In preserving, as with most things, it’s all about the right tool for the job. To the untrained eye, one mason jar may look more or less like another, and while it’s true they all get the job done, each has its strengths. For example, wide-mouth jars with shoulders are particularly good for when you need to pack things in and not have them float, like pickles or whole fruit. I have a cache of more than 50 quart jars that we use almost exclusively for our annual tomato-canning extravaganza. And while you can never have enough half-pint jars for jams, I also really love the tiny 4-oz. jars expressly because they make quick, cute and inexpensive gifts.
But there are two jars that have particular use: The Ball 12-oz. quilted jars and 24-oz. pint-and-a-half jars. Each of these is 50% larger than their standard counterparts (half pint and pint, respectively), and each has a straight, cylindrical profile. This, then, makes them perfect for canning long, narrow things, like asparagus — and green beans.
When I’m feeling a bit peckish, I don’t grab candy. Salty snacks and crackers have a siren song, but even then I can navigate those waters. No, my ultimate go-to bite is a pickle. It ticks all the boxes: Cool, juicy, salty, tangy. And if it can be a bit spicy, so much the better. Dilly beans tick all the boxes. You can settle in front of the tube with a big bowl of popcorn; I’ll curl up with a jarful of these slender, spicy spears.
Continue Reading Bean There, Jarred That
Our season-long garden party Summer Fest 2012 welcomes food and garden bloggers to feature garden-to-table recipes and tips. We’ll feature favorite garden-to-table recipes and tips to help you enjoy the bounty, whether you’re harvesting your own goodies or buying them fresh from the market. Fresh this week: peppers.
Sweet bell peppers come in a variety of colors, making for an easy-on-the-eyes summer dinner. They’ll stand up to grilling and baking, making them a great vehicle for meats, rice, cheese or all of these combined. Hollow out a pepper before stuffing it to the brim with these delicious recipes.
Continue Reading Summer Fest: 5 Favorite Recipes for Stuffed Peppers
Salty-sweet desserts are all the rage (much to our taste buds’ delight), so I always find it fun coming up with new (and seasonal) ways to experiment with these flavors. To celebrate peak peach season, I’m pairing the stone fruit with pretzels in a pie that has the perfect amount of crunch. In addition to adding texture, the salted pretzels really bring out that sweet peach flavor. My favorite thing about this pie is its layers (peach nectar- and cinnamon-spiked gelatin, tangy cream cheese and those salty, crunchy pretzels), which makes digging into it kind of like unwrapping a delicious dessert present.
Continue Reading Pretzel Peach Pie: The Salty-Sweet Side of Summer
There’s a classic riddle about a father arriving late to a summer barbecue with his son. He asks the grill master for a well-done hamburger for the boy. The grill master says, “He doesn’t want that; my son only eats burgers medium rare.” See, the grill master was the kid’s mother! We might have the specific details of the riddle mixed up, but the point is female chefs are now (wo)manning the fire all over the world. Tonight at 10pm ET, watch Cooking Channel’s Grill Girls about some of the women who are discovering the thrill of the grill.
We’ll follow an all-women’s barbecue team hoping to make a name for themselves on the BBQ circuit. Then we’ll look at why women are moving their cooking to the back yard.
To fire up excitement for the premiere, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite grilling recipes from our top female chefs. Get the recipes after the jump.
Continue Reading Get Your Grill on with Grill Girls
When summer rolls around, I always look forward to sinking my teeth into a wedge of watermelon — its sweet juices cooling my throat and dripping down my chin in equal measure. And when it gets super hot outside, I think about those watermelon Italian ices from the ice cream truck or pool snack bar, eaten very carefully with a small wooden spoon. For me, watermelon equals summertime.
So for my next Jell-O recipe, I decided to captured that sweet watermelon flavor and added a tart, adult twist. Made with watermelon cubes, freshly squeezed lime juice and a splash of vodka, this Jell-O is perfect for serving at a backyard pool party or other outdoor affair. The pureed watermelon gives the mold more substantial texture — similar to that of a frozen treat — which just may force some impromptu childhood reminiscing.
Continue Reading Spiked Watermelon Jell-O — Drink and Dessert in One
Hedy Goldsmith's Plum Upside-Down Cake
Our season-long garden party Summer Fest 2012 welcomes food and garden bloggers to feature garden-to-table recipes and tips. We’ll feature favorite garden-to-table recipes and tips to help you enjoy the bounty, whether you’re harvesting your own goodies or buying them fresh from the market. Fresh this week: plums.
Summer is stone fruit season and plums are just one of the many delicious fruit varieties that you’ll see at the market right now. Its sweet and tart flavor make it the ideal ingredient for cakes, cobblers and compotes.
Here are our favorite plum recipes to bake up right now:
Continue Reading Summer Fest: Plum Good Sweets
Pop quiz: During summertime, the living should be:
b) a pain in the ass
If you answered c) you are correct!
To make the living as easy as possible, here are some cocktail options that are delicious and have just two ingredients. That’s right: two ingredients. And if two ingredients is too complicated, simply drink from the bottle and then please call a friend and tell them that your life is unraveling.
Here we go:
Continue Reading Two-Ingredient Summer Cocktails
These Crispy Tuna Cake Sliders are a great lighter alternative to the classic burger.
When it comes to grilling, Burger is King. It always seems that when people gather, stomachs and minds in grilling mode, they can’t help but salivate over that delicious patty they’re about to layer on a bun with their favorite toppings, slather in sauces and sink their teeth into. These days, though, everyone seems to be on one special diet or another, or eager to venture beyond their burger-comfort zone. How do you please an entire crowd when one person is watching their cholesterol, another is vegetarian and half of your guests are bored with beef burgers?
We feel your pain and are here to help. Check out some of these alternatives to the classic burger. Use them as recipes and inspiration to please your crowd of hungry friends:
Continue Reading Better Burgers for Your July 4th Party
There’s something about Jell-O — chilled, jiggly gelatin in an array of fruity flavors and colors — that screams summertime. The easy, from-a-box dessert is perfect for hot summer days, transforming from spoonable treat to cool liquid once it hits the tongue. Set the gelatin in some shapely molds, mix in a few surprising ingredients and — voila! You’ve got yourself a perfect warm-weather party dessert with a wow factor.
To kick off my series of posts for Cooking Channel, and to celebrate July 4th, I’ve created a Jell-O mold with an elegant, adult twist (think: Jell-O shot meets dinner party dessert). Strawberries and blueberries are suspended in boozy, effervescent, ginger ale-laced gelatin, and topped with whipped cream for that full red, white and blue effect.
Continue Reading Retro Red, White & Boozy Jell-O Dessert