Kitchen Projects

fear and respect in the canning kitchen (and peach melba sauce)

Before I rant, and I am afraid you’re in for a bit of a rant (sprinkled with some pictures to soften the blow), I want to thank all of you for the great What-To-Do-With-800-Canning-Rings challenge. Congratulations to Flan who had the idea of using bungee cords. Done and done. Thank you, Flan. I’ll send an email, please send me your mailing address. Jars on the way! And, because subjective judging is so annoying, I promised a randomly selected winner for another pantry giveaway box, congratulations Madeline. I’ll send you some extra rings while I’m at it. Thank you all for the ideas.  My neighborhood listserv hooked me up with an art teacher who will take many many rings for her classroom. All’s well that ends […]

Tropical Tart with Homemade Cajeta

It’s been busy around here. Recipe testing takes place twice a week and right after the last dish is washed, I’m up in my office writing writing writing. The book is taking shape and feeling real. The last few days have been incredibly productive and satisfying. I now have two assistants to wash dishes help a few hours a week. This definitely makes me happy and productive. This week, Ally and Maria ventured to the basement shelves and organized everything. They took inventory and grouped similar products together, even alphabetizing! Now, the OCD part of me will rest easy. As the book deadline nears (October.. not that far away,) the produce season ramps up (no pun intended!) and plans for photography get finalized, it’s going […]

canning season starts with a ball jar giveaway

Canning season is starting up. If you’re like me, and a passionate (um, other adjectives have been used…) canner, you’re canning all year ’round, sure, but those first local strawberries, the slim young asparagus, ramps, garlic chives, candy onions – they’re just around the corner and that feels like the first day of school for me. Check Your Gear Pressure canner gauges should be calibrated once a year. Many hardware stores will do this for you. Give the gasket (the rubber ring around the inside rim) a good going over – has it dried out, is it cracking? If so, order a new one, easily found at the manufacturer’s website or on Amazon. This is a good time to check carefully and then scour the […]

Winter Borscht

I woke up from a forgotten dream, but for the rest of the day I couldn’t stop thinking of my grandmother’s borscht. What is it about food memories? I hadn’t thought of this soup in decades, but then I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I knew every flavor in this soup before I found the recipe in the avocado green metal recipe box. And there was another word knocking around my head. Flanken. When Mary would make soup, and there were only six in her repertoire – matzo ball in deeply flavored chicken broth; split pea, no ham – maybe hot dogs; vegetable barley with beef; and beefy borscht. There were two exceptional cold soups, too, but with snow flurries, cold days and […]

cooking with friends

We had houseguests this weekend. Perfect houseguests. I have known Catherine and Jerry since we were in our very early careers. When we were in our 20s and early 30s. When we wore clothes with very large Joan Collins padded shoulders (!!) We lost touch, then reconnected a few years back, and fell right back into a comfortable friendship. Catherine and I cooked together all those decades ago, and picked up the same rhythm this weekend, spending Friday evening plotting our menu, and Saturday executing it. Inspired by Jerusalem, the marvelous new cookbook, and her recollections of meals in Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt, we put together a mezza feast, with nine dishes, some from the cookbook, and others from Food52. (Ttwo of the Food52 […]

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good food, good friends, giving thanks

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, which is probably common for people who love to cook. It’s a giant stage on which we do a soliloquy, expressing ourselves with burnished birds and burbling pies and happy bellies. This year, I’m particularly aware of the “thanks” part, and wish to focus on the “giving.” Too late, I’m afraid, a friend and I looked for a family for whom we might cook. No one has chimed in yet, but we’re prepared to jump on it, should we get a call today. (Hello, Children’s Hospital? Knollwood? I left your social workers a message.) In the meantime, as I do most years, the plans are underway for a ridiculous amount of cooking. Naturally, like many of you, I will cook […]