put a ring on it (another giveaway!)

We reorganized yesterday. It took several hours to move all the canning jars from the basement to the garage in preparation for  painters. Moving all those jars was definitely confronting. There has been a lot of canning going on as I test and test and retest every recipe for the book. But I’m not here to talk about recipes or testing. I have a bigger problem. Canning rings are taking over my house. There must be eight or nine hundred rings lurking in four boxes. I’m willing to trade jams, jellies, sauces and more for just one clever idea. Every canning safety site tells us to store jars in a cool, dark space WITHOUT THE RINGS. The idea is a simple one. If something goes […]

from the pantry: new fangled three bean salad

I wish I had some earth shattering news for you. Or some funny little story. Or a photograph of this terrific salad I made up. But I don’t. But how about that free form tart? This is an imperfect blog post. A collection of thoughts, things that I’ve done, learned, eaten. Honestly? Most of my words are going to the book these days. I’ve been writing and cooking and perfecting recipes, recording every step, measuring everything two or three or four times. This is a newly acquired skill. Before starting this book writing process, most of my recipes looked something like this: 2# apr/sour cherry ptd 4c wh sug/honey? 1/2 goosebry 3c rasp (no gold) 1.5#rhub frzn lemon juice And had titles like “June 23 […]

a new trick and a giveaway

I’ve been away from this blog for so long, I feel terrible. I have a million ideas for  posts, but can’t seem to take any photos in a timely manner, so the posts don’t get written even if I’ve put them all together in my head. I have a feeling I’ll be writing plenty once the book deadline has passed (a few more weeks) so look for a lot of new recipes coming soon. And while I don’t have a recipe today, I do have a horticultural tip to pass along. I heard about it at the grocery store. (I was eavesdropping.) Already it’s made me deliriously happy. Do you love hydrangeas? I think they’re the best. If you have them in your yard, or […]

developing an aesthetic

Rhubarb is coming into the markets, summer is just around the corner and I’m five months from my deadline date. Back in October, I started working on Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry (W.W. Norton, 2014.) Whatever I might have thought about writing a book, it’s much harder than I imagined, and much more rewarding. I’m going through old notebooks of recipe scribbles, testing favorite recipes again and again, and writing all the time. I love this process and I can’t wait to share the book with all of you. But testing and writing recipes are just a small a part of making a book. Nothing  happens without a brilliant team. My editor, Maria Guarnaschelli, is bringing her eagle eye to the project – sharpening the focus, […]

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 […]