Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Rugelach

cookies before baking_

I first met Cathy Barrow “virtually” back in 2009. We were both new bloggers. And frequent participants in the recipe contests run by Food52.

In the summer of 2010, Cathy and I made plans to meet up for lunch at The Spotted Pig in NYC. I recall being extremely nervous beforehand: I didn’t know if we’d have anything to talk about! Well, conversation didn’t end up being a problem…we gabbed for hours, and we have been good friends ever since. We’ve roomed together at blogging/writing conferences, we’ve had many more meals together, and I’ve spent the weekend at her lovely home in Washington, DC. And now it is with great pleasure that I get to tell you about Cathy’s newly published cookbook: Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry: Recipes and Techniques for Year-Round Preserving.

Cathy is truly a preserving maven: she is extremely knowledgeable and passionate about the craft of canning. Her first book (I am pretty certain there will be more!) is both beautifully written and photographed (the photos were taken by Christopher Hirscheimer and Melissa Hamilton, the team behind the wildly successful Canal House). If you enjoy spending time in the kitchen and have an interest in preserving fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, canning beans and soups, and making cheese, I think you will love Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry.

One of the things I like most about this book is that it’s not just a collection of preserving techniques. It also includes numerous “bonus” recipes that show you how to use what you have preserved. Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Rugelach, which I made with 2 kinds of jam, is the perfect example.

I’ve sampled Cathy’s jams many times before this book was published and I know them to be exceptional, so I was excited to see her recipe for Straight-Up Preserves with Any Fruit. This is a brilliant recipe that works as a starting point for turning just about any fruit into jam, and Cathy gives many suggestions for herbs, spices, and other flavorings one may use to complement the fruit. With guidance from the book, I made Pear Preserves with Bourbon and Rosemary.

pears_

syrup dripping

pear preserves

Then I used some of the pear preserves (along with some of my Preserved Rose Petals) in Cathy’s rugelach.

dough and rolling pin_

2 preserves on dough 1_

2 preserves on dough

cookies in process

pear preserves + walnuts on dough

These rugelach are really fabulous and I will be making them again and again! I hope you’ll give them a try, and that you will pick up a copy of Cathy’s book.

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Pear and Gorgonzola Salad

A local restaurant serves a pear and gorgonzola pizza that I love. It was the inspiration for this pear and gorgonzola salad, to which I’ve also added pistachios.

salad 2_text

I harbored an intense dislike for strong cheeses like gorgonzola for much of my life. Funny thing: now they are some of my favorites! You know how many times I have decided I did not like a food only to realize later on that I like it quite a lot? MANY.

I think our tastes have the capacity to expand and to change if we keep challenging ourselves to try new things (and to give things we previously eschewed another go). Of course this goes for ideas and experiences, as well: it’s good to be open minded about those, too.

salad 3

This salad is super adaptable. For an equally delicious fall salad, apples can stand in for the pears. Roasted squash would also be delicious. Raw or toasted pecans, walnuts, or other nuts/seeds may be used in place of the pistachios. If assertive cheeses such as gorgonzola are not your thing at the moment, give this a try with a mild, soft cheese (crumbled goat cheese or feta sounds good to me). But don’t swear off gorgonzola for good…you may find that you’ll come to love it some day in the future, too.

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Apple, Pear, and Rosemary Cobbler (Gluten-Free)

Fall is a pretty special time of the year to live where I do. As the days get shorter, and the chlorophyll starts to disappear from all of the leaves but the evergreens, a spectacular display of oranges, reds, and yellows is revealed. The fall foliage never ceases to amaze me, even though I’ve lived … Read more

Honey Ridge Farms Pampered Pantry Review, Recipes, and Giveaway

I love honey: when Casey from Kitchen Play asked me if I’d like to do a compensated Pampered Pantry review post about items from Honey Ridge Farms, I was extremely happy to do so. Honey Ridge Farms is a small company in Washington state that sells artisanal honey and honey products. They are committed to … Read more