Food in Charlottesville Jars.

If you’ve ever taken any of my canning classes, talked to me for more than say, two minutes about canning or read anything I’ve written in the past few years about canning, then you might have picked up that I’m a bit of a fan of Food in Jars.  I completely and totally credit the end of my years long struggle of making a decent batch of jam to Marisa McClellan, the woman behind both the blog and the cookbook. She introduced me to the concept of small batches – which also happens to be the subject of her latest cookbook, “Preserving by the Pint:Quick Seasonal Canning for Small Spaces“.  She was here in Charlottesville last night at The Happy Cook, where she demoed Honey-Sweetened Strawberry Jam, on the first stop of her southern book tour promoting her new cookbook.

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This is to say.

name 010If you look at the top of the header on this page, you’ll see a little tab with the word ‘classes’.  If you go to that page, you will see a list of classes I’m putting together over at one of Betty’s kitchens, beginning next week.  There’s soups, breads, chocolate cake and more.  Go there now to read more.  Hope to see you at one of them.

Pie.

name 001Apple pie, hands down my favorite dessert of all time, is one I spent years trying to master. There are lots of recipes out there for the ‘perfect’ apple pie – and I’ve read most of them.  Most of them advise using a certain type of apple – and most are limited to one variety.  The key to a really great apple pie is to mix up your varieties.  Right now, with some of the most flavorful apple varieties available around Central Virginia, is the time to make an apple pie.  And maybe one for the freezer. Continue reading

Oh July.

DSCN2940It’s been a bit of a whirlwind around here lately – deadlines & cooking classes galore with last minute radio spots and packing up missthing for 3 weeks of camp all while playing single mom in the miserably muggy weather.  Last Thursday, when you could see the air and it smelled like mildew outside and I couldn’t take it anymore, I got our wonderful neighbor Brian to come help me reinstall the not-finished-french doors between the dining room and sunroom so that I could shut the house up and keep the humidity levels sane.  I can take the heat and even the humidity, but I can’t take the effect humidity has on the inside of my house.  Living in Alabama for almost a decade, I never had central AC – all through college I lived in wonderful old houses that had lots of big trees & ceiling fans, very similar to what I live with now – and I learned to just deal with it.  I also had a car that did not have air conditioning.  Ever drive along the Gulf Coast Fourth of July without AC in the middle of the day? To this day, AC in a car is a wonderful, wonderful luxury.

So I’m quite used to dealing with heat & humidity.  It seems that spending too much time inside in AC this time of year results in sinus infections for all of us – I woke up just this morning with that telltale pressure on the right side of my face.  Thankfully, the weather is supposed to become far more pleasant later in the week, so hopefully we can open the house back up again.

Pat spent last week running the Middle James Expedition– while Edie & I held down the home front.  Despite our house being the muggiest one around, her pals were in & out all week long.  A huge thanks to Teresa, who had Edie over for a sleepover while I drove over to Harrisonburg and back for a canning demonstration at Friendly City Co-op.  Thanks to everyone who came out to that – I had a great time and am looking forward to going back over for a pressure canning demo in a few weeks.   Saturday morning after a quick phone appearance on WINA talking about the upcoming swap, I assisted with Erica’s Cooking with A Whole Chicken Class for Market Central,while running last minute errands and doing laundry in order to get up and drop Edie at camp Sunday morning.

DSCN3108After which, we stopped at the nearest open brewery and toasted our child-free status for the next three weeks.

I’ll miss not finding feet pictures on my camera the next three weeks, but I have plenty of adventures lined up to keep me occupied, starting with tonight’s canning class at PVCC, a fridge full of produce I need to deal with ASAP and the mailing of a care package of the things she forgot to pack.  Like toothpaste.

Well I’ll be.

It’s not all fun & games, lazy pool days & popsicles for breakfast while slowly overhauling the dining room here.   This morning, I got up, put a second coat on the walls (ain’t nothing left to do but the trim!!), packed some lunches, made a decent breakfast (and got it into her!) before dropping Edie off at her ‘mother’s helper’ gig at The Boar’s Head and then headed out to pick blueberries.

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So far this week.

I bought beets at market last Saturday.  I roasted them in a foil packet in just a wee bit of water at 375 for just over an hour.  I let them cool,  peeled them, tossed with with salad greens, goat’s milk feta cheese, salt & pepper, olive oil & red wine vinegar. We liked them.  So much so I bought more beets at market this Saturday and when I suggested making that salad again today, Edie said okay.  Which means she likes them I think.  Dare I say we are starting to like beets? Continue reading

Down at Market.

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I totally meant to write this post earlier in the week,  but one thing after another popped up and next thing you know, it’s a week later and one realizes oh, that never happened.  And then, because I’m one of those people who believes that if you do something and you’re going to blog about it, you should do it in a timely manner, ie, just after it happens, I started debating whether to do it at all.  Sitting here on a Sunday morning where the sun can’t quite decide if it’s coming out or not, realizing that until this stinking dining room gets done, getting this house clean and decluttered is just not an option and I really should get myself geared up just a little bit more before jumping back into that dining room project, it seemed like I should write about it. Continue reading