Thursday, January 5, 2012

Cookbook Review: Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It by Karen Solomon

I have been meaning to read Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It for quite some time now. In fact, food swap co-founder Stephanie and I reached out to author Karen Solomon when we were first getting started with the food swap since among many other things, she hosts the popular Jam It! Salon at 18 Reasons. She was super supportive of our endeavor, offering tips, insights and introductions where needed, as well as plugging the swap events themselves to her community and followers.

These days I am trying to seriously limit the number of books I buy, but I swear I think this book must be permanently checked out of the Mission Branch Public Library because I frequently troll the cookbook section there and never see it. But today was different. When I spied the book on the shelf, my heart leapt a bit and I eagerly grabbed it.

Grab this book now!
Once home, I immediately sat down on the back porch in the sun and read the entire thing, cover-to-cover.

Totally accessible and designed to make seemingly daunting and difficult cooking projects very simple, this book is written for regular folks  but not excluding accomplished chefs  who want to try their hand at making everything from their own condiments (ketchup to compound butter), to smoking fish and meat, making fresh pasta, candy and so much more. The recipe language is easy to follow and she clearly lays out how much time you'll need, materials as well as ingredients, storage tips and flavor variations. I also like how she gives you quantities for both dry and canned versions of ingredients like beans. The photos are both instructional and beautiful...truly it made me want to hit the kitchen and start making stuff right now.

TOC teaser
But where to start? Well I am definitely going to make the Oregano & Cumin Dressing with the bunch of fresh oregano I have. That plus the head of cabbage in the fridge will be the makings of a tasty slaw!

I am also excited to make ravioli, crackers, hot sauce, salt cod, beef jerky, yogurt cheese and Arnold Palmer Pops (heck, it is pleasant 65° out today).

And, I've got my eye on something in here for the next food swap too, but you'll just have to wait and see what it is.

Of course I recommend you get this book yourself  even if just from the librarybut in the meantime you can also score a few free recipes from Karen's website.

As noted above, while I've met and semi-regularly interact with Karen in the social media space around food swapping, preserving and more, this has in no way influenced my assessment of this most excellent cookbook. I've already put in a reserve request for her latest cookbook as well: Can It, Bottle It, Smoke It. Yay!

Happy New Year of cooking everyone - there's lots to look forward to...

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