What I'm up to
  • Oxo Good Grips Small Wooden Spoon
    Oxo Good Grips Small Wooden Spoon

    everyone needs these, many of them.

  • Mauviel Cuprinox Style 8-inch Round Frying Pan
    Mauviel Cuprinox Style 8-inch Round Frying Pan

    Scarily, I can say I have enough copper. Not many people can utter those words.

  • Le Creuset Enameled Cast-Iron 5-1/2-Quart Round French Oven, Red
    Le Creuset Enameled Cast-Iron 5-1/2-Quart Round French Oven, Red
    Le Creuset

    The same thing could be said for Le Creuset, but still. Great for braising and soup making.

  • The Essential New York Times Cookbook: Classic Recipes for a New Century
    The Essential New York Times Cookbook: Classic Recipes for a New Century
    by Amanda Hesser
  • Nordic Ware Bakers Half Sheet, 13 X 18 X 1
    Nordic Ware Bakers Half Sheet, 13 X 18 X 1
    Nordic Ware

    What did I do before I started using this half sheet? Cry.

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Entries in canvolution (3)


Pickled Cherries - its that time again

Tree of life

It's that time again - the freezer needs to be emptied of all the fruit preserved from the year that has passed.  Smoothies are being consumed at great speed and I really will get around to making a few pies this week. Unlike other years, I did not succumb to the 40 lb box of sour cherries but will only take four lbs from someone's huge shipment.


More of this nonsense #pickledcherries @sfn8tiv

A few years ago, I pickled some plums. I loved them. Sweet and tart and perfect with a ham or pork dish, they were also so pretty in a relish tray along with dilled beans and those exotics that come out with Aunt Maude's silver service.

Pickled fruit should not be a white tablecloth and silver candlesticks kind of a condiment that come out only for special occasions. They should appear at impromptu picnics with Mexican blankets and melmac plates. 

The pickled cherries are easy and quick to make. The pickling process is trivially easy. Because they are not processed in a hot water bath, they will need to be refrigerated for storage. I haven't seen a good recipe for hot water processing them, probably because they are so delicate to begin with and the heat might cause them to lose their shape. 

 Finished product #pickledcherries #picklegram @sfn8tiv

Quick Pickled Sour Cherries (adapted from David Lebovitz and others)
Makes one pt jar and one 8 oz jar, or three eight oz jar. (You do the math for the rest of the combinations)

Note: Left over picking brine/syrup should be combined with cherry juice, and used for a nice lively shrub - a fruit drinking vinegar hack that I like to dilute with club soda.  Try it and tell me what you think.

1 lb pitted sour cherries, I used frozen (reserve juice if frozen)
1 cup cider vinegar
1 cup sugar (I used organic, unprocessed)
2/3 cup water
3 bay leaves
20 whole peppercorns
10 whole allspice

Prepare jar or jars - I use 8 oz canning jars by washing well with soap and water and hold in a 200 degree oven for 10 minutes or longer to sterilize.  Place vinegar, water, sugar in a non-reactive pot and bring mixture to a boil.  Remove from heat and add spices and bay leaves. 

Pack cherries into jar or jars, pour liquid into jars, add one bay leaf to each jar. Be sure to leave 1/2" headspace at the top of the jar.  Seal each jar with a clean and sterlized lid and ring. Place in fridge to cure.  The pickling process should be completed in a week and should hold for a year in fridge. Open jars should also be refrigerated.

Use leftover brine to make a nice drinking vinegar (see note above).

Serve with ham, cheeses, a crusty baguette, a nice dry white and a side of ants.


Making marmalade from lemons

We be jamming, more later.


Jam making and other things on a not so hot day

Rainiers - for you

I started a post about two weeks ago and it was eaten alive by Squarespace. I have to pay better attention to such things or perhaps do everything in a text editor and cut and paste.

In any case, or face as the Iranians like to say, it's time to start blogging and writing, because it is hard to improve if you don't try. I'm not making any excuses for my lack of posting. It has been a summer of learning about climate policy, jam making, gardening, house chores and finding my way.

Last weekend's International Food Bloggers Conference or IFBC  pushed me a bit to find my way. Others, including Alice of Savory Sweet Life have done an amazing job of recapping the conference, so I won't bore you with my version. I go to approximately seven professional conferences or symposia a year and somehow my next Time Space Workshop is not going to be as exciting as IFBC.  It could have been the food, it could have been the content, but my guess is that it was the people. Thank you so much for including me in this amazing group of food writers, photographers, stylists and lovers of the food arts. 

I have blackberry jam in the refrigerator ready to can, I promise to get to it tomorrow. I wanted to talk to you about apricot jam that I make every year and honestly, is the best stuff on this planet. I know it is late to talk about apricots, but keep this recipe in mind for next year. I just pulled out a 2009 jar and the apricots are still vividly orange and look very much like egg yolks.  I am currently enjoying apricot/peanut butter sandwiches for breakfast, trying to finish off the end of a loaf of bread.  Not really a hardship, but I hate to see a loaf go to waste.

A few weeks ago, we were in Yakima and picked up some of the first apricots of the season at Johnson’s Family Orchards.  I made jam with some of them and dried the others for use later in the year.  If you are ever in Yakima, I highly recommend visiting their farm stand and cherry u pick.

Apricot Preserve (adapted from Christine Ferber’s Bergeron Apricot jam recipe from her book Mes Confitures, 2002).

While Ferber doesn’t give recommendations for water bath canning, I add this step to the process to satisfy my scientist/fastidious side. I have not seen degradation in the final product. Most fruit preserve recipes call for a 5 or 10 minute bath, so that is what I use. I also recommend weighing the ingredients using a simple kitchen scale instead of using measuring cups

2 ½ pounds (1.15 kg) apricots, ripe but not soft this should yield approximately 2 ¼ pounds net (1 kg).
Try and select nice looking, unblemished fruit.

3 ¾ cups (800 g) granulated sugar (I use white sugar, I have not seen acceptable results with the organic light brown sugars, they change the color of the syrup)

7 oz (200 ml) water – depends on the juiciness of your fruit. I sometimes omit most of the water if my apricots are moist.

Juice of 2 small lemons (not baby lemons, but regular store bought lemons)

Rinse apricots in cold water. Cut out blemished parts if necessary. Cut them in half to remove the pit. Mix all of the ingredients together in a ceramic bowl. Next cover the mixture with parchment paper and place in refrigerate to macerate for 8 h or over night. I tend to use a dessert plate to keep the parchment paper from floating.

Pour contents into preserving pan and bring to a simmer. Return to ceramic bowl. Cover with parchment and refrigerate overnight.

The second day, pour contents into a sieve or colander to separate the apricots from the syrup.

Take apricots and attempt to remove the skin. If the apricots are thin skinned, this is easier. If you are mangling your apricots, then stop and recognize this is not a crucial thing. Keep apricots to the side for now.

 In a preserving pan (I use a ceramic Le Creuset dutch oven) bring the syrup to a boil. Skim as you go along and let the juice mixture concentrate until more syrupy. Ferber uses a candy thermometer. The candy thermometer should read about 221 F (105 C) I use my eyes.  Add apricot halves to the syrup and bring to a boil again. Remove apricots from syrup, divide amongst your prepped jars. Boil syrup for another three minutes. Add syrup to jars, leaving ½ inch head space and place in boiling water bath for five minutes, which starts when the canning kettle comes back to a boil.  Remove from bath and wait for that glorious sound of the jars sealing!

Makes approximately 5 half pints with a little left over for a week’s worth of peanut butter sandwiches.