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spiced sugared pecans, hostessing, gifting and signed books!

Dear friends, The holidays are upon us. There’s no turning back. There are a few sure ways to make it the jolliest time of the year. And I’ll tell you about that in just a moment. And about some excellent spiced sugared pecans. But first…. let me help you get a special gift for someone on your list. How about a signed copy of Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry? I’m going to be signing and selling and shipping out a limited number of books. Order before December 10 and I’ll mail the book to you or to your giftee. Send me an email  (mrswheelbarrow AT gmail DOT com) with your request, tell me what the inscription should say or who it is going to,  and the […]

beautiful broccoli

freezing broccoli. an often overlooked way to preserve.

In the mid-Atlantic, it’s been an amazing year for broccoli and cauliflower and brussels sprouts – all the members of the cruciferous vegetable family. I was at a farmers market last weekend and I saw beautiful golden, purple, green and white cauliflower. I wish the photo I took had turned out. One of my favorite farmers recently offered a deal on organic broccoli. We eat a lot of broccoli all winter in stir fries and especially in vegetable pie, one of those easy to the table recipes that satisfies every comfort food need. It’s cheesy, it’s crispy, and there are potatoes. With the abundance of beautiful broccoli, I got to work blanching and bagging up this healthy vegetable  so that comfort food could be delivered even faster. […]

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people are cooking from the practical pantry

One week ago was my book birthday and wow it’s been a crazy seven days ever since. I’ve stood in the freezing wind at a few of my favorite farmers markets, meeting new readers and greeting old friends. I’ve been interviewed by Bonnie Benwick, Deputy Editor of the Washington Post Food Section. I’ve traveled to Richmond and the beautiful new Southern Seasons store. And today, right now, I’m sitting in Toronto (there are still tickets available for tonight’s event.) This is it. I’m off on my official book tour. Thursday, November 13, I’ll be at the 92nd St. Y, in conversation with the brilliant and funny Charlotte Druckman. Tickets are still available. Won’t you come say hi? Next weekend, I’m in San Francisco, after which […]

berries frozen

Make and Freeze Blueberry Breakfast Cakes

Let’s talk preparation. The holidays are not far away and a little work now will make all the difference. Blueberry Breakfast Cakes will sit happily in your freezer, defrost overnight and in just a few minutes, warm up for a delicious breakfast. No fuss. No trouble. And you look like a genius host. Some foods just lend themselves to freezing. By the time we get to November, I’ve got a few bags of blanched green beans, roasted corn and frozen blueberries ready to get me through the winter months. (If you haven’t stashed away these foods all summer, there are excellent options available at the grocery store, too. Check the ingredients, make sure there’s no sugar or chemicals, look for organic produce, and the term IQF which means Individually Quick […]

Bowl of pickled veg

Giardiniera Pickle

We’re not done yet. There are still beautiful vegetables to pickle. Make giardiniera, a delicious Italian refrigerator pickle now, and enjoy it all fall. Make it again a week before Thanksgiving and have a crispy, briny, colorful addition to your holiday table. Buy the prettiest cauliflower you can find because that’s the star of this show. Like spicy? Add jalapeno, serrano or even a habenero or scotch bonnet (depending on your heat preference.) Or leave the chiles out. Your choice. Want to use this like Chicagoans do, atop a hot dog? Chop the vegetables extra small. Or, do as I do, and keep them big enough to sneak a snack from the jar on the way to making dinner. Book launch is 10 days away, friends. If you’ve […]

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pickled green tomatoes

Autumn has arrived. It’s glorious. But there is some level of panic, too. It’s all ending. There goes that last truck filled with corn, here comes the first of the kale and pumpkins. Nothing makes me sadder than the tomatoes dwindling and dwindling until there is nothing but a basket of green tomatoes left. Don’t despair. Pickle some green tomatoes instead. xoMrsW Pickled Green Tomatoes Makes 4 quart jars 12 firm green tomatoes, stemmed, cored and cut into 6 or 8 pieces 4 tablespoons dill seed 4 tablespoons celery seed 3 cups white vinegar 6 cups non-chlorinated water 3/4 cup kosher or pickling salt 4 garlic cloves Pack the tomato pieces into the jars. Make ‘em snuggle in there. Add one tablespoon dill seed and one […]