canning

easy peach jam

It happens like clockwork every year, that moment when the first whisper of fall comes crashing in. The calendar may not have officially changed seasons yet, but the breezy winds, and cooler nights made their way to the Cape a couple of days ago. This has been the pattern for most of the 18 years I’ve been coming here. Of course, summer doesn’t disappear without a fight, especially back in New York City. I’m sure we’ll be swapping sweaters for swimsuits again next week.

The change in weather gave me a bit of a panic attack the other day. We’ve had some wonderful trips this summer, but all the packing, unpacking, on and off planes, means I missed a good deal of my local growing season. Translation: my cupboards are dismally low on home-canned goodies. Thankfully, I stumbled upon some incredible peaches at the farmers’ market in Provincetown this past weekend, proving the window has not yet closed on my canning opportunities. Continue reading »

clementine rosemary marmalade {day 175}

Week 24 kicked my ass. There’s no way to put it nicely. It’s as though a storm cloud settled over my emotions when the first snowfall came a week ago, and it took the better part of the week to dig myself free. I’ve undoubtedly had many moments the last 175 days that have tested my resiliency, but I’m generally good about shaking them off, rolling up my sleeves and tending to the work at hand.

Not this week.

Mikey’s birthday is weighing heavily on my mind. On February 7th, he should be turning 52.

Should, but now his ashes are ageless. No wrinkles to be seen. No more flecks of silverish-grey to slowly weave their way through his dark brown hair.

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preserving cherries {part three}

I promise you we're getting closer to that cherry slushy I keep promising you. I must confess, this whole idea of posting a series on cherries seemed like a good idea when I first started out. The problem is I get easily distracted by all the new finds at the farmers' market each week. I'm also a little distracted after the past weekend's festivities. Those of you who made it to Big Summer Potluck this weekend know what I'm talking about, and if you didn't, then I've got some lovely people to introduce you to soon.

But back to the cherries, before the season ends.

This week's theme for Summer Fest 2011 is…drum roll please…cherries! So not only do you get the joy of making this conserve, but you get a whole list of links for more cherry recipes too. It's a win-win, when you think about it.

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preserving cherries {part two}

I lost my maraschino virginity about seven years ago.

I remember the day, as any girl would one that changes her life forever. I'd been browsing through Barnes & Noble when I saw a new cocktail book, and immediately recognized the name. It was by Nick Mautone, the guy who gave me my break in the New York City restaurant scene. I saw an ad in the New York Times back in 1999 for a hostess and reservationist opening at Gramercy Tavern. I'd been personal cheffing for a year, and decided it would be a good idea to learn some front of house skills to roundout my knowledge of what it takes to feed people.

Restaurant experiences are about so much more than the meal. I appreciate this now even more when a sitter is on the hook for $15 an hour.

But I digress.

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preserving cherries {part one}

This blasted heatwave has me worried, and not for the reasons any sane individual would think. Frankly, it's cramping by canning schedule. Who wants to boil pots of water to properly seal jars?

Not me.

Next week we'll talk about making maraschino cherries and an irresistable cherry conserve, which is the base for making homemade cherry slushies. Today calls for something that doesn't require adding more heat to fan the flames of the sun's rays.

Thankfully there's more than one way to preserve a cherry (and strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, really the list goes on and on). When I remodeled the kitchen a few years back, I purposely sought out a fridge and freezer that could hold my half sheet pans. I'm really glad I thought ahead, because right now chances are you'll find a tray in my freezer, similar to the one you see above, at any given moment.

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preserving a way of life

This past Saturday started somewhat normal. I rose at an abnormal hour for a weekend day, this time feeling a bit more tired and slow-moving, having played cruise director to Isabella. Since the whistle blew last Tuesday at noon, my life has been kids, kids and more kids.

Wednesday we trekked to Harlem to visit Kim. I think I was more excited about this playdate than Isabella. I was happy and at peace, sitting across from one of my best friends while the girls played.

Thursday we walked the High Line and cooled off with some stracciatella from L'Arte del Gelato and plum syrup soaked shaved ice from People's Pops.

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in season {strawberries & jam making}

If I were a guy, I'd feel like summer kicked me in the nuts. Just a few weeks ago, I was bundled in a winter coat and scarf while rummaging through root vegetables at the farmers' market. This past Saturday, sweat dripped from my brow as I strolled through the market, sizing up the first batch of spring peas and sniffing these ruby red strawberries, it made me feel like someone pressed the fast forward button.

Don't get me wrong, I'm excited enough to do cart-wheels at the thought of strawberries. Well, actually, I don't know how to do a cart wheel. I should add that to my bucket list.

Yesterday morning, as I sat at the breakfast table with the Mr. and girls at the breakfast table, plucking berries from the bowl, I started thinking about what I will do with them. A few people have chimed in on my last post—there's a cool giveaway too which ends tonight, and mentioned they'd like to try making jam.

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homemade whole grain mustard

While shopping today, I had another one of those moments.

You know, the kind where insanity takes over and beats all reason and sense into the recesses of my mind.

I added mustard to my pantry shopping list after noticing there was just a teaspoon or two left in the jar. I've been quite happy with Maille for years. That was until today, when faced with forking over $3 for a jar, I decided to put the mustard seeds I had at home to good use.

I'd been meaning to make it ever since I came across the recipe in Heidi's new book Super Natural Every Day. By the way, this book has not left my countertop since the review proofs came in January. Now that it's officially released, you must scoop up a copy for yourself.

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meyer lemon, ginger & mint marmalade

The things we do for love. In this case, I found myself digging through the kitchen trash bin to figure out exactly how many lemons I used for this recipe. Thankfully it was a new bag, and the only items mingling about were a paper towel and rinds from the morning’s grapefruit.

So why was I rifling through garbage to make this marmalade you’re wondering?

People often ask how I create new recipes. There are many ways, but the most important advice I can give is get to know your ingredients. Tasting ingredients, both on their own, and in new and different combinations, is the best way to build your tastebuds’ memory files. As this catalog of flavors grows, so will your imagination as you stroll through grocery stores and farmers’ markets.

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maple syrup poached peaches

Peaches…in the dead of winter, you’re wondering, right? It’s one of the benefits of hoarding them last summer. I ran out of room in the pantry to store cans, and after putting up 60 somewhat jars of jams, tomatoes, pickles, and yes, peaches, the freezer fell victim to my quest to preserve summer as long as humanly possible.

With luck, I will have enough until the summer’s first rays of sun and warmth coax new seedlings to sprout. 

My sweet tooth was short-circuited this last holiday season. I’ve never hit a wall with wanting a cookie or something sugary, but alas the day finally came. I swear someone hit my reset button, like what happened to Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story 3.

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