Kitchen Projects

IMG_6946

secrets to successful canning (and a giveaway, too)

Bet that title got your attention. I’ve been thinking, as the season gets going, and I make a few batches of jam and pickles, just to flex my muscles before teaching. And a few more batches to test some recipes. As I go through the motions, get my natural rhythms and instinctive moves fired up, as I doe-si-doe in my kitchen, I realize I’ve developed a whole choreography over the years, and I bet you will, or have already, too. Today, I’m sharing ten things that get me through the canning season. My ten commandments of canning. 1. Time management. Don’t try to can when you are rushed. If you get slammed at work and can’t get home to make the  jam, don’t fret – […]

IMG_6930

what to do with lamb belly

When Craig Rogers, the Pied Piper shepherd of Border Springs, sent me four good sized lamb bellies, I was intrigued. Craig’s exceptional lamb is familiar to diners all along the Eastern seaboard. Just check out the offerings at Bourbon Steak DC, Volt, or Husk. It’s good enough to be named right there on the menu. I’ll admit it, I was way beyond intrigued, I was thrilled. Seriously – what an opportunity! What fun! What a challenge! Lamb belly. An interesting cut, fatty and flavorful and very adaptable. It’s also called lamb breast, and resembles veal breast in many ways. In fact, I wonder if the nomenclature is a nod to the US’ fascination with pork belly? Hm. Marketing. Looking at the meat, I could tell […]

dc food bloggers bake sale

If you’re in Washington, DC, please plan to come to the DC Food Bloggers Bake Sale this Thursday, April 26, from 2-6PM. And tell all your friends! Neighbors! Co-workers!Blog about it! Facebook! Thanks to our friends in the Food Section, we’ll be at the Washington Post building, 1150 15th Street NW, right inside, on the first floor. (Psst. Look for A GIANT Cookie to show you the way.) It’s all for such a good cause – Share Our Strength’s Great American Bake Sale National Campaign to end childhood hunger in America. And every cent we raise will go to Share Our Strength. Our bake sale is part of a larger national food bloggers bake sale campaign, and we’re aiming to have the highest grossing bake […]

IMG_6783

canning tuna at home

For most of my cooking life, canned tuna has been a very useful pantry item. Tonnato sauce with the first rose veal of the season. Salade nicoise for a ladies lunch. Or an incomparable tuna noodle casserole. Back many decades ago, the summer between sophomore and junior year of college, I moved to the beach. I worked in the bars, both waitressing and bartending. It was a crazy time, hard work, long hours, multiple jobs, good money, and I was banking every cent for the next year in school. My apartment was kind of scary, but the kitchen was functional. Even at 19, I knew that cooking for myself was cheaper than eating out. I existed on fresh salads, cheese and bread. I usually got […]

*carmen_miranda

tropical fruit preserves

Imagine Carmen Miranda’s fruit filled hat. Then imagine preserving it. That’s pretty much how it all started. There was a large display of champagne mangoes at Whole Foods. And beyond the mangoes, there was a cart, big and wooden, with a tent shaped roof. All the tropical fruits were displayed there. Coconuts, pomelo, small extremely sweet bananas, grapefruit, papaya, green skinned mangoes, melons of all sorts, blood oranges and Ugli fruit. It was like cruising the breakfast bar at Club Med. In the 1940s, when bananas were the first mass market tropical fruit imported, the famous (ear-wormish) Chiquita banana song was aired to help people learn how to eat and keep bananas. Nowhere in this jingle is there anything about making preserves, but it’s still […]

IMG_6543

ginger confit

For the last several years, I have examined my food purchasing carefully. I’ve done everything I can to embrace living locally, knowing and supporting my farmers. I’ve joined CSAs, gone to farmers’ markets in snow and rain. I’ve held fast against Trader J’s styrofoam and plastic wrapping. And refused to buy at Whole YouKnowWhat when they offered only apples from Argentina – in August – during local apple season. Being part of the lower carbon footprint food chain makes me feel as though I am participating in something bigger than me. Yet, every year, I stepped outside that 100 mile radius for one fruit, for the glorious, juicy, floral sweet taste unlike anything else, the champagne mango.* They are intoxicating and I can’t quit them. […]