Have you discovered Weck glass jars yet? They’re beautiful and so very wonderful to have around the kitchen. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes and can be used for storing a great many things: from herbs and spices to nuts and seeds and dried beans to fresh juice. You can also make and store homemade body products in them (this is a tangerine sugar scrub, the recipe for which I will share in a separate post)…
…and you may water-bath can in them, too. Below you see tangerine vanilla marmalade (yup, I do love tangerines). The recipe is from Marmalade: Sweet and Savory Spreads for a Sophisticated Taste.
One of the best things about these jars is that they are made of thick glass to withstand boiling and sterilization. Also, the glass lids are immune to rusting and may be used many times (and since they are made of glass and not aluminum, there is none of the BPA coating that is found on metal canning jar lids). If you are interested in canning in Weck jars, be sure to familiarize yourself with the these guidelines from Weck. Also, please read this helpful post from Marisa over at Food in Jars.
I love Weck jars, but they are a little pricey. So I was really excited when Mighty Nest asked if they could send some jars to me. What’s Mighty Nest? It’s an online store specializing in natural, non-toxic products for the kitchen and home. Mighty Nest offers an incredibly comprehensive selection of beautiful, durable items that are 100% free of harmful chemicals: it’s the perfect place to shop for many of your green living needs.
Mighty Nest has also generously offered to send a Weck jars prize pack to one of my readers.
It does not take all that much to make me happy in the food department these days: a thick slice of homemade honey-sweetened bread topped with fat spears of oil-doused, roasted asparagus and a perfectly-poached egg definitely does it.
I recently wrote about wanting more cake in my life. Same goes for bread.
You are probably wondering what’s going on. Am I on a carb binge or something? No… not at all, but I AM eating more carbs (and more food in general) these days. Since I started doing a lot of weight training a few months ago, I have found that I simply need to eat more that I was eating previously (plus I really do believe there is room for both bread AND cake in a healthy, balanced diet).
Good bread is tasty, and it’s a damn convenient food to have in the house. When I have time, I bake my own. It’s something I have always loved to do, but I will be honest with you: for years, I felt like I was doing something “wrong” when I baked bread since I’d convinced myself bread was “bad” for me based on everything I’ve read that demonizes wheat and gluten. Well, I am done with that way of thinking. I am done with categorizing foods as “bad” or “good”. It’s all just food after all: I choose to eat more of some things and less of others, and that’s that (no one in my family has problems with wheat or gluten so there is simply no reason for us to completely avoid them).
If you want to read a little more about where I am at with all of this right now, here you go: My Open Letter To Everyone Who Eats.
The recipe for the honey wheat bread and this dish both come from a new book called Relish: An Adventure in Food, Style, and Everyday Fun by Daphne Oz. I don’t spend much time in front of the tv (unless you count the re-runs of The Nanny and Full House that I watch with my daughter), so I had honestly never heard of the author before this book landed in my mailbox (thanks to the publisher, who sent me a review copy). That said, Daphne is apparently the cohost of a show called The Chew; she is also Dr Mehmet Oz’s daughter.
I’ve only perused the book so far and really can’t speak to much of the content, but I will say that the recipes are pretty lovely, and the photography is really stunning. Also, the book just has a happy “vibe” to it so I do plan to sit down and actually read it soon.
I had this dish for lunch yesterday, but I think it would make the perfect Mother’s Day meal if you are looking for something to that effect. Have a happy weekend, everyone!
Make Your Own Soda: Syrup Recipes for All-Natural Pop, Floats, Cocktails, and More is a lovely little book that was just released yesterday. I received a review copy from the publisher (Clarkson Potter) a few weeks back, and I’ve really been enjoying it.
I made the Rose Syrup (with dried rose petals I had left over from last year’s garden) and it was amazing. I also made a variation on the Blueberry and Star Anise Shrub Syrup, which I used in the drink you see here: it was delicious with frozen blueberries and I can’t wait to make it again when I have access to fresh ones this summer.
Getting off store-bought soda can be hard, but it’s really important: soda contain loads of high fructose corn syrup as well as undesirable chemicals…it’s really best not to put that stuff into your body. Make Your Own Soda is a small book, but it’s brimming with brilliant ideas for how to make all-natural syrups you can put in homemade sodas, creative cocktails, ice cream drinks, etc. Most of the recipes are made with fruit and do also contain sugar (I used organic, fair-trade sugar in the ones I tried); if you don’t eat any sugar, this is not the book for you.
I have an extra copy of Make Your Own Soda and I’d love to send it to one of my readers: scroll down below the recipe to find out how to enter the giveaway.
I spent this past Friday-Sunday in NYC. I was there to take a food photography and styling class at ICE (the Institute of Culinary Education), which I enjoyed very much. On Saturday morning, I got to spend a little time at the Union Square Greenmarket. It was a beautiful spring day and everyone and everything there inspired me: here are some of the photos I took.
Last Sunday, I went to the first in a series of classes I am taking on identifying and using edible wild plants. It was fantastic- so fun to be outside on a lovely day, refreshing my memory about some plants that I am already familiar with, but learning many new things, as well.
Do you know about Stinging Nettle?
My friend Halyna, the teacher of my wild plants class, grows a ton of it. I am going to follow her lead and plant a big patch because while it does grow wild, I have never found any on my property (though I am going to keep looking). Nettle is an incredible plant, rich in vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. Nettle is particularly high in calcium, magnesium, chromium, and chlorophyll, and herbalist Susun Weed refers to nettle leaves and stalks as an “everyday nourisher”. Nettle is a notable ally to the kidneys, the digestive system, the respiratory system, and women’s reproductive health. It’s also amazing for the skin and for the hair.
Since it’s covered in prickly hairs that sting due to the presence of formic acid (hence the name: Stinging Nettle), you should always wear protective clothing and gloves when you harvest nettle. Once dried or cooked, nettle no longer stings.
I took home a bunch of nettle from Halyna’s house and decided to cook up a spring tonic soup after tasting the amazing one she had made and served to our class. I added dandelion greens that I plucked from my yard (these are also extremely nutritious: they’re high in beta-carotene, vitamin C, calcium, and potassium), as well as some ramps I bought at the Farmer’s Market. This soup is flexible: if you don’t have access to wild greens, use kale, spinach or another green instead. And if you have access to additional wild greens, like yellow dock, feel free to toss some in.
This is a perfect introduction to wild foods if you are not familiar with them: the greens are not at all bitter when prepared this way so the whole family can enjoy this soup. Feel free to sub in carrots and a different squash (or sweet/red/white potatoes) for the turnips and kabocha squash, if you like.
I ate this soup with my favorite multi-grain bread, slathered with goat cheese and topped with wild violets. Yup, you can eat violets, too: if you’ve got lots of them popping up on your lawn, you can give this recipe for violet jelly a try.