Tag Archives | Grid Philly

Dark Days: Pullet Eggs Poached in Quick Tomato and Spinach Sauce

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My March column in Grid Philly (it’s a local magazine dedicated sustainability) is all about eggs. I’ve come up with three seriously delicious egg recipes that are a little different from your standard scrambled or sunnyside up. Because the magazine devoted to keeping things local, I try to only develop recipes with ingredients that are currently available (or will be when the issue is available) from Philly’s 100 mile food radius. So frequently, my dark days eating overlaps with the recipes I’ve tested for my piece.

This dish is a quick tomato sauce, made from minced onions simmered in some cultured butter, a big can of crushed tomatoes and several generous handfuls of tunnel grown baby spinach. Once the sauce was thickened, I carved out four little hollows at 3, 6, 9 and 12 o’clock and dropped in pullet eggs (smaller eggs from young chickens). I added a splash of water so that there’d be enough liquid to cook the tops of the eggs and put a lid on for a few minutes.

When it was time to serve, I ladled two eggs and their sauce over a piece of toasted rustic bread that I’d rubbed with some raw garlic. It was absolutely wonderful eating and all ingredients (save the bread – it was from Metropolitan Bakery) were purchased from the Fair Food Farmstand at Reading Terminal Market. This meal would be in heavy rotation around here, if only Scott liked poached eggs. As it stands, this one is a regular dining alone meal because it only take about 20 minutes from start to finish and it a complete meal (the green vegetable is right there in the sauce).

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Dark Days: Veal Cutlets, Sauteed Spinach and Roasted Potatoes

Valentine's Day Meal

The short, chilly days of winter are now upon us and that means just one thing. Time for another round of the Dark Day Challenge, in which participants from all over the country (and world) prepare at least one intentionally local meal per week during the winter and blog about it. The goal is to prove that it’s possible to eat locally, even during the cold months when the verdant abundance of summer is just a memory.

For this first week, I have a meal that’s actually doing double duty for me. It’s the bulk of my article for the February issue of Grid Philly, all about how to have a romantic and tasty home-cooked Valentine’s Day. You’ll have to wait until that issue hits the street (or internet) to get the full details of the menu. However, I can tell you that it was everything you want in a celebratory meal – a little bit special, not at all too hard and very satisfying. It also requires the use of both a knife and a fork, which alone elevates it above more than half the meals I make on a regular basis. All ingredients were sourced from the Fair Food Farmstand at Reading Terminal Market, a highly useful resource for Philadelphia grocery shoppers as they carry nearly everything you need for virtuous eating, all year round.

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A Handy Helper for Speedy Pickling

pickling pitcher

Several years ago, Scott and I filmed an episode of Fork You about making risotto with our friend Jessie. We cooked in her kitchen and though the whole day was fun, there’s one part of that shoot that has particularly stuck with me. You see, Jessie had this pot that was the most brilliant thing ever for risotto making. It had a built-in spout, and instead of having a conventional pot handle, it had a heatproof handle that was shaped like one you would find on a pitcher. It made adding the stock to the risotto incredibly easy. It’s not untrue to say that I coveted this ingenious little pot.

I continue to think about Jessie’s pitcher-styled stock pot, now imagining how amazing it would be for pickle making, as it would make filling jars with brine positively breezy (and would mean fewer dishes to boot). I have searched high and low for something similar and have come up empty-handed. Until now.

pickling pitcher

Recently, while standing in a coffeeshop waiting for an iced coffee (my favorite way to combat steamy days), I took note of the pitchers they used for steaming milk. Stainless steel. Sturdy. Able to withstand the high heat of the steaming wand. Could this be the vessel I’ve been searching for? I ordered the biggest one Amazon carried and took it on a test pickling drive. It withstood the heat of my stove and made filling my jars so quick

Side note: I am beginning to be convinced of the idea that it’s always better to put the pickling spices directly in the jars, and not mix them with the brine. I get very inconsistent spice distribution when I’ve added them to the brine like I did for this picture.

The pitcher holds a bit less than 2 quarts, and you wouldn’t want to fill it to the brim, so it’s really only good for smaller batch pickling (say 4-6 pints). However, that’s much of what I do, so it works beautifully for me. If you pickle in similar amounts, consider adding this handy tool to your kit (do use a small pot holder when picking it up, that handle isn’t designed to be heatproof).

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All this week, Simple Bites is featuring canning tips, tricks, techniques and recipes. I contributed a piece on how to can whole tomatoes to the effort and a number of other bloggers have lent their canning talents and skills to that site as well. For those of you who just can’t get enough preservation information, please do go check it out!

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My latest piece in Grid Philly is available online, for your reading pleasure. I wrote up a trio of no-cook recipes as my way of helping people beat the heat. Leaf over to pages 30-31 of the digital edition and take a gander.

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Friday Miscellany

canning jar mug

I’ve been following the blog Lelo in NoPo for at least four years now. I first discovered it when its author LeAnn began to contribute gorgeous food images to the Slashfood Flickr pool. Occasions to email quickly developed and thanks to our mutual love of canning and Portland, OR, an internet friendship bloomed. LeAnn recently launched a radio show called Lelo Homemade on pdx.am and on her May 14th show, had me on as a guest. Take a listen if you’re so inclined!

My latest article in Grid Philly is live and it’s all about canning! Click here to see the digital edition. Pages 24, 25 and 26 are all mine. If you prefer a blog-style format, you can find the same content here (the canning article) and here (the recipe box).

My poor little OpenSky shop. I’ve struggled a bit trying to find products that would be useful and affordable for you guys, particularly since my primary goal with this site is to encourage homemaking instead of buying. Unfortunately, we’ve not been able to find a source for affordable canning jars (shipping costs make them prohibitive). However, I have managed to find a few things I think you all might like. The first are drinking glass jars, like the one you see above. Best thing about them? Regular mouth lids fit right on. They come in sets of 12, so if that’s too many for you, find a friend and split the box.

The other item I’ve got in stock are boxes of those fantastic white plastic lids. These aren’t used for processing, but are amazing when you want to use a jar to stash dinner leftovers or store dry goods. One thing to note is that they aren’t watertight, so if you’re using a jar in place of a water bottle, reach for a standard lid/ring arrangement. Right now, just the wide mouth ones are in stock, but check back tomorrow for the regular size.

Later today, I’ll have my May Can Jam recipe up. Curious about what I made? I have just three words for you. Orange Rhubarb Butter.

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Summer Canning Classes + More!


Though it’s still only March, the summer canning season is just proverbial moments away. And since it’s going to be here before we know it, I thought it was time to tell you about the classes I’ll be teaching at Foster’s Homewares (in Philadelphia) in May, June, July and August. We’ll be offering six classes in all, three focusing on jams and chutneys and three on the pickle-y pucker-y side of things. Classes run from 11 a.m. until 12:30 p.m., cost $39 a pop and all students leave each class with a small jar of whatever we made that day.

Pickled Asparagus
Saturday, May 1

Apple-Rhubarb Chutney
Saturday, May 15

Strawberry Jam
Saturday, June 12

Peach Jam
Saturday, July 10

Dilly Beans
Saturday, July 24

Cucumber Dills
Saturday, August 7

I am also currently working on getting a couple of more hands-on canning workshops scheduled for the summer and I will let you all know when I have more details. Those workshops require slightly longer time commitments and more student involvement than the Foster’s classes, but have a much higher pay-off in terms of the amount of foods in jars that you end up with at the end of the day (depending on what we make, you’ll leave with three or four jars of food you helped preserve).

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I recently started writing for Grid Philly, a local magazine devoted to helping foster a more sustainable Philadelphia. My first article is in the April issue, which hit the streets in the last couple of days. If you live around these parts, you’ll find Grid at a variety of independent restaurants and retailers. If you don’t live here, you can check out my article, extolling the virtues of rhubarb, here. To see the actual layout, flip to pages 22 and 23 of the digital edition.

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As you regular readers know, I really love to talk about seasonal food and the many ways to preserve it. So, when reporters reach out to me, needing some canning information, I’m always delighted to talk to them, because I’m crazy for this stuff. However, rarely do these conversations turn into much. However, a recent chat I had with food writer Jeff Houck turned into a nice, juicy article in the Tampa Tribune that hit the internet earlier this week and will appear in the Sunday edition of that Trib. So fun!

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