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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Ukrainian Preserved Rose Petals (Rozha z Tsukrom)

Rose petals preserved in sugar | Healthy Green Kitchen

Ukrainian Preserved Rose Petals from www.healthygreenkitchen.com

This past Sunday, I attended my third wild edible plants class. I am so glad I signed up for this series…I really look forward to the class each month, and I always come away feeling excited and inspired.

This month, our main focus was on plants in the rose family. I had no idea Rosaceae was so diverse: it includes everything from wild and cultivated roses to raspberries and strawberries to stone fruits (including apricots, cherries, and plums). Dainty cinquefoil flowers (edible) and showy spirea shrubs (not edible, as far as I know) are also in the rose family.

wild rose from www.healthygreenkitchen.com
Wild Rose

For part of each class, we meander around my friend Halyna’s beautiful homestead while she points out and tells us about the edible plants all around us. I also gaze at her beautiful animals :)

Ram from www.healthygreenkitchen.comSheep from www.healthygreenkitchen.com

Then, we go back to Halyna’s kitchen and she shows us how to prepare the plants in a variety of ways. We sip tea replete with fresh herbs and pepper Halyna with all sorts of questions about what she’s making. Halyna’s lovely mother lives nearby and often joins us: they are both a wealth of knowledge about medicinal plants. In our kitchen session this time, we feasted on cattails slathered with butter, cooked milkweed flowers drenched in a fabulous herbal vinagrette, and elderflower fritters drizzled with rose honey. Halyna’s family is Ukrainian, so she also showed us how to make uncooked preserved rose petals that are traditionally used to fill doughnuts in the Ukraine at Christmastime.

To make this recipe, you start with 2 cups of freshly picked, tightly packed rose petals. Use the most fragrant (and definitely unsprayed) rose petals you can find. We used pink rose petals when we made this at Halyna’s house; I’ve used red ones here.

Rose petals from www.healthygreenkitchen.com

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Peony and Rose Petal Ice Cream

rose and peony ice cream

I recently found out that peonies are edible. I have a peony plant which happened to be in luxurious full bloom last week (why does their season have to be so painfully short?!)…seemed like perfect timing to use the petals in a recipe. As soon as I started gathering the peony blossoms, I discovered that … Read more

Garden Pea and Rose Petal Salad

Slightly cooler temperatures plus lots of rain this past week equals one very happy garden… …everything for this Garden Pea and Rose Petal Salad came straight out of that happy garden! To make this salad I used a mixture of greens (green and red head lettuces, spinach, and an Asian green called purple pak choi), … Read more

Rose Petal Elixir

This is a lovely recipe that comes from herbalist Kiva Rose. This is a simple home remedy preparation that is excellent for sore throat, as well as other types of inflammation, including digestive inflammation. This rose petal elixir is also a good remedy for heart palpitations and other cardiac issues. This elixir can also be … Read more