WEEKEND DIY :: Orange Marmalade

marmalade This time of year, the best way to boost your pantry is to step outside our local sources and reach for some citrus. As winter draws to a close, we could all use a little zing, and this recipe for orange marmalade is zingy and versatile.

The secret to a good marmalade is in your preparation. Make sure to leave time to peel and slice your fruit properly, and reserve the seeds for an added boost of pectin. You can leave the citrus rinds as thick or thin as you prefer, but I like long thin slivers in my marmalade. This recipe is a great marmalade basic that will leave chewy rinds suspended in clear orange jelly. You may use any oranges you like. I love Valencias for their heavy juice, or Cara Cara, whose rind smells and tastes like a traditional orange but whose fruit gives a lovely red tone.

This basic marmalade recipe can be modified to suit you with the addition of spices or booze. A splash of bourbon stirred in at the end will smooth out the bitterness of the citrus and give the marmalade some depth. You may also add a vanilla bean to the pot, infusing the fruit with a round sweetness from the beans. A whole clove or two also complements the citrus, offering a bit of warm spice to the jar.

Marmalade is a great pantry staple because of its ability to be served with sweet or savory foods. Use this on your toast, or smear a layer on the bottom of a sweet tart. You can also add fresh garlic and water to the marmalade for a fresh-tasting glaze for fish, chicken, or duck. I also serve marmalade on cheese plates alongside a soft creamy cheese.

Orange Marmalade

Makes about 4 half pints start to finish: 1 hour + overnight

2 pounds oranges, scrubbed 1 lemon, scrubbed 3 cups water 2 to 3 cups sugar

With a vegetable peeler, remove the outer peel from both the oranges and the lemon, avoiding the white pith. When done, stack peels, cut into very thin strips and toss into a large pot. Cut the peeled fruits into halves. Extract the seeds and juice from each half, placing the seeds into a muslin bag and reserving the juiced halves. Pour the juice from the fruit into your pot, along with the muslin bag of reserved seeds. Add all of the juiced lemon halves, and 4 of the juiced orange halves. (Adding the juiced citrus halves aids in adding pectin to the marmalade.) Add the water and set over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer, cooking until the rinds are soft, about 30 minutes. Cover the pot and put in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight.

The next morning, measure the marmalade. For every cup of citrus and liquid, add 3/4 cup of sugar to the pot. Return the pot to medium-low heat and cook down the mixture. Skim off any foam that forms and stir the marmalade often. Put a plate into the freezer for testing the set. Cook until the marmalade gels, 30 to 60 minutes.

While marmalade is cooking, prepare jars and lids for canning by washing in hot soapy water. To test the marmalade, remove the plate from the freezer, spoon a small amount onto the cold plate, and let it sit a moment. Push the marmalade with your fingertip. If a wrinkle forms in the jelly, the marmalade is done. If it is loose and runny, keep cooking and stirring until thickened. When your desired consistency is reached, remove the muslin bag of seeds and the citrus halves, squeezing any excess juice into the pot. You can compost your solids.

Add the hot marmalade to the jars. Using a damp clean towel, wipe the rims of the jars, and place lids and rings on the jars. Process in a water bath for 10 minutes. Remove the jars with tongs and let them cool on the counter. When cooled, remove the metal rings,check for proper seals, and label with date and contents. Store in a cool, dark cupboard until ready to use, for up to a year. Store in the fridge after opening.

Batido Recipe - a Better Breakfast

chamomileAs a food writer, cook and an urban farmer, most people assume I eat well all the time. It is my job to test recipes, eat out and harvest seasonal produce and any day finds me doing any combination of these work tasks. While it is likely true that I do eat well (comparatively speaking) for someone who grows and cooks food for a living I am often astonished at my poor nutrition. There are plenty of occasions where I will skip a meal, forget to drink water the entire day or succumb to ‘Popcorn Dinners’ because I am too tired or lazy to cook after a long day running around. Breakfast, for the most part, is my downfall. My mornings are full with answering emails and getting organized for my day, a cup of coffee in hand. It is often the case that I’m flying out the door, laptop in one hand, bow rake in another before I remember that I forgot to eat. I hate those mornings because inevitably, I’m already late and don’t have time. And to be perfectly honest, I don’t even like breakfast. I never have. Eating a meal in the morning is often too much for my stomach and if anything, I want something light and digestible, especially because we all know breakfast is the most important meal of the day. When I’m in a rush or don’t feel like sitting down to eat, I whip up a nutritionally dense and super easy breakfast-on-the-go – a batido.

Batidos are chilled drinks made with fruit and milk. I add some fiber to mine by shaking in flax meal and every so often, I’ll add a raw egg. Yes, a raw egg. Eggs add protein and calories to an already light meal and also give the ‘shake’ body and froth. I make certain to purchase eggs from local, organic farmers and I’m still alive to tell you about it so I must be doing something right. Just try it – you’ll like it. This is one of my favorite batido combinations and it's perfect for winter, as it relies on dried fruit and flower buds - both available in the bulk section of your local co-op.

Excerpted from Urban Pantry: Tips & Recipes for a Thrifty, Sustainable & Seasonal Kitchen By Amy Pennington, Skipstone 2010

Fig & Flower Batido

1/2 cup milk 4 dried or fresh figs, quartered 1 teaspoon dried chamomile flowers (optional) 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seed Spoonful of flax meal 4 ice cubes

Combine the ingredients for your chosen combination in a blender and whiz on the lowest setting for 2 minutes or so. After the ice is fairly broken up, switch to a higher speed (purée or liquefy) for 3 to 4 minutes. Letting your blender run this long ensures that you won’t be stuck sucking on big ice cubes and that you’ll incorporate enough air to make the drink fluffy, so it feels like a proper frozen drink. Pour into a glass or a to-go thermos and hit the ground running.

Pantry Note: Adding fresh herbs or flower leaves to batidos is not only delicious, but adds a new flavor for your palate. Try mint, scented geranium, or garden roses. Flax meal is used only as an addition of fiber, so feel free to omit if you prefer.

Holiday Nibbles - Spiced Pecans

pecansI absolutely LOVE this time of year. I crave the hustle bustle, the busy sidewalks and I don't even mind standing in line at the post office, but most importantly I love being social. Dropping in on friends or hosting small fetes is what the season is all about and I hope this post finds you all in full swing and with peace of mind. I wanted to share one of my favorite all time recipes that works beautifully for holiday noshing and is perfect for any last-minute plans or too-lazy-to-cook attitudes. These Spiced Pecans, from my first book Urban Pantry, are at once sweet and spicy. First fried in a small amount of oil, they are then coated in sugar, producing a hard crackling. From there, cooked nuts are quickly tossed with a mixture of sugar and moroccan spices that I promise you are irresistible. Many recipes are good - this one is GREAT. You must try it.

Spiced Pecans

(Makes 1 cup, and easily doubles)

I owe this recipe to my good friend Rusty Blackwood—a man who pulls together a mean flower arrangement and has a keen understanding of Moroccan food. He made these nuts at an import sale years ago, and I couldn’t pull myself away from the buffet table to shop. I emailed him in a fit to get the recipe, and he promptly responded—from poolside in Marrakech. This is the perfect recipe to pack for a camping trip or to serve alongside a cheese platter, fancying up the boring cheese-and-cracker platters that have become a near epidemic as of late. These spiced pecans are also wonderful served crumbled over any green salad.

4 tablespoons sugar for pan, plus 2 tablespoons for bowl 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon ground cayenne 1 teaspoon ground turmeric 1 teaspoon ground paprika 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg 1 teaspoon salt 1/4 cup peanut oil 1 cup shelled pecans

Before you start, measure out your sugar and spices and have ready a large glass bowl. You’ll need to work quickly once the nuts are toasted.

Cover the bottom of a large, deep-sided sauté pan with the peanut oil; let it pool a bit. Heat over medium-high and, when the oil is beginning to ripple slightly, toss in the pecans, stirring continuously so they don’t burn. When the pecans start to smoke and brown, add 4 tablespoons of the sugar and toss, toss, toss! You don’t want to burn that sugar.

After the sugar is dissolved and the nuts are well coated, use a slotted spoon and put the nuts in the glass bowl with the remaining sugar and the measured-out spices and salt. Working quickly, stir to combine. When the mixture has cooled slightly, taste and adjust the flavors, making them more salty-spicy to your liking. Pour the spiced pecans onto a sheet pan to cool. When completely cooled, store them in a glass jar in the cupboard.

Pantry Note: You can easily multiply this recipe for bigger batches. Spices can be swapped as well. If you don’t have turmeric, for example, try curry powder or garam masala. These candied nuts keep nearly indefinitely but taste freshest when eaten within four to six weeks.

Photo Credit: Della Chen Photography

Excerpted from Urban Pantry: Tips & Recipes for a Thrifty, Sustainable & Seasonal Kitchen, Skipstone 2010

 

 

 

Spiced Apple Chutney Recipe

spiced apple chutneyI've been knee-deep in apple season already this year, eating them fresh and dehydrating some for snacking. Varieties come and go as the weather changes, and some are only available early on so you have to grab them while you can. (Like this petite Akane apples from eastern Washington.) Preserving is a great way to extend the season and I've been teaching around Seattle this fall. This recipe is included in my recent book, APPLES - From Harvest to Table from St. Martin's Press. It makes good use of hard and bitter cider apples, but any firm apple will do. My brother & his family just harvested Jonamac's from an orchard in upstate NY and I think they'd be perfect, too.

spiced apple chutney, from APPLES - From Harvest to Table

Chutneys are savory fruit-based spreads often used in Indian cuisine. Here, apples are perfumed with commanding winter spices. This fragrant chutney has a bit of a heat from red pepper flakes and cayenne pepper. Cider apples make the best chutney, as they are tart and firm and hold their shape after cooking.

Suggested varieties: If you can’t find cider apples, substitute another firm apple like Granny Smith or the English variety Bramley's Seedling.

Makes about 6 half-pint jars

2 tablespoons olive oil 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped 1 teaspoon salt 2 pounds cider apples, cored and cut into small dice 12 whole cloves 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1⁄2 teaspoon curry powder 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cardamom 1⁄2 teaspoon red pepper flakes 1⁄4 teaspoon ground allspice 1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper 2 teaspoon mustard seeds, coarsely ground 2 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger 1⁄2 cup raisins
1 cup apple cider vinegar 1⁄2 cup brown sugar

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and salt and sauté until the onion starts to brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the apples and sauté until they start to brown, another 10 to 12 minutes. Add all of the spices, ginger, and raisins, stirring for 2 minutes to incorporate. Add the apple cider vinegar and brown sugar. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until the mixture is thick and the apples are very soft but still hold their shape, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Fill clean, sterilized jars with chutney, leaving ½ inch head space. Using a damp, clean towel, wipe the rims of the jars, and top them with lids and rings, being sure not to tighten the rings all the way. Leave a bit of torque so air bubbles can escape. Process in a water bath for 10 minutes. Remove the jars with tongs and let them all cool on the counter. Once the jars are cool, make sure the seals are secure. Sealed jars may be stored in a cool dark cupboard for up to 1 year.

Canning How To - Prepping & Sealing Jars

urban pantryCanning 101EXCERPTED FROM URBAN PANTRY
 BY AMY PENNINGTON (SKIPSTONE 2010)

This is a step-by-step guide to water-bath canning at home. There are a few options to choose from, but all work well. Be sure to set up your jars and workspace beforehand so you can establish a rhythm. Also, be mindful of the processing times given in each recipe.

For recipe inspiration, check out my tested recipes for Boozy Blood Orange Marmalade, Spiced Apple Chutney or Foraging & Preserving Nettles. Or here for tips on preserving fruit in alcohol.

CLEANING JARS
  Wash your jars and lids in hot soapy water and set them to dry completely on a rack or on a clean dish towel.

PREPARING JARS
  Glass jars and lids do not need to be sterilized before use if your foodstuffs will be processed more than 10 minutes in a boiling water bath or pressure canner. If jar-processing time is 10 minutes or less, jars must be sterilized before filling.

Do this by placing jars in a canning pot, filling with water, and bringing water to simmer. Hold jars in water until ready to use. Conversely, I always hold just-washed jars in a 225-degree oven until ready to use. This is not recommended by the USDA, but I’m still alive to give you the option.

FILLING THE JARS
  All canned goods will need headspace to allow for expansion of the food and to create a vacuum in cooling jars. As a general rule, leave 1/4-inch of headspace on all jams and jellies and 1/2-inch of headspace on all whole fruits. When using whole fruits, release air bubbles in just-filled jars by tapping the jar on the counter or by inserting a wooden chopstick or skewer into the jar and gently stirring the fruit.

Canning Peppers

When placing lids and rings on canning jars, do not overtighten the rings. Secure just until rings have tension and feel snug. Overtightening will not allow air to vent from the jars—a crucial step in canning.

HEATING THE CANNING POT
  Fill your canning pot or a deep stockpot half full of water and heat to a low boil. Hold the liquid on a very low boil until ready to use.

FILLING THE CANNING POT  
If using a canning pot, place prepared jars of food on the rack in the canner. Do not stack, as you need to allow for circulation of water for proper sealing. Lower jars into the canning pot, and add enough water to cover the jar tops by an inch or more. Cover the pot and return to a boil. Processing times begin once the canning-pot water is brought back up to a boil. This can take as long as 15 minutes, so be sure to keep an eye on your pot and a timer nearby. 

You may also use a deep stockpot (best only in small-batch preserving) by lining the bottom of the pot with a dish towel and placing jars on top. This helps keep jars from clanging around on the bottom of the pot or tumbling over onto their sides. This form of canning is not universally recommended or endorsed by the USDA. I have seen plenty of farmers and European country folk use this old-school technique, and I’ve adapted their laissez-faire ways.

REMOVING SEALED JARS  
Using a jar lifter, or a set of kitchen tongs, remove jars from the canner when the processing time has elapsed. (Remember, processing times begin once the canning-pot water is brought back up to a boil.) Set jars aside on a folded towel to cool. Make sure you do not press on the tops and create an artificial seal.

Knowing when jars are sealed. You’ll hear the sound of can tops popping shortly—a sign that a secure seal has been made. Once the jars are cool, check the seal by removing the outer ring and lifting the jar by holding only the lid. If it stays intact, you have successfully canned your food. If the seal is loose or broken, you may reprocess in the water bath within twenty-four hours. (Be sure to replace the lid and check the jar rim for cracks or nicks and replace if necessary.) Conversely, you can refrigerate the jar immediately and use within three weeks.

LABELING AND STORAGE
  Once cool, label all jars with date and contents. [After years of frustration with lame labels, I designed canning labels that are cute, functional & don't leave sticky glue behind.] Successfully sealed jars should be stored in a cool dark place, such as a cupboard. Officially, canned goods keep for up to a year, but I have let them go a bit longer with little effect.

preserved lemon + label

How to Download Fresh Pantry on Your eReader

Here is some great information on how to download my book series to your e-Reader! You may purchase two different types of files from my site - an ePub file and a Kindle file. ePub = Flowing digital file, capable of changing to fit the screen size of your device. Before you download your file, please download Adobe Digital Editions and create an account. When you download your purchased book, a small file ending in .acsm will be saved to your computer. Open this file in Adobe Digital Editions or simply double click on the file. Your eBook will open in your ADE reader application. Once your file has opened in your ADE reader software, you will be able to bookmark, print, copy, read, and fully enjoy your new eBook purchase. To read on a iOS or Android smart phone or tablet, please download the free app, BlueFire Reader and read detailed transfer instructions here.

Kindle = A DRM free mobi file downloaded first to your computer, and then transfered to your Kindle via your Kindle USB cord. See instructions for adding mobi files to your particular Kindle here.

Can I read my eBook on a Nook?
eBooks managed with the Adobe Digital Editions software may also be installed on popular eReaders such as the Barnes & Noble Nook. For more information about installing your eBook on your eReader, please watch this nookTalk video.
Can I read my eBook on an Apple iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch or Android smart phone?
To read Mountaineers Books eBooks on your iOS or Android device, download the free app, BlueFire Reader. Once the app is installed you will be able to read any of our DRM protected eBooks—including books from other publishers, most online book stores, and leading libraries around the world. For those who have a free Dropbox account (file sharing software) you can easily move our PDF ebooks from your home computer to your Dropbox account, and then open them in iBooks on your iPad. Read the instructions here.For detailed instructions regarding transferring your eBook to your iOS or Android device, please read the excellent write-up with step-by-step instructions about transferring files to Bluefire Reader at the Dear Author website.

Onion Thyme Tart

Fall is HERE, and I have the wool sweaters to prove it. Makes me crave fall-food - anything cozy and warm, like this quick and simple Onion Thyme Tart from Urban Pantry as published in Leite's Culinaria. Puff pastry is a delicate, flaky pastry made by folding layers of butter between layers of dough. Puff is an excellent staple to keep in your frozen pantry, as it can be used for both sweet and savory dishes. I made it once (a very laborious process!), then decided that I’d rather save time and buy it from the freezer section of my local grocer. I consider it my lazy food: it’s quick-baking, takes little effort to embellish, and is a great shortcut for serving a crowd. I serve this Onion Thyme Tart recipe as a complement to soup or salad or for an easy pre-dinner nibble.–Amy Pennington

from Leite's Culinaria Pretty as a Picture: We have a thing for simplicity. At least when it takes the shape of this stunning, conversation-stopping tart strewn with sweetly burnished onions and traces of fresh thyme. That’s not to say you can’t embellish this five-ingredient phenomenon from Amy Pennington, whether with a crumbling of feta or goat or blue cheese, a splash of balsamic, maybe even…well, we’ll let you fill in the blank. Although speaking of perfection, why is it that the photos we snap of our dinner or other random moments of the day never turn out as lovely as the one above, taken by the talented Della Chen?

Hands-on time: 20 minutes | Total time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

Onion Thyme Tart Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 whopping big yellow onions, cut into thin half moons
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 to 7 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped and chopped
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, defrosted but kept cool (Editor’s Note: Splurge on the all-butter puff pastry from Dufour. Pepperidge Farm has too many ingredients–none of them butter–for us to feel good about.)

Directions

  • 1. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and stir continuously until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle in the salt and continue stirring until the onions release their moisture and the pan becomes more and more dry. When this happens, add half of the thyme and reduce the heat to medium low. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until caramelized and golden, 30 to 40 minutes or so. (If the onions start to brown, reduce the heat as low as your stove goes.) Remove from the heat and set aside
  • 2. Preheat the oven to 350°F (176° C). Adjust the oven rack to the center position.
  • 3. Unfold the sheet of defrosted puff pastry on a parchment-lined baking sheet. You may wish to run a rolling pin over it a couple times just to even the dough. Scatter the top evenly with the onions.
  • 4. Bake the tart for 25 to 35 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown and flaky. Remove it from the oven, sprinkle the remaining thyme over the top, and let it cool for 10 minutes before slicing into small squares for serving. (Any leftover tart can be kept at room temperature, lightly covered with parchment. Best to crisp it in an oven or toaster oven prior to nibbling.)

Wall Street Journal - In My Kitchen

wall street journal pic In honor of the article published this weekend in the awesome Wall Street Journal, where I compare chefs abuse of bacon to showing off cleavage, I tap out this little excerpt from my first book, Urban Pantry from the "Stocking the Pantry" Section.

BACON. I keep a pound of slab bacon in my freezer and cut off little bits at a time for cooking. It's great in a pot of beans or lentils.

Bacon! An absolute must in the pantry!

Special thanks to writer Charlotte Druckman for coming to my home, sitting at my table and talking up a storm. And, of course, uber-photographer Della Chen. Check out her projects via Eater.

MOM’S SOFT-BOILED EGGS-N-TOAST :: FROM URBAN PANTRY

The holiday season is upon us and it seems every magazine, website and book is pimping out some serious recipe advice on how to roast the best turkey, how to cook Christmas table standards like rib roast and offering cookies ideas galore. While I am often asked to weigh in on what I serve (Rutabaga Gratin, of course!) I find it more strategic and interesting to talk about what ELSE we should be eating during the holidays. While we gather out over cocktails and linger over meals with friends, it is breakfast and lunch that often get ignored during this season. My personal strategy is to eat light and eat healthy, never missing a meal. This cuts down on late night indulgence, but also fuels me through the long days without bonking. soft boiled eggs, Urban Pantry

As a kid, soft eggs were one of my most favorite meals and my mom made it perfectly, complete with a large cut of butter. I was reminded of the recipe recently when Leite's Culinaria asked if they could reprint it. I read everyones comments after the post and loved them; they affirmed to me that this recipe is golden. I hope this year you'll remember to eat well (!), drink water (!), take care of yourself (!) and give my Mom's Soft Boiled Eggs 'n Toast a go.

Mom's Soft-Boiled Eggs-n-Toast - excerpted from Urban Pantry

photo by Della Chen

  • 2 eggs, per person
  • unsalted butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • Toast, if desired

Place the eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. For a medium-set egg in which the yolk will be runny and the whites a bit loose, cook for 1 minute (yes, just 1 minute!). If you prefer a firmer white, leave it for another 20 to 30 seconds, then remove immediately. Run the egg under cold water until cool enough to handle.

Using the back of a knife, gently crack the egg’s shell. Once the shell is cracked, use a knife to slice through and cut the egg in half. Scoop out the egg using a small spoon and serve in a bowl with a hunk of butter and a generous dose of salt and pepper. Toast is a nice partner for these eggs.

 

Water Bath Canning 101

Water-Bath Canning 101 This is a step-by-step guide to water-bath canning at home. There are a few options to choose from, but all work well. Be sure to set up your jars and workspace beforehand so you can establish a rhythm. Also, be mindful of the processing times given in each recipe.

CLEANING JARS. Wash your jars and lids in hot soapy water and set them to dry completely on a rack or on a clean dish towel.

PREPARING JARS. Glass jars and lids do not need to be sterilized before use if your foodstuffs will be processed more than 10 minutes in a boiling water bath or pressure canner. If jar-processing time is 10 minutes or less, jars must be sterilized before filling. Do this by placing jars in a canning pot, filling with water, and bringing water to simmer. Hold jars in water until ready to use. Conversely, I always hold just-washed jars in a 225-degree oven until ready to use. This is not recommended by the USDA, but I’m still alive to give you the option.

FILLING THE JARS. All canned goods will need headspace to allow for expansion of the food and to create a vacuum in cooling jars. As a general rule, leave . inch of headspace on all jams and jellies and . inch of headspace on all whole fruits. When using whole fruits, release air bubbles in just-filled jars by tapping the jar on the counter or by inserting a wooden chopstick or skewer into the jar and gently stirring the fruit. When placing lids and rings on canning jars, do not overtighten the rings. Secure just until rings have tension and feel snug. Overtightening will not allow air to vent from the jars—a crucial step in canning.

HEATING THE CANNING POT. Fill your canning pot or a deep stockpot half full of water and heat to a low boil. Hold the liquid on a very low boil until ready to use.

FILLING THE CANNING POT. If using a canning pot, place prepared jars of food on the rack in the canner. Do not stack, as you need to allow for circulation of water for proper sealing. Lower jars into the canning pot, and add enough water to cover the jar tops by an inch or more. Cover the pot and return to a boil. Processing times begin once the canning-pot water is brought back up to a boil. This can take as long as 15 minutes, so be sure to keep an eye on your pot and a timer nearby. You may also use a deep stockpot (best only in small-batch preserving) by lining the bottom of the pot with a dish towel and placing jars on top. This helps keep jars from clanging around on the bottom of the pot or tumbling over onto their sides. This form of canning is not universally recommended or endorsed by the USDA. I have seen plenty of farmers and European country folk use this old-school technique, and I’ve adapted their laissez-faire ways.

REMOVING SEALED JARS. Using a jar lifter, or a set of kitchen tongs, remove jars from the canner when the processing time has elapsed. (Remember, processing times begin once the canning-pot water is brought back up to a boil.) Set jars aside on a folded towel to cool. Make sure you do not press on the tops and create an artificial seal.

KNOWING WHEN JARS ARE SEALED. You’ll hear the sound of can tops popping shortly—a sign that a secure seal has been made. Once the jars are cool, check the seal by removing the outer ring and lifting the jar by holding only the lid. If it stays intact, you have successfully canned your food. If the seal is loose or broken, you may reprocess in the water bath within twenty-four hours. (Be sure to replace the lid and check the jar rim for cracks or nicks and replace if necessary.) Conversely, you can refrigerate the jar immediately and use within three weeks.

LABELING AND STORAGE. Once cool, label all jars with date and contents. Successfully sealed jars should be stored in a cool dark place, such as a cupboard. Officially, canned goods keep for up to a year, but I have let them go a bit longer with little effect.

EXCERPTED FROM URBAN PANTRY (SKIPSTONE 2010)

Amazon.com Best Cookbooks of the Year

Amazon.com Best Cookbook 2010I am visiting my family on the east coast for two weeks - Halloween with my nieces and nephews, tea with gram, a visit to my dads in Pennsylvania. All pretty average of a NY visit. Earlier this week, I took the LIRR from Long Island to the Port Authority to hop on a bus that drove me out to Honesdale, PA where my brother and father were waiting to pick me up. My brother went out a day ahead for hunting season - no bucks. My dad lives in the country. Deep country. No cell service, no internet. Just a rushing stream through his backyard, a loud goose, a crowing rooster and a handful of ducklings criss-crossing the yard each day. On my third day there, I drove twenty minutes in to town for some internet and to touch base with the world.

As soon as I entered cell phone service again, my phone exploded. I had 15 texts by the time I drove a quarter-mile. Many of which exclaimed "Congratuations!", "So proud!" and so on. I knew something had happened - I just didn't know what. I parked in front of the Honesdale Library (after buying a shitty drip coffee and an awesome crumb cake from the

bakery across the street), went inside, found a spot in the big old house, turned on my computer and found this:

BEST OF 2010: TOP TEN COOKBOOKS on Amazon.com.

And guess what lil-book-that-could was on that list? Urban Pantry. Can you say, THRILLED????!!!

I'm still in shock over it. Thank you to everyone for your support!

 

TreeHugger Best of Green 2011

Um......I'm not sure how this keeps happening, but I'm so so so so thrilled and amazed that TreeHugger.com has given a nod to Urban Pantry as one of the Best of Green 2011 Awards.ThankyouThankyouThankyou to anyone reading this for your support. It has moved mountains. Love, Amy

Best-of-Green-2011-Winner-Badge-Large

TreeHugger says:

Every day, TreeHugger scours the planet looking for the people, ideas, projects, and memes that are pushing green into the mainstream. There are no shortage of great examples, for sure, but, once a year, we like to round up the best of the best, to present our Best of Green Awards.

In 2011, we're presenting our third annual awards, and this year promises to be the biggest and best yet. The full complement of awards will be presented the week of April 4 - 8, but we kicked things off this year with the Best of Green Readers' Choice Awards.

It's a great time for green, and we're excited to share the best of it with you. Welcome to the 2011 Best of Green!

2011 Heart of Green Awards

HOG-winner-badge2 Today, Urban Pantry, along with 17 other "inspiring people, places, ideas and companies that are helping green go mainstream" was awarded the 2011 Heart of Green Award. For me, this is HUGE because 'green' is so often misused and confused as a fad. A trend. But for me, being green is a way of life. I make conscious choices every day to live as 'green' of a life as I can (no paper towels or plastic wrap in this kitchen!) and it is such an honor to be considered for this award.

AND...........I'm on the same list as Jane Goodall? That is bananas. Read more here.

Learning to Cook

I just received the best email from a young Seattle mom. "I have only just now decided I'm a good cook ............ But only because of you and your AMAZING cookbook!!! I know of you from my dear friend Gretchen, and now my mom is using Urban Garden Share...but I bought your cookbook when I saw you listed as a speaker at Elliott Bay (though, sadly I had to miss it because I'm a busy mama). I have made 4 or 5 things from Urban Pantry and I love love love them all! I have never considered myself a good cook and always fret about not feeding my family wholesome enough food, but that has changed now! I am sitting here at my desk enjoying my Quinoa Vanilla Pudding and I feel totally nourished and smug :) thank you!!!"

My favorite quote is "I feel totally nourished and smug." THAT is awesome.

Weekday with Steve Scher - Urban Pantry & Urban Garden Share

I had the surprising honor of being a guest this morning on Weekday with Steve Scher on KUOW - our local NPR affiliate. (Know that that means? That means I am one. step. closer. to Ira Glass!!) It also means I got to start that day with a crazy-charming man, an adorable & well-suited (literally) producer and a super a-team that made the whole thing seemless. We talked food, Urban Pantry, gardens, sharing your garden, finding love, finding land and more. Have a listen if you missed it! AND......for those of you checking out this site now that you've listened, I would love some feedback! Did you find what you were looking for here? Need more info? Had a specific question? I would love to hear from you here. Comments ALWAYS appreciated. Please and thank you.

Huffington Post - Top Cookbooks of The Year

Best Cookbooks 2010The Huffington Post listed their Best Cookbooks of 2010 by doing simple math and whiddling down a selection of multiple press mentions for best cookbooks and choosing the top contenders across the media board, as it were. Basically, what that means is they didn't necessarily choose Urban Pantry, but two other sources did so my little-cookbook-that-could made the cut. And frankly, anyway you slice it - a huge honor. Check out mine and others here on the Huffington Post.

Urban Pantry by Gluten Free Girl

I have met Shauna James Ahern, in passing, once or twice. Seattle is a pretty small town, at least where the food community is concerned, so everyone tends to know everyone and is familiar with their projects. Shauna, aka Gluten Free Girl, has a very prolific food blog - I used to read it when it first was published - before she met her now-husband Danny and started sharing their story. Long story short, Shauna rocks, has an awesome website and is an all-around great gal. Recently, she compiled a list of her and Danny's favorite cookbooks and included Urban Pantry. Check it out. I love how, at first, she didn't pay little ol' Urban Pantry any mind, but eventually found herself opening its pages now and again. She has a great quote, too, about the general idea of the book. No, Urban Pantry is not a mind-blowing tome of intensive recipes, but it is a great book for anyone interested in food and cooking effectively at home. Read on........

"What I love is that the recipes from Amy's pantry are never boring. Most books enticing to beginners teach you how to make plain, simple food. With recipes like walnut and garlic chicken, gremolata, cumin black pot with cabbage, and Indian pickled carrots, this book will help you make interesting meals full of flavor." - Gluten Free Girl

Using Restaurant Leftovers for a Killer Dinner - Lamb Bones

bean bowlThis week I was fortunate enough to eat at my friends gorgeous new restaurant, The Book Bindery, on the north side of Queen Anne in Seattle. Fortunately for me, it is a hop, skip and jump from my house. (Unfortunately, no matter how close, I wasn't about to walk the distance in three-inch heels, but, I digress.) The restaurant is stunning, once again prooving that Patric is a marvel with interiors (he also built this and this) and the food was fab. They are a brand new kitchen, so still working out kinks on the menu, but all in all I'm thrilled that Seattle has finally added an upscale restaurant to the mix. No more jeans at dinner, people! As always, after dinner I asked to have my leftovers boxed up. In truth, the only thing I really couldn't part with was the long bone of the lamb shank we shared for dinner. It still had some meat on it, and I knew it would be flavorful in a stock or stew. And now, four days later, there the bone sat on the top shelf of my fridge. If I didn't use it today, I'd soon be banishing it to the compost bin. I hate wasting food and so dinner was born.

I didn't think - just tossed some chopped onions in a saucepan and started sauteeing. Next, I added the bone to brown up a bit. Originally, I figured I'd do some sort of version of bones and beans, but when I went to the pantry..........no beans. I had chick peas, however, so threw those in and it instantly changed the course of a meal. Instead of a brothy-bean-y-herb-y thing, I decided to go for a Moroccan tomato-y-chick pea thing. I add two handfuls of chick peas to the pot, just covered them in water and then added one cinnamon stick, a few cloves, a few sliced apricots and some brunoise carrots. Brought it to boil, reduced it to simmer and voila. Dinner in a few hours. I plan to garnish the final stew with a spoonful of nonfat plain yogurt and some chopped cilantro. I also roasted cauliflower on high heat for 45 minutes to add each bowl. You can also add it to a pot of black lentils (pic above) and use roasted butternut squash as garnish.

This simple (and AWESOME-smelling) meal is a great example of how the pantry should and can dictate what you eat. I didn't ask myself what I wanted for dinner. I just went sleuthing for something that needed to be cooked. No grocery store runs, no extra money spent. And know what? It is making a damn fine meal for a Saturday night!

 

 

Spiced Pecan Recipe

Spiced Pecans RecipeI received an awesome email this week from Susan, over at the blog Not Quite June Cleaver. She found my book, Urban Pantry, and decided to do a short write up and give away to her readers. How cool! On her blog, she notes,"I am all about being at home. In my cozy little green house at the end of the dirt road. My best days are when I don’t leave this place," and I have to say, I quite relate. While I now live in a small apartment in the heart of Seattle, my heart is never farm from the blue-grey house I grew up in at 4 Ridgedale Drive on the end of quiet road in Long Island. These days, as when I was a little girl, I can't think of a better way to spend my day than at home. This recipe is perfect for visiting friends or as a small snack to have on hand. My dear friend, Rusty Blackwood, taught me how to make these and they are always a huge hit.

Excerpted from Urban Pantry: Tips & Recipes for a Thrifty, Sustainable & Seasonal Kitchen By Amy Pennington, Skipstone 2010

Spiced Pecans

(Makes 1 cup)

I owe this recipe to my good friend Rusty—a man who pulls together a mean flower arrangement and has a keen understanding of Moroccan food. He made these nuts at an import sale years ago, and I couldn’t pull myself away from the buffet table to shop. I emailed him in a fit to get the recipe,and he promptly responded—from poolside in Marrakech. This is the perfect recipe to pack for a camping trip or to serve alongside a cheese platter, fancying up the boring cheese-and-cracker platters that have become a near epidemic as of late. These spiced pecans are also wonderful served crumbled over any green salad.

4 tablespoons sugar for pan, plus 2 tablespoons for bowl 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon ground cayenne 1 teaspoon ground turmeric 1 teaspoon ground paprika 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg 1 teaspoon salt 1/4 cup peanut oil 1 cup shelled pecans

Before you start, measure out your sugar and spices and have ready a large glass bowl. You’ll need to work quickly once the nuts are toasted. Cover the bottom of a large, deep-sided sauté pan with the peanut oil; let it pool a bit. Heat over medium-high and, when the oil is beginning to ripple slightly, toss in the pecans, stirring continuously so they don’t burn. When the pecans start to smoke and brown, add 4 tablespoons of the sugar and toss, toss, toss! You don’t want to burn that sugar.

After the sugar is dissolved and the nuts are well coated, use a slotted spoon and put the nuts in the glass bowl with the remaining sugar and the measured-out spices and salt. Working quickly, stir to combine. When the mixture has cooled slightly, taste and adjust the flavors, making them more salty-spicy to your liking. Pour the spiced pecans onto a sheet pan to cool. When completely cooled, store them in a glass jar in the cupboard.

Pantry Note: You can easily multiply this recipe for bigger batches. Spices can be swapped as well. If you don’t have turmeric, for example, try curry powder or garam masala. These candied nuts keep nearly indefinitely but taste freshest when eaten within four to six weeks.

PHOTO CREDIT: DELLA CHEN PHOTOGRAPY

Family of 5 Revamps Their Urban Pantry

When I wrote a book, it never occurred to me that people would actually read it. Not read it, read it, but identify with it. I didn't think of it as spreading a message or trying to inspire people, I just wrote about what I love and how I cook and sent that little baby off into the world. A happy consequence, of course, is that people do read the book. I receive emails and students have come to my classes already jazzed about the prospect of cooking at home, or putting up preserves.Last week, I found this awesome review on Amazon.com of my book. I was shocked, thrilled and so pleased that someone made a committment to make a change. It was so rad to see! Read this..................

When I first saw the title I knew I had to have it. Urban Pantry, Thrifty, Sustainable, Seasonal? Amy's words spoke right to me.

I am a new stay at home mom and we are on a real tight budget, $200.00 every other week for a family of five. I decided to base our grocery list this pay day off of her recipes mainly for two weeks. We spent 190.00 total at Costco for the basics, PCC for a few extras, and our family sized box from our CSA that we receive weekly. We've been eating like kings, and organic none the less! The recipes are so simple yet have that little extra something special. I just made the perfect roast chicken tonight and my husband asked me to marry him...again! Maybe that recipe should be renamed "love bird" or "proposal chicken", no kidding.

I am looking forward to trying EVERY recipe and taking up canning for the first time, and next spring planting a back porch garden all with my new BFF. This book has been so inspirational. I also live in Seattle and my front porch view is dumpsters and a parking lot. I used to think I couldn't wait to have a real yard, but now I can see there's no reason to wait to plant a garden. I used to think my "two butt" kitchen wasn't big enough for canning but, now I can't wait for small batch preserving.

Amy makes the most daunting tasks simple and savvy. Her words are inviting and friendly. Her tips and advice are smart and timely.

I own MANY cook books and just this one speaks to my soul.

I just subscribed to edibleSEATTLE because I heard she's a contributer because, I as well can't wait for her next book.

 

I was so stoked, that I posted a comment hoping Ellie would see. I asked Ellie to keep me posted on her experiment.

Ellie, This is AWESOME! I can't wait to hear how the 2-week experiment worked out! Thank you for all the nice words. You're a GREAT writer, yourself! Best, amyp

And with that...........she DID! And not only did she keep me posted, she also attended my preserving class last week at Cupcake Royale and introduced herself and her awesome family afterwards. Ellie has three children. She is the matriarch with a family of five trying to make it all work and raise three little human beings. Her children were utterly engaged and conversational, her baby was adorable and her husband was absolutely charming. (He watched all three kids in the cafe during class for a little under two hours - no small feat!) I met them all, we chatted for a bit, I gave Ellie a big hug. I don't even know this person and I'm SO proud of her for making an effort! She is showing her children that it is possible to eat well and healthy, and representing women everywhere by making sacrifices and putting her family first. Ellie is a stay-at-home mom, while her husband works two jobs to support the family. That is hard on any family and they all came in with smiles on their face and glowing. I love love LOVED meeting Ellie and her family. They are seriously my heros. Here are the 'results' of her 2 week experiment.................

My BFF!

This 2-week experiment has turned into an everyday ritual, pretty much. I guess I never really knew, or just forgot, how versatile and delicious pantry staples could be. Cornmeal mush has transformed into parmesan pollenta. Quinoa isn't just a dinner side dish everytime, now it's vanilla quinoa pudding for breakfast or dessert. Yummmmm.

I spent around $200.00 for those two weeks and I was able to try over 12 of your recipes. I love to cook and my family loves to eat, what can I say? We are still cooking and eating our way through your book. Stocking my cute little urban pantry as I go.

What an absolute JOY for my family and I to meet you. Your class at Cupcake Royal was TOO SWEET! Way too much good stuff for me to go on and on and on and on about. You just totally rock, and I hope you become even more famous than my other BFF Gweneth Paltrow:)

Ellie