The Complete Book of Small Batch Preserving.

Cover of The Complete Book of Small Batch Preserving by Ellie Topp and Margaret Howard

This is the other book I bought for canning fairly recently (where recent is before 1 June 2010). I bought it at the same time I got the “Ball Book of Home Preserving”: because I knew I wanted this one as well.

My friend Corrine and her husband Dave own this book. My understanding is that it was a gift to Dave a few years ago, but that Corrine uses it more often than Dave does. It’s where we got the “Fuzzy Navel” jam recipe (though the authors don’t call it that). I’ll be making that one again, for sure. Possibly not until next peach season, but it’s going to happen.

This book focuses on preserving for the home as well, but on a much smaller scale than the Ball book.… Continue reading →

Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving

Cover of Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving edited by Judi Kingry and Lauren Devine

I don’t recall exactly when I bought this book, but I know that it was earlier this year.

I have been interested in canning for a long time, particularly since my friend Corrine taught me how to make jam in her kitchen. This was back in 2007, and we made some delicious jams (Fuzzy Navel jam was my favorite and our “Harvest Jam” apparently rocked a lot of other folks’ socks). We also made some killer apple butter from a recipe we got from my Grandma L.

Between that and my long-time (though waxing and waning, at times) interest in eating more locally, it was only natural that learning to preserve foods would pique my interest and canning all sorts of things would be a part of my life.… Continue reading →

[44] Classic Lasagne, Bolognese Style

How to Cook Everything, Revised Edition by Mark Bittman

This wasn’t at all the lasagne I had in mind when I decided I wanted to make some lasagne for dinner, with an eye toward freezing the leftovers for lunches. I had in mind the more common (at least in the States) noodle dish with ricotta and mozzarella and a thick tomato-based sauce. However, when I “asked Bittman” for a lasagne recipe (a.k.a. looked in the index), this was the first one that popped up. It was so intriguing and different that I just had to go for it, even if 1) it wasn’t my original vision and 2) he had a recipe for what was my original thought right there.

As the previous two posts indicate, it was kind of a lot of work, and this is the end all of that.… Continue reading →

[43] Meat Sauce, Bolognese Style

How to Cook Everything, Revised Edition by Mark Bittman

This was the second in a set of three recipes I made on Monday. It was also made because I wanted lasagne.

This recipe takes a long time to make. It’s well worth it, I’d say, but it’s important to be aware of that. If you forget, you end up like me, chopping shallots before you’ve had your version of morning caffeine. No good. It’s amazing I have all my fingers.

It’s really a simple story. I was planning to make the lasagne on Sunday, when I had plenty of time. But we slept in and then decided we’d be better off going for a walk and picking up some potting soil and pots for my new plants (thyme and lemon balm). After all, I would have plenty of time to make lasagne on Monday.… Continue reading →

[42] B├ęchamel

How to Cook Everything, Revised Edition by Mark Bittman

I can’t lie, I only made this recipe because I wanted lasagne and Bittman’s lasagne recipe called for it. Admittedly, I was also pretty thrilled to knock out three recipes in one go.

This does smell pretty good while cooking, I have to say. Also practicing my roux skills is always nice, since keeping it lump free is a big pain.

h2. Ingredients

2 tbsp butter or extra-virgin olive oil (I used butter. No surprises here.)
2 tbsp all-purpose flour

1 – 1.5 c milk

Salt and freshly ground pepper (Omitted.)

h2. Instructions

Melt the butter in a sauce pan over medium-low heat (if using oil, heat until hot). Once melted/hot, turn the heat to low and use a whisk to incorporate the flour into the fat.… Continue reading →