Gift from the Kitchen #3 – Preserved Lemons

December 12th, 2009 / comments 2

Lemons preserved in salt are a condiment used in traditional Moroccan dishes. They will be a perfect gift for my friend Daniel who has been trying to perfect his version of chicken tagine.

ZPF Lemon Branch 01 Gift from the Kitchen #3   Preserved Lemons

I think a jar of these lemons will help him. This recipe has only two ingredients and needs no cooking so it is a breeze to make. Here’s how I made it: … read more

Gift from the Kitchen #2 – Lemon Rosemary Relish

December 11th, 2009 / Comments 0

I created a lemon rosemary relish for Richard, my friend who loves to barbeque chicken even if he has to shovel a path through the snow to get to his grill.

ZPV Rosemary c egbert Gift from the Kitchen #2   Lemon Rosemary Relish

The relish is perfect as a way to add flavor and moisture to well browned chicken.  It will also add a spark to a ham sandwich. Here’s how I did it: … read more

Gift from the Kitchen #1 – Blueberry Lemon Marmalade

December 10th, 2009 / comments 3

This time of the year my kitchen is a workshop for making Christmas gifts.

Ptp holly wreath Gift from the Kitchen #1   Blueberry Lemon Marmalade

Lemons are sunny, versatile fruit that can be used to create sweet and savory treats. Blueberry lemon marmalade is the first of three lemon gifts from my holiday the kitchen.

I made this marmalade for Jeanine, a baker – friend, who will appreciate this delicately tinted pink topper for her homemade scones. Here’s how I made it: … read more

Pickling a Pot of Patty Pan

September 3rd, 2009 / comments 8

When I was seven, I helped my Aunt Anne, whom we called Antenna, make pickles. It was a hot, sticky day in late August and my favorite cousin, Sis, and I were invited to help in the cool cellar.

Pickling Pot c egbert1 Pickling a Pot of Patty Pan

There were baskets of pickling cucumbers, bunches of fresh dill, dill seeds, garlic, jugs of vinegar, boxes of mason jars, rubber rings and lids, enough supplies for a small factory. The cellar was primitive, with two large stone laundry sinks and two gas burners that were used exclusively for pickling or canning. Cucumbers floated in cold water in the deep sinks. I was the cucumber-sorter, a perfect job for a hot day.

I stood on an up-turned box, up to my elbows in cold water.  After making sure each cucumber was clean and didn’t have any soft spots, I transferred it from the left sink to the right sink. The day was hot but within ten minutes I was wet from the waist up, delighted to be as cool as the cucumbers.

The jars jingled as they boiled in the enormous black pot. After Antenna pulled a jar from the pot with tongs, Sis’s job was to drop one garlic clove and one sprig of dill into each jar. All the while, Antenna referred to a small, old notebook filled with small, scratchy hand written notes that I was unable to read. I realize now, it wasn’t the handwriting I couldn’t read – it was the Polish. Bubba, our grandmother, didn’t speak a word of English.

Antenna  filled the jars with cucumbers and boiling brine after Sis and I did our important work. By late afternoon, the cellar was filled with steam and the floor was dangerously slippery with water splashed from the sinks.

At the end of the day we proudly counted dozens of jars of pickles that would last our family until baskets of cucumbers reappeared at the market stand the next summer.

Patty pan pickles c egbert 012 Pickling a Pot of Patty Pan

Because of this early food memory, I make pickles that flood my kitchen with the golden glow of summer sun in the flat gray days of winter.

My methods have changed; now I work alone in my kitchen, content with making small batches. And rather than buying pickling cucumbers by the bushel, I make pickles with squash from my garden.

Here’s how I did it.

… read more

Red Currant Jelly

July 13th, 2009 / comments 7

The small ad in the newspaper said “Pick your own Red Currants.”

red+currant+bush+01 Red Currant Jelly

Riverview Farm in Plainfield, New Hampshire was the place. The sign at a bend in the Connecticut River pointed at the lane to the fields and the currants. The bushes were filled with stems of ruby spheres and picking was easy. There were no bugs, it wasn’t raining, the sun was shining and the sky was blue. In less than forty minutes we had picked three pounds of red currant.
currants+in+bowl+01 Red Currant Jelly
Paul Franklin, proprietor of Riverview Farm weighted the currants and we talked recipes for a few minutes. He told me about his breakfast biscuits with red currants folded in.

Another farmer told me that red currants had been hunted and eliminated by federal agents in the early 1900’s because of concern for the ‘white pine blister rust’ and fear that white pines would suffer the same devastation as the elms. He went on with a smile, ‘If they had tried to take Granny’s red currant bushes, she would have met them with a shot gun.’

Let’s get to the juicy part. Here’s how I did it: … read more

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