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National Can It Forward Day, Quickles, and a Giveaway

I just love pickles. Sweet, sour, or half sour. Pickle relish. Piccalilli. Cornichons. Incendiary Lime Pickle. Branston Pickle. The more the merrier. I don’t even know when I learned to make them. It seems I always have. I remember having a vat of pickles in the closet of my college apartment. The sweet pickle of my childhood. Then I learned about half sour (lacto-fermented) cucumber pickles – so easy to make, one jar at a time. That led to sauerkraut and kimchi for the healthy reasons and so much more. These terrific briny foods work for me. Yes, all that lacto fermenting is wonderful, but when the cucumbers of summer are gone, and it’s impossible to find anything but those suspiciously plastic wrapped seedless things, […]

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an old fashioned grocer, amazing pork and spicy plum sauce

Where have all the grocers gone? When I was a little girl, my grandmother would go to Shorling’s every Friday morning to pick up her weekend groceries. I accompanied her in the summertime, lingering over the pretty food. The guys working in the produce aisle would have samples to nibble while we shopped. Watermelon, sweet cherries, cantalope. Locally grown, of course. The neighborhood grocer. They were everywhere in America. There was a helpful person in every department ready to answer your questions. At every moment, the produce, meats, breads were presented beautifully. Nothing was wrapped in styrofoam and plastic – it was all paper bags and butcher paper and twine. The butcher was a big fellow with enormous hands. He would grind beef – mixing […]

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charcutepalooza august challenge. binding.

Remarkable sausages have been made in the last three months. Really, you Charcutepalooza folks are making the most amazing foods. And taking gorgeous photos. Makes me want to sit at your dinner tables. Every last one of you. The Binding challenge will move us away from sausages, and use all those mad charcuterie skills you’ve developed. We’ll be making terrines. Molded, formed, weighted, chilled, sliced, and served cold. And bound with gelatin, egg whites, or natural gel from bone stock. This month, you have an opportunity to show us what you’ve got. Make the most of the pre-sen-ta-tion (do you hear my French accent? see my arms waving about?) It’s the perfect month – hot and steamy August – to celebrate chilled charcuterie. The Apprentice […]

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admiration of the apricot (four preserving projects)

I adore apricots. I ate my first fresh apricot at 19, in Paris, and it transformed me. Until then, I didn’t realize an apricot was available in any way other than dried. I know that must seem ridiculous. There’s a battle going on in my head – is my favorite fruit an apricot or a sour cherry? These two fruits share a short availability, both early in July, and then – sadly – they are gone until next year. And their flavors are unmatched. When I saw the lovely little blushing apricots at the market last week, I took home four pounds. I ate a lot of them right then and there, and had to stop myself to make sure there were three pounds left […]

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chocolate raspberry hand pies for a pie party

The delightful and whimsical Shauna Ahern, she of the Gluten Free Girl cookbooks, declared today Pie Party day. And I’ve never turned away from pie, or a party, for that matter. If you’ve been reading this blog, you know there are many pies made in this kitchen. There’s my blue ribbon sour cherry pie, the regular rotation Hippie pie, chick pea pot pie, and tarts galore. But this weekend’s pie was a party indeed. I used all the tricks I learned in the making of the chocolate raspberry preserves, and put it to work in a hand pie. You’ll find the recipe on food52, where I’ve entered it in the weekly recipe contest, this week’s theme is the glorious raspberry. So, here’s my suggestion. Make […]

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a dalliance with dilly beans

People either love them or have never heard of them. People raised with a vegetable garden are most familiar with a dilly bean. When you grow beans, the dilly bean is ammunition against plants that produce green beans every time you turn your back. Where every day’s harvest is a big heap of beans. Don’t despair. Dilly them. And then put the crispy, vinegary, spicy delights in a Bloody Mary, alongside your pulled pork barbeque, or eat them right out of the jar. They are a great balancing element on a cheese and charcuterie plate, or wherever you might serve a dill pickle. This was my first canning project ever. I can still remember it – standing up on a kitchen stool, next to my […]