Food in Jars Favorites: Earlywood Tasting Spoons

earlywood tasting spoons - Food in Jars

I first discovered Earlywood and the gorgeous wooden tools that Brad Bernhart makes thanks to a post on the blog, Dig This Chick nearly five years ago. As a lover of wooden spoons and spatulas, I was powerless in the face of her recommendation and ordered myself a large saute tool and a scraper.

earlywood handles - Food in Jars

Since then, Earlywood tools have become something I buy myself when I reach a milestone or am in need of an inexpensive splurge. For instances, when I turned in the manuscript for my third book, I bought myself a ladle. I’m at the point where most of the wooden tools in my kitchen started their life as a hunk of wood in Brad’s shop.

earlywood spoon bowls - Food in Jars

A few months ago, Brad sent me his tasting spoon set (you can also buy them one at a time), curious if I thought they might have particular application in a canning kitchen. After living with them for a while, I’ve come to find that I reach for the all the time, though not necessarily for tasting.

I’ve found that they’re a fabulous tool for poking air bubbles out of jars (I use both the bowl of the spoon and the handle, depending on the location of the bubble) and for ensuring that jam flows evenly into jars with shoulders. They are beautiful, useful objects and really, you can’t ask for more than that!

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Upcoming Events: A Week in the Chicago Area

jars at chicago food swap

Hello Chicago area readers! I am headed your way very, very soon and want to make sure that you know about all the various events, demos, and book signings I’m going to be doing while in your fine region. Please mark your calendars, tell your friends, and come say hi while I’m in town.

Oh, and books will be available for sale at all these events, so no need to get a copy ahead of time. That said, I am also always entirely happy to sign copies you already own, so make sure to bring those too!

Sunday, June 5
Chicago Botanic Garden! Canning demo and book signing in the Garden Kitchen Amphitheater. 10:30 a.m. Admission is free but seating is limited, so get there early!

Monday, June 6
Mundelein, IL! Canning demo and book signing at the Fremont Public Library. 6:30 pm. Free.

Tuesday, June 7
Gurnee, IL! Canning demo and book signing at the Warren-Newport Public Library. 6:30 pm. Free. Register here.

Wednesday, June 8
Lake Zurich, IL! Canning demo and book signing at the Ela Public Library. 6:30 pm. Free.

Thursday, June 9
Northfield, IL! I’ll be speaking at a luncheon starting at 11:30 am to benefit Canning for Kids and The Ferrer Foundation. More details here. Buy your ticket here!
Chicago, IL! Later that evening, I’m teaming up with Local Foods and Read It and Eat from 6-7:30 pm for canning demo and book signing. This event is free, but we ask that you sign up in advance.

Friday, June 10
Chicago, IL! Canning demo and book signing at The Chopping Block’s Merchandise Mart location. 5:30-6:30 pm. Free.

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Low Sugar Blackberry Rhubarb Jam

three jars of low sugar blackberry rhubarb jam on a bench

Lately, Trader Joe’s had been selling 12 ounce containers of blackberries for right around $3.50. For those of you who live in the Pacific Northwest, it might seem crazy to pay for good money for blackberries since come August, they’re going to be everywhere. But for those of us who live in less blackberry-rich environs, this is a very good price.

blackberries, rhubarb, and sugar in a pot before being cooked into jam

As a result, I’ve been making lots of preserves with blackberries. I did a batch scented with lavender, and another batch with cinnamon and nutmeg, like my mom always makes. I also did this low sugar blackberry rhubarb jam, encouraged by an email from a reader who asked if I’d ever done such a combination).

I really love how it turned out. Tangy from the rhubarb, rich from the berries, and just sweet enough with a relatively small amount of sugar. If you wanted to make this jam with honey rather than with sugar, reduce the amount to 1 cup and save 1/3 a cup to add at the end with the pectin.

a close up of two jars of low sugar blackberry rhubarb jam

Oh, and if you don’t want to spring for blackberries now, but can get them at a better price later in the season, you can still make this jam. Just chop up a pound of rhubarb now, put it in a ziptop bag, and tuck it into the freezer until August. Frozen rhubarb behaves beautifully in jams.

Finally, if this jam doesn’t float your boat, I’ve got a couple other blackberry recipes in the archives. Perhaps my classic Blackberry Jam or this Blackberry Apricot Jam will float your boat!

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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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All-Clad d5 Stainless-Steel All-In-One Pan + Apple Butter Barbecue Sauce

All Clad d5 - Food in Jars

Back in the Fall, I did a little project with the folks at All-Clad, in which they sent me the NS1 Chef’s Pan from their their new line of NS1 Nonstick Induction cookware and I used it to make a batch of really delicious batch of Kabocha Squash, Coconut, and Wild Rice Stew.

In March, I did it again. That time, they sent me an NS1 Stock Pot and I make a pot of roasted tomato and basil soup to brighten up a cold winter day.

All-Clad handle - Food in Jars

I always enjoy these cookware challenges because they give me opportunities to play with a really fabulous pans and push myself outside my regular culinary patterns. So, when they got in touch again back in April and asked if I might want to do it again, this time with their d5 Stainless Steel All-In-One Pan, I said yes.

finished barbecue sauce - Food in Jars

This line of All-Clad is made from five bonded layers of stainless steel and aluminum to best conduct heat and cook evenly. It’s induction-capable, has two loop side handles, sloped sides for efficient reduction, and a shining stainless interior that makes it easy to clean. It comes with a tight-fitting lid and is made in the US.

Currently, the d5 Stainless Steel All-In-One Pan is available at Williams-Sonoma, and the 4 quart pan they sent me sells for $149.95.

barbecue sauce ingredients in pan - Food in Jars

The particular challenge with this piece of cookware was to design a recipe that only used five ingredients, to mimic the five layers of metal that makes up the pan. I decided on building a five ingredient barbecue sauce, using a jar of apple butter as the base.

It’s a tasty, tangy, spicy sauce that is perfect for summer cookouts and slow cooker pulled pork. You could always fancy it up with additional ingredients, but I enjoy the simple approach.

saucing chicken legs - Food in Jars

This is the perfect pan for quick sauces, because the low, wide base allows for quick evaporation and the marriage of flavor. You combine a pint of apple butter with apple cider vinegar, finely chopped onion, honey, and a couple heaping spoonfuls of gochugang in the pan and cook until it is thick and the onion is tender (also, add some salt and pepper to taste).

I like to scrape the finished sauce into a large measuring cup and zap it with an immersion blender to smooth it out, but that’s totally optional.

roasted chicken legs - Food in Jars

As you can see, I also used the pan to roast off some chicken legs that I then painted with my tangy sauce. I’d also use this sauce on top of turkey meatloaf, on grilled burgers, and will happily combine it with some chicken thighs in the slow cooker for pulled chicken sandwiches.

Thanks to the kind folks at All-Clad, I have one of these All-Clad d5 Stainless Steel All-In-One Pans to give away. Here’s how to enter.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me what you’d cook in this pan OR how you’d use the barbecue sauce.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Saturday, June 4, 2016. Winners will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, June 5, 2016.
  3. Giveaway open to United States residents only. 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: All-Clad sent me the pan you see pictured above and they’re provided the giveaway unit, both at no cost to me. No additional compensation was provided.

For more about these fabulous pans, follow All-Clad and Williams-Sonoma on social media!
All-Clad: Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram
Williams-Sonoma: Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram

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Links: Small Batches, Granola, and Winners

cherry clafoutis

This past week was on the quieter side of things, filled with the mundane activities of life. I cooked food, taught classes, made jam, filled bags for donation, went to the gym, had dinner with friends, and still managed to get to bed before midnight more often than not. It was a satisfyingly mellow seven days. Now, links!

Whiskey cover - Food in Jars

I’ve got two giveaways to wrap up this week. First is the giveaway of Whiskey. The winner there is #76/Linda C. Second is the giveaway of three copies of my new book. The winners there are #3/Lauren, #38/Holly H., and #503/Karen C.

Congratulations, everyone!

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