Tag Archives | cookbooks

Cookbooks: The Whole Coconut Cookbook

The Whole Coconut Cookbook Cover - Food in Jars

The books I write about on this site come into my life in a number of ways. Some I buy for myself. Others are review copies that I request because I think they’re a good fit for what I do. And still others are review copies that land on my doorstep without any prompting from me.

Coconut Cookbook Risotto - Food in Jars

These unsolicited copies can be a mixed bag, but often they end up turning me on to books that I might not have otherwise discovered. The Whole Coconut Cookbook by Nathalie Fraise is one such happy discovery.

Coconut Cookbook Red Curry - Food in Jars

I can trace my love of coconut back to the early eighties, when Trader Joe’s sold individual popsicles. These fruit pops were a regular treat in our house (they had chunks of real fruit in them!) and whenever I had the choice, I’d opt for coconut (black cherry was my second choice). Made from sweetened coconut milk, and thick with strands of shredded coconut, it was the best thing ever on a hot afternoon.

Coconut Cookbook Orange Cookies - Food in Jars

Sadly, The Whole Coconut Cookbook doesn’t have a recipe for my childhood popsicles, but what it does have is an appealing assortment of vividly flavored recipes for every meal of the day. You’ll find recipes using coconut milk, oil, butter, aminos, vinegar, flakes, shreds, flour, and even fresh, young coconut.

The Whole Coconut Cookbook Back - Food in Jars

I’ve marked nearly half the book’s recipes as things I’d like to try someday. Top on the list is the Lemony Mushroom Risotto you see above, followed closely by the Millet, Kale, and Miso-Tempeh Saute (I also have a thing for millet). It’s a nice little collection of modern, coconut-forward recipes.

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Giveaway: Whiskey by Michael Dietsch

Whiskey cover - Food in Jars

In my early years as an adult of drinking age, I made terrible choices. I drank many an amaretto sour or green apple martini before eventually coming to my senses. Slowly but surely, I found my way to a small handful of cocktails that I enjoyed, were designed to be sipped slowly, and didn’t make me feel like I’d spent the evening licking a Jolly Rancher.

Whiskey spine - Food in Jars

The bulk of this short list featured drinks made with a member of the whiskey family. Over time, I’ve also found myself gravitating towards the same array of spirits in when preserving peaches and cherries. There’s just something about those flavors that speak to me.

Whiskey contents - Food in Jars

So, now that you know that I have something of a weakness for the world of whiskey, it will make perfect sense that today I’m writing a post about a lovely new book called Whiskey. Written by Michael Dietsch (he is also responsible for Shrubs, a most fabulous book), this volume offers its reader the history of whiskey, helpful instruction on making cocktails, and 100 pages of the most popular whiskey cocktails of all time, arrayed in chronological order.

Whiskey cherry bounce - Food in Jars

Half compelling history and half instructional volume, this book begins with a dive into whiskey’s history (known today as distilled spirit made from a grain mash, though that wasn’t always the case) and an explanation the differences in spelling (whiskey/whisky) and where they appear geographically.

From there, Michael traces its international heritage and deals with the history of production around the world. Finally (because the first half will make you thirsty), we get to the nuts and bolts of cocktail crafting and the recipes.

Whiskey mixer recipes - Food in Jars

It’s a wonderfully crafted book, written with skill, humor, and enthusiasm. The photography is gorgeous and the whole thing is presented in a very pretty package. If you have a family member who is a fan of whiskey (Father’s Day is just around the corner!), it would make a lovely gift (particularly if paired with a nice bottle).

Whiskey back - Food in Jars

Thanks to the kind folks at The Countryman Press, I have both a recipe from this book to share, and a copy to give away. The recipe is for a Whiskey Cobbler, which speaks to me thanks to the presence of berries. Here’s how to enter the giveaway.

  1. Leave a comment on this post that has something to do with whiskey.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Saturday, May 21, 2016. A winner will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, May 22, 2016.
  3. Giveaway open to United States and Canadian residents. 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.

Disclosure: The Countryman Press sent me the copy you see pictured above for photography and review purposes, and is also providing the giveaway unit. Both are being provided at no cost to me. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. 

 

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Giveaway: Foolproof Preserving from America’s Test Kitchen

Foolproof Preserving cover - Food in Jars

Over the years, America’s Test Kitchen has become known and respected for their tireless pursuit of the very best recipes and techniques for home cooks. In their newest cookbook, Foolproof Preserving: A Guide to Small Batch Jams, Jellies, Pickles, Condiments, and More, they’ve turned their attention to the art of putting up.

Foolproof Preserving peach jam - Food in Jars

Like the other America’s Test Kitchen books that have come before, this volume is thoughtfully constructed, clearly written, beautifully photographed, and features a number of recipes that will have both new canners and seasoned preservers leaping up to gather produce and pull out their cookware.

Foolproof Preserving pickled red onions - Food in Jars

The introduction to this book is particularly useful, because it answers so many of the questions that people typically have about canning. They clearly go into the issues around acid content, achieving set, adjusting for altitude, and, in the case of fermentation, the relationship between salt and temperature.

Foolproof Preserving figs - Food in Jars

As I see it, there exists a fairly large flaw with this book. To my imperfect count, of the 111 recipes included, 42 of them cannot be processed and made shelf stable. To be fair, there are 16 recipes for quick and fermented pickles, which are things that never go into a boiling water bath in the first place. But that still leaves us with a goodly number of recipes that will require space in the freezer or fridge.

I can see why the authors made the choices they did. They were developing recipes where the topmost priority was flavor, texture, and freshness. Those are all noble and worthy goals. However, as someone who preserves primarily to create good-tasting food that can live on the shelf until needed, I find myself frustrated to be confronted with a tomato jam recipe that can’t be processed (particularly since a small amount of citric acid would make it safe for the canner and would have very little impact on the finished flavor).

Foolproof Preserving back - Food in Jars

Reading the introduction, I have a sense of why this book came to be as it is. The authors confess from the start that they approached this project as canning novices and that the testing was a process of discovery for them. I can see how that shaped the book I hold in my hands, because they were not driven by the primary goal of having shelf stable preserves to last the year. However, it doesn’t stop me from wishing they’d better addressed the fact from the start that 38% of the book focuses on short-term, rather than long-term, preserving.

Foolproof Preserving giveaway pack - Food in Jars

With all of that off my chest, let me say that again that this is a beautiful, well-designed, useful book. If long-term shelf stability isn’t your primary goal, you will find much to love here. I plan on exploring this book throughout the summer and fall, just taking care not to fall in love with too many recipes that demand space from in my limited fridge and freezer.

Thanks to the kind folks at America’s Test Kitchen, I have one copy of this beautiful book to give away, along with a jar lifter and stainless steel wide mouth funnel. Here’s how to enter.

  1. Leave a comment on this post. Tell me about something you’ve preserved lately, or a preserve you opened and enjoyed in recent days.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Sunday, May 8, 2016. A winner will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Monday, May 9, 2016.
  3. Giveaway open to United States only (so sorry!). 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.

Disclosure: America’s Test Kitchen sent me the copy of the paperback you see here, along with a box of jars, two wide mouth funnels, and a jar lifter. I’ve included the jar lifter and one of the wide mouth funnels in the giveaway, they’re also providing the second copy of the book. All this has been done at no cost to me. No additional compensation has been provided. All opinions expressed are entirely my own. 

Curious Feast Postcard Box from Princeton Architectural Press

Curious Feast box - Food in Jars

I have always loved the convergence of food and art. Whether it’s a carefully arranged platter of cut vegetables designed to please the eye, or a more enduring still life rendered in oils or water color, I am always drawn in. Which is why I found the new box of postcards from Princeton Architectural Press so appealing.

Curious Feast open box - Food in Jars

Called Curious Feast: 100 Postcards by 10 Artists, this compact box features cards from artists who specialize in food-related art. The pieces are wide-ranging and include a realistic bowl of ramen, close-ups of food that look more like the surface of the moon than something edible, hand-written recipes, food sculpted out of fabric, and lots more.

Curious Feast strawberries - Food in Jars

The artists featured in Curious Feast are Naz Sahin Ozcan (curator), Alex Proba, Brest Brest Brest, Caren Alpert, Melinda Josie, Patricia Curtan, Michele Humes, Mimi O Chun, Wijnand Warendorf, and Joel Penkman. It should come to no surprise that my two favorite cards in the box are Mimi O Chun’s canning and pickling-themed ones. I want that plush jar!

Curious Feast jars - Food in Jars

 

The box would make a good gift for food lovers, those who like to send (or just collect) postcards, or anyone who wants to brighten up their workspace, kitchen, or dining room with whimsical pictures of food. The Curious Feast box is available from Amazon, or directly from Princeton Architectural Press.

Disclosure: The PR folks at Princeton Architectural Press sent me the Curious Feast box in the hopes that I might be charmed by it and be moved to share it here on the blog. I was entirely delighted by it and so wrote this post. No additional compensation was provided and all opinions expressed in this blog post are my own. 

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Bay Area Events for Naturally Sweet Food in Jars

Bi-Rite fruit

Hi friends! The book tour is going hot and heavy for the next ten days, so I’ll be dropping in each morning for the next few days to spotlight the three regions where I’ll be. First up? The San Francisco area!

Monday, April 11 (Half Moon Bay)
Come see me at the New Leaf Community Market in Half Moon Bay (150 San Mateo Road) starting at 4 pm for a canning demo and book signing. No pre-registration is required and it’s a free event.

Tuesday, April 12 (San Francisco)
I’ll be at 18 Reasons (3674 18th Street), co-teaching a canning class with the delightful Shakirah Simley, Canner-in-Residence for the Bi-Rite Family of Businesses. We’ll make two recipes from my new book, and there will be a goodly amount of hands on involvement. The class starts at 6:30 pm and costs $55-65. Register here.

Wednesday, April 13 (San Francisco)
I’ll be at Omnivore Books (3885 Cesar Chavez Street) at 6:30 pm, demoing a half batch of strawberry cocoa jam, and signing books. There will be samples and they will be delicious.

Thursday, April 14 (Berkeley)
Join me for a Meet and Greet at Books Inc. (1491 Shattuck Avenue) in Berkeley from 3:30 to 5:30 pm. I’ll do a short demonstration, have some jam samples for tasting and will be available to answer all canning questions.

 

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Links: Dilled Carrots, Pickled Eggs, and a Winner

Matt's Kitchen

I am very happy to report that after nearly a week of being very under the weather, things are starting to look up. I got myself from LA to Santa Cruz on Friday, and my Saturday demo at Chefworks went very well (if you’re in the area, they have half a dozen signed copies of the new book). I spent the rest of the weekend hanging out with my very oldest friend (we first met when he was five and I was just a few hours old), in his charming apartment. That’s his kitchen pictured above. I covet both the build-in and the giant old sink. Now, some links.

Stir Paperback Cover - Food in Jars

The winner of last week’s giveaway of Jess Fechtor’s Stir is #45/Lyra Leigh. If you didn’t win, please do try and get your hands on this book. It’s such a good read.

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