wouldn’t judge if you ate it straight out of the pan (I may have done a bit of that myself).

For more information about OXO GreenSavers, visit their website. If you long for rhubarb and live in a place where it’s hard to come by, Melissa’s Produce has got you covered.

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Steeped Book Events in Philly

Look what arrived late last night! @mizmaggieb & @anneliesz

I’m not sure when I first met Annelies Zijderveld. Our paths have crossed at more food blogger gatherings than I can count and I am always happy when I spot her face in the crowd at registration or those oft-uncomfortable opening receptions.

Annelies recently published her very first book, called Steep: Recipes Infused with Tea, and is currently zigzagging across the country promoting its release. She’s going to be in Philadelphia tomorrow doing an event in the City Kitchen at Reading Terminal Market, demoing her recipe for Walnut White Bean Tea Toasts. It starts at 12 noon, runs until 1:30 pm and is free. The Cookbook Stall will be there as well, selling books.

On Saturday, Annelies will be at the Locust Moon Gallery (34 South 40th Street) from 1-4 pm, in conjunction with Alexandria Quarterly’s magazine launch. She plans on sampling the Buddha’s Hand Rooibos Marmalade there.

If you’re not in Philly and want to know if Annelies is coming to your town, follow her on Twitter or Instagram. She’s also sending out regular newsletters detailing her travels that you can subscribe to here. Her blog, The Food Poet, is a very good read as well.

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CSA Cooking: Ramp-infused Vinegar

ramp vinegar

It’s time to wrap up the first month of my Philly Foodworks blog posts. That first box included kale rapini, stinging nettles, a head of butter lettuce, 3/4 pound of fat asparagus spears, Swiss chard, a bundle of arugula, a slender bunch of ramps, and a pound of red potatoes.

I turned the kale into a garlicky spread. The nettles went into a batch of pesto. The lettuce we just ate (there’s not a lot you can do to preserve lettuce). I roasted the asparagus spears and made a batch of this salad using farro in place of the quinoa.

ramps

The Swiss chard became meatloaf and pickles. I ate the arugula chopped up and topped with a soft boiled egg (much like this). Which leaves us with the ramps.

I struggle with ramps. The hype around them is so great that I feel intense amount of pressure to do them justice when I have some in my possession. Which sometimes leads to paralyzing inaction.

This time, I decided to divide and conquer. I sautéed the leaves of the ramps with a little butter and ate them on toast (delicious!). And I took the slender stems and plunged them in a jar of vinegar. They pickle themselves in the process, but the real product is the flavored vinegar. It takes on pungent funk of the ramps and is fabulous in salad dressings and homemade mayonnaise.

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Giveaway: Candy in a Jar eBooks

Book Mill

One of the things I most appreciate about technology is the fact that it gives people the opportunity to share their creative works with larger audiences without having to go through the traditional channels. Musicians can get their music out to appreciate ears, photographers have unlimited methods for disseminating their work, and writers can sidestep the publishing industry with ease.

One such writer who has taken great advantage of ready online distribution is Jennifer Kitchens. She is the author of a quartet of ebooks dedicated to sweet spreads and preserves. They are called Candy in a Jar, More Candy in a Jar, Candy in a Jar: Tastes of Summer, and Candy in a Jar: Fall Flavors (you can also buy all four in a single edition, if you prefer).

Jennifer took the time to answer a few questions about herself. Read more about her and her work after the jump!

For this week’s giveaway, I have three copies of Jennifer’s books to share. The winners will get to choose which they’d like to have and cook from. Here’s how to enter:

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell us about your favorite sweet preserve.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Saturday, May 30, 2015. Winners will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog soon thereafter.
  3. Giveaway open to all. 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.

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Links: Jam, Doughnuts, and Winners

Finally! A breakfast place that takes jam seriously! Homemade mixed berry jam! #happyjam

We spent the holiday weekend in Northampton visiting friends. We had a lovely time and I’m back feeling refreshed and ready for the summer to start picking up speed (this time of year flies by faster than any other for me). Now, links!

omnimount box

The winners in last week’s OmniMount giveaway are #3/Vin and #86/Juliann Goldman. I’ll be in touch with the winners shortly!

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