Warmer Weather Batch Cooking

For some, batch cooking tends to go out the window when the thermometer rises outside, because, well, most batch cooking is not ideally suited to hot weather. Who wants to simmer a stew on the stove all day when you’re trying to keep the kitchen cool? And while we’re asking questions, who wants to spend hours cooking when the kids are calling you to come out and play?

Still,  it’s nice to jump-start dinner with something from the freezer, especially after a hard day’s work in the garden. Batch cooking can still be done in the summer heat, but in my kitchen it changes from pot-roasts and lasagnas, to something more suited to summer.

Here are a few of my favorite recipes to double and triple for stashing away. While they are not entire meals unto themselves, they proffer a spring board to dinner (or dessert!), and provide the opportunity for a meal with substance. [Read more…]

Weekend Reading

How to Make Homemade Jam in 30 Minutes (with no special equipment)

What would you say if I told you that it was possible to make a small batch of homemade jam today? I imagine your schedule is already jam-packed (pardon the pun, couldn’t resist), as is mine, but I’ve discovered a new way to make jam that is quick, easy and totally doable for the busy mom, career girl or both.

OK, you’ve heard about freezer jam, but what about microwave jam? In her book, 250 Home Preserving Favorites (Robert Rose, March 2010), jam expert Yvonne Tremblay created a line of homemade jams that she called ‘Micro-Mini Jams‘: very small batches of jam, cooked in the microwave and requiring no special canning equipment.

What a fantastic concept! I’ve used the microwave to reduce liquids for sauces and such, but never thought to whip up a batch of jam. It makes perfect sense though, because the batch of jam is so small, there is no need for sterilizing or processing. Simply jar the jam and store in the refrigerator for up to three weeks -if it lasts that long. [Read more…]

Weekend Reading

At the risk of sounding completely clichéd, I’m going to gape “It’s the weekend already??” Honestly, I was having an immensely productive Saturday until the Simple Living Weekly newsletter popped into my inbox and alerting me that, yes, it was time to pour a glass of strawberry lemonade and relax with some quality reading.

In the meantime, here are a few more inspiring reads I stumbled upon this week and enjoyed very much…. [Read more…]

Spotlight Ingredient: Rhubarb (Recipe: Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake)

It’s spring, and gorgeous produce is beginning to appear in the markets — as well as my neighbor’s expansive backyard garden! I’ve been admiring his handsome rhubarb patch from afar and trying to muster up the courage to ask for some. We’re new to the neighborhood, you see.

Inspired by Tsh’s Q & A ‘Do you know the people in your neighborhood?‘ and the fascinating discussion about community that followed, I decided it was time to put my shyness aside and I knocked on his door. He generously offered me ‘carte blanche‘ on his patch–for the whole season. I was thrilled!

Rhubarb is my favorite early summer fruit; I just love it. As a child I dipped the pale pink stalks in sugar and munched them raw. As a teen I paired rhubarb with strawberries, baked the fruit into pies and sold them at my local farmers market. (for $5 dollars!!). Now, the options are endless and I usually run out of rhubarb long before I finish experimenting with new recipes.

I should mention, before we get any further, that rhubarb is actually a vegetable. Did you know? It can be used in both sweet and savory dishes, but my guess is that the majority of it ends up in a pie or a terrific crumble.

If you haven’t yet, pick up some rhubarb and discover what all the fuss is all about.  [Read more…]