Fire up the grill and bust out the wood chips. Summer is smokin' hot, and we've got a variety of hot smoking projects for your Smokey Joe. What are you smoking?
Disclosure: A copy of the book has been furnished for review, and another for the giveaway, by the publisher, Storey Press.
Raise your hand if you have a few extra jars of jams and pickles stowed in corners and in the backs of shelves in the pantry. Now keep those hands up if you have a lot of jars. Yeah, that's what I thought.
For those of us who are into DIY projects, moderation is antithetical to our desire to can all the things. As we get into summer, that's only going to get worse. After all, who can resist those flats of luscious berries or lustrous cucumbers just begging to be pickled?
Odds are you personally are not going to consume all those jars of jams and pickles single-handedly, but what if you could turn them into a bounty of practical material? Enter the food swap.
From its humble beginnings in Kate Payne's small Brooklyn apartment, the modern food swap movement became a huge phenomenon of the sharing economy. Emily Paster, blogger at West of the Loop (and longtime Punk Domestics contributor) co-founded the Chicago food swap, which became one of the exemplars of a successful food trading event.
So you just get a few people together and hand each other jars of things, right? Well, it turns out there's more to it than that.
In Food Swap, Paster outlines all the aspects of a successful food swap event, from scouting locations to getting the word out to the sometimes surprising problem of no-shows. Moreover, she helps you think about what makes your contribution a successful bargaining chip. Hint: Presentation counts. Channel your inner marketer.
The latter half of the book is full of recipes specially designed for trading, from fresh items meant to be consumed quickly to baked goods to home-canned treats to save for later.
Whether you're looking to do a simple old-fashioned soup swap or organize a bigger community function, Food Swap equips you with the information you need to execute a successful event that will bring people together while enriching their pantries.
Summertime is upon us, and it's time to bust out the grill and sear up some sausage. Making your own is easier than you think, and the rewards are worth the effort.
Cinco de mayo has nothing to do with Mexican independence, but you can liberate yourself from store-bought salsa. Whatever kind you like, whip up a batch today for chip-dipping good times.
Disclosure: A copy of the book has been furnished for review, and another for the giveaway, by the publisher, Running Press.
Marisa McClellan, doyenne of all things food that go in jars, is back with the third in her series of books. This time, she's turned her eye to a particular niche in the preserving space, using natural sweeteners in the place of the more common granulated sugar. Marisa took some time out of her very busy schedule while on book tour to answer a few questions for us.
PD: What inspired you to focus on using natural sweeteners in preserves?
MM: I started this journey of natural sweeteners like most people do, with honey. I started using it to sweeten various preserves first simply as a way of lending extra flavor to things like strawberry jam and quick pickles. When I would share those honey sweetened preserves on my blog, the response was always resounding and positive. People were looking for preserves that were sweetened naturally. Spurred on by such an encouraging response, I started developing more recipes that were sweetened naturally and eventually, that process of exploration turned into this book.
Funny to say, delicious to preserve. Kumquats pack a potent punch of citric tartness in a tiny package. Unlike their cousins, kumquats invert the paradigm, with mild rinds and sour-bitter pulp. They add a distinctive flavor to all kinds of preserves, like these.
Rhubarb is the darling of spring. These sour stalks are techincally a vegetable, but their tart taste lends them to applications more common with fruit. What can you do with it? What can't you do? Here's a whole bunch of ideas.
On our penultimate day in Italy, we were scheduled to go foraging for porcini up in the Apennines. From the day we arrived, though, my local guide Dalia kept mentioning that the porcini season was lackluster this year, and with nights being so cold, they were likely not going to happen, but not to worry, we would find something. Every day, assurances: Don't worry, we'll find something, with a knowing nod.
In the morning we drove to the quaint town of Portico di Romagna, close to the Tuscan border, where we met Matteo, our forager. We slapped on some muddy boots in preparation.
So it was that we piled into Matteo's van. We drove a few minutes out of town, pulled over on the roadside, and let out the dog, Otto. We were going to hunt truffles instead. Hello!
We're going back this October. Want to join? Click here for more information.
October is an undeniably magical time to be in Italy. The food is at its best this time of year, not least because there are truffles, porcini mushrooms, and chestnuts. So important are these ingredients to the local cuisine, towns around the Apennines have festivals to celebrate them.
Many people know of the white truffle festival in Alba, but there are smaller festivals in quaint towns elsewhere. While Alba draws big crowds, these petite festivals, like the one in Sant'Agata Feltria, are intimate, and often nearly exclusively frequented by Italians. From the moment you arrive at the festival, you know this town is serious about truffles.
Hey, do you want to experience a truffle festival? Of course you do. Well, we're doing it again this year. Click here to learn more.
The town is comprised of just a few small streets that snake their way up to the top of the hill, and the festival completely fills the town. There are, as you might expect, truffles, and lots of them. But there's also porcini mushrooms, fresh and dry. And there's cheese. So much amazing cheese. And meat. Amazing salame of many varieties, prosciutto and much more. Everything here is made by artisans from neighboring communities.