Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Preserving Number Six at Washington Post

Christmas Came Early

My great friend and herbie gal pal, Susan Belsinger must have been catching up on her food reading last night because she sent me a message about the December 5 Food Section of the Washington Post.
Seems that venerable newspaper had listed 30 of the Top Cookbooks for 2012.

Guess what? Preserving was number six in the list!!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Roasting the Harvest

I’m very fond of roasted vegetables, and now that cooler weather is drifting into the kitchen from outdoors, I am happy to fire up the oven and enjoy them again. Harvest time provides an abundance of fruits and vegetables ripe and perfect for roasting – they’re heaped in baskets at markets and supermarkets everywhere.
Roasting is an oven technique that requires a higher heat than baking. It’s a fast-cooking method that draws out and caramelizes the natural sugars on the outside while concentrating and deepening the flavours on the inside. Thick, firm, and juicy-fleshed fruits such as plums, apricots, and cherries, and all kinds of vegetables such as beets, onions, squash, turnip, carrots, parsnips, eggplant, sweet potatoes, corn on the cob, and asparagus, benefit from roasting. What follows is my basic recipe for roasting fruits or vegetables.
For more recipes on Roasting Vegetables and Fruits and my original recipe for Chicken with Roasted Black Plums and Greens, go here.

Roasted Garlic
Fresh Ontario garlic is available now from any of the farmers who visit the city every week, and my advice is to buy it in bulk and use it all winter in robust dishes. One of my favourite ways to use garlic in cooking is to roast the whole head. Whole roasted garlic bulbs morph into a sweet and meltingly tender pulp with a deceptively mellow and nutty flavour that is versatile and delicious in fall dishes. Roasting garlic is easy. I like to roast two or three heads at a time because generally I substitute one whole head in place of one or two bulbs in a recipe. I use roasted garlic in spreads and dips and as a flavouring for sauce, soup, and stew. 
For roasting garlic, I prefer to use a small heatproof baking dish with a lid instead of aluminum foil, and there are electric and terra cotta garlic roasting pots widely available online and in kitchen supply stores. The method is easy and my recipe follows: (Makes 1 head)

1 whole head garlic
1 tsp olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 400° F (200° C)

2. Remove the loose, papery skin from the garlic head and slice and discard 1/4 inch off the tips of the cloves across the top of the head. Place the garlic head, cut side up in a small heatproof baking dish*  and drizzle with oil. Cover with a lid or foil. 

3. Bake in preheated oven for about 40 minutes or until garlic is quite soft. Transfer to a cooling rack. 

4. When garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze cloves from their skins. It is now ready to use in any recipe that calls for roasted garlic.

* Note: If using a clay garlic roaster with a lid, roast at 375° F (190° C) for 35 to 40 minutes.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Preserving Recipes

Yes YOU Can!
Fall is the time for 'putting down' the bounty of the garden and if you are planning to make pickles or chutney, you will also want to make your own spice blends.
It's economical and the flavours are much more vivid when you purchase fresh, whole spices and combine them in blends that suit your own taste. Just be sure to purchase spices from a busy spice seller and get small amounts, use them up and then get more. This way, you are assured of the freshest possible seeds and berries.

Here is my own recipe for Classic Pickling Spice-

Use this spice blend with fruit and vegetable chutneys and savory preserves as well as for pickles and relishes.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Book Review

Cookbook Man Reviews Preserving

First Impressions If you’re into canning or preserving food in any way shape or form, this cookbook will make your eyes bulge (in a good way). It is really something to see. 541 pages of pure preserving pleasure. The cover says 140 recipes, but, there it seems there is WAY more going on here than just recipes. The author, Pat Crocker, is also the photographer. And, she did a wonderful job. Big, bright, colorful images are used throughout. It doesn’t appear to be a canning handbook. It’s more than that. It’s a guide to making the freshness and flavor of each season last.

Read more here.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Mushroom Tapenade

Important Correction to Mushroom Tapenade, page 512

If you have my Preserving book, you will know how important it is to make sure that you process canning jars using the Hot Water Method for high acid foods and the Pressure Canner for low acid foods because I outline the parameters of safe home canning in detail at the front of the book.
High acid foods are fruit, pickles that contain a certain amount of vinegar and tomatoes that have had 1 tablespoon bottled lemon juice to the jar. These foods may be safely processed using the Hot Water Method.
Low acid foods are vegetables, fish, shellfish and meat. These foods must be processed using a Pressure Canner.

It has just come to my attention that of the 200+ recipes in the book, one recipe has inadvertantly been included with the incorrect method of processing. My Mushroom Tapenade, a delicious nutty blend of mushrooms and olives that is perfect for a spread or to use with rice is a low acid food and therefore cannot be processed using the Hot Water Method.

Here is the CORRECT version of this recipe
Makes 6 cups (1.5 L)
3 tbsp   olive oil                                             2 cups  chopped pitted kalamata olives
2 cups  chopped onions                                 2 tbsp   freshly squeezed lemon juice
4          cloves garlic, finely chopped             3/4 cup chopped sunflower seeds
2 lb (1kg) mushrooms, finely chopped          3 tbsp   chopped fresh oregano
1 cup    chicken broth

1. In a saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes or until soft. Add garlic, mushrooms and chicken broth. Bring the mixture to a light boil and simmer for 25 minutes, or until mushrooms are soft and liquid is reduced.
2. Remove from heat and add olives, lemon juice, sunflower seeds and oregano to the mushroom mixture. Boil for two minutes. Cool to room temperature.
3. Transfer to a bowl or container, cover tightly and refrigerate and use within 3 to 5 days or freeze.
4. To freeze: Select suitable-size freezer containers, bags or Mason jars (see page 24 of the book). Pack tapenade into containers, leaving a 1-inch headspace. Remove air, label and seal. Freeze for up to 6 months.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Pat Speaks at University of Minnesota

Basic Black
Pat will join gardeners, herbies and foodies as they celebrate 50 years of the Minnesota Herb Society. What an honour! On Friday August 10, Pat will take her place at the podium along with an all-star cast of speakers to take you on a 'Journey Through Thyme' to explore 'Herbs in the Garden, Kitchen and Beyond'. 

All are invited to attend this exciting program and meet the authors of the herb world's most important and interesting books. For more information about the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and the incredible speaker lineup for  'Journey Through Thyme' full-day event, go here.

Pat's topic is 'Basic Black'- She will shine a light on the dark side of nature to come up with interesting black herbs for the garden, the kitchen and the medicine cabinet. Through powerpoint and live food demonstration, Pat will show attendees how good their food will look and taste in black. 
Pat says, "a little black salad can take you anywhere".

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Inside Pat's Work as Food Writer


For a woman who specializes in canning and preserving, Pat Crocker is poetically named. Hertome, Preserving (now on sale) is the most complete—and beautiful—cookbook on canning, freezing and jarring you will ever need. Suitable for both novice and experiences canners, this cookbook not only helps you create your preserves, but then offers dozens of delicious recipes in which you can use your canned fruits and veggies! We invited Pat to answer a few questions about her food life and likes. Click over to this past blog post to get a feel for the book and see some of the beautiful color spreads, but in the meantime, get to know Pat!
 Mission:  Write with insight and experience, cook with playful abandon, eat with gusto.  
More on Pat Crocker and her cooking/food/life's work, click here...

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Healing Herbs

Healing foods hold keys to healthIndeed, our pace of living and the commercialization of food seems to have masked what is perhaps the most important key to good health, that of diet. Long before modern medicine, cultures were eating healing foods to both prevent and heal illness. The ancient Chinese document, the Niejing (circa 500 BC) illustrates the importance of using medicinal herbs in everyday food as a fundamental tool in preventing and treating disease. It is likely that both Hippocrates and The Yellow Emperor would have enjoyed healing broth, soup or other long-simmering dishes.

Read my article in Canadian Health and Lifestyle to discover the healing secrets of ginger, turmeric, thyme, cinnamon, and more kitchen herbs for health.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Saucy Spring

It is officially spring and here in Bruce County, it has arrived with both warmth and a chill. I want to clean the herb beds and yet I keep looking over my shoulder for the blast of snow that always seems to sneak in before May 24th, our magic (read 'safe') planting date.
Has spring arrived where you are?
How do you define spring?

Once the warm weather hits and stays, I will be cooking lighter and looking for light ways to flavour my meals and one of the best ways to do that is to add herbed sauces to vegetable and plant-based dishes.

And, of course, one of the finest herb sauces is Pesto. I make pesto from all of the herbs in my herb garden, but most people think only of basil when they think of pesto. The word for the green, nutmeg-spiked paste that I make so often actually comes from the word pestle, which is the tool used along with a mortar to grind the nuts, garlic, Parmesan cheese and of course, the herbs and oil into the coarse or smooth paste we love on pasta, in soups and to slide under tomatoes.

For more fresh, vegan sauce recipes, go here.

I do use a food processor, but every now and then, I use my porcelain, hand-made mortar and it is so satisfying.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Taste Canada Announces Book Awards

Taste Canada Nominees for Food Writing Awards 2012
The long list of nominees for Taste Canada's Food Writing Awards in the Single-Subject Cookbooks category have been announced and three (!!) books by Pat Crocker including one co-authored by Nettie Cronish are among the fifteen nominations.

Some information about the Taste Canada Awards:

Taste Canada — The Food Writing Awards is an evolution of the former Canadian Culinary Book Awards.

These newly branded annual Awards will continue to recognize and celebrate superior writing and publishing throughout Canada’s culinary world, both English and French, while acknowledging and respecting the authority and history of the original Awards.

Winning authors and their publishers will receive recognition through:

  • media outreach
  • marketing partnerships with Canadian publishers
  • a paid Awards event in November 2012
  • a trophy to commemorate winning a Gold Award
  • our ongoing partnerships with Canadian media outlets, retailers, and sponsors, along with Taste Canada sticker templates for the winning books

To view all of the nominees in the Single-Subject Cookbooks category, click here.
The short list of books for the Awards will be announced on August 1, 2012, so stay connected right to this blog and I will bring you all the news.

Meanwhile, if you are are a culinary professional and interested in joining Cuisine Canada, go here.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Uptown 21 Preserves

Pat's Recipes and Nick Benninger at Uptown 21
If you wanted to go to the dinner at Uptown 21 last week but couldn't, Andrew Coppolino was there and he covers the whole thing in his blog, Waterloo Region Eats.
Go here for the menu and photographs of each course. It was a grand tour de force.

I had a blast!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Pat Shows You How to Preserve

Yes you CAN!

Check out the CTV clip on Preserving with Pat Crocker
Click here to view Pat and her book, Preserving.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Everyday Flexitarian

Make Your Eating Style and your Kitchen Flexible
This year, you wanted to eat healthy. We all do! So why not go vegetarian one or two days a week? It's easy.
Nettie Cronish, my co-author on Everyday Flexitarian and I have been giving cooking demonstrations and seminars on Flexitarian cooking and from the comments we hear at those events, people are welcoming our book!
The flexitarian diet has no fixed rules. Instead, it recognizes that for some body types, responsible consumption of small amounts of organic beef, lamb, chicken and fish may be beneficial. Proponents of the flexitarian diet encourage people to adopt a healthy eating style, one that is largely based on vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds and fruit.


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A copy of The Juicing Bible!
Go here
Write to me if you win and I will send you a personalized book plate!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Eat My Words

Words Worth Books and Uptown 21 Host a Preserving inspired Meal

Waterloo book store, Words Worth Books and the hip restaurant, Nick and Nat's Uptown 21 team up on Thursday March 22 for an evening featuring a menu using preserves from Pat's latest book, Preserving (2011, HarperCollins).
Join Pat as she takes you through the seasons of 'putting by' the best that the garden or market produces. Learn how easy it is to freeze and can foods and how to use those gems in fast, fresh dishes.

Eat My Words


All photographs and recipes are original and copyrighted to Pat Crocker. Pat invites you to use her recipes and share with family and friends. Please contact Pat Crocker for express permission for commercial, internet, or other use of her photographs and recipes.