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I competed my June entry for the Food in Jars Mastery Challenge a couple of weeks ago. But then I got slammed with finishing-my-work-assignments-before-going-out-of-town, and then I did the actual going-out-of-town.

I am home now, and just in time to post about the jam I made! Because I had some delicious blueberries on hand and was curious to find out how well they’d play with ginger, I opted to try the recipe for blueberry jam with crystallized ginger that’s in Marisa’s Preserving by the Pint.


The recipe yields two half-pint jars, but I had enough blueberries to fill three. So I did some math and adjusted all of the other ingredients accordingly.

I did make one big change to the recipe, though—by accident. It calls for both grated fresh ginger and crystallized ginger. When I saw “combine the blueberries, sugar, ginger, and lemon juice in a large skillet” I threw both types of ginger into the pan. It was only when the jam had finished cooking that I noticed “remove the pot from the heat and stir in the candied ginger.”



Fortunately, my failure to read the recipe through carefully did not wreck my jam! Instead of the end product having little nuggets of crystallized ginger in it, it has ginger “punches” that are more subtle and more evenly distributed—which I think I prefer.

P.S. Last month, I wrote, “When scapes appear at my market next month, I plan to try making pickled garlic scapes.” And I did! I look forward to enjoying these when scape season is long over.


The February theme for the Food in Jars Mastery Challenge is salt preserving. This is totally new territory for me. So of course I had to try two different recipes.

First up: preserved Meyer lemons. I first read about these years and years ago in Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone (my main go-to cookbook). “They’re not hard to make,” she says, and she’s right. But it still took me nearly two decades to get around to it.

Meyer lemons are in season right now, so I wanted to make a recipe that highlighted their charms. I followed the instructions for “Salt-Preserved Meyer Lemons” in Marisa McClellan’s Preserving by the Pint. The recipe calls for one pound of Meyer lemons, and the prepackaged bag of lemons I found at my local store conveniently equalled that amount. Hooray!


This really is an easy recipe to prepare! All you have to do is wash and slice your lemons and stuff them into a quart jar with salt and spices. Easy peasy. I stowed the jar in a cool dark cabinet. and every few days I shake it to move its contents around (after three weeks or so, I’ll move it to the refrigerator for long-term storage). I am looking forward to trying out this stuff, especially after seeing this list of ideas!

Up next: vegetable stock. I enjoy making homemade vegetable stock, but all the waiting-to-be-turned-into-stock vegetable trimmings and all the containers of already-made stock really take up a lot of real estate in my freezer. So when I saw that Marisa had a recipe for a vegetable stock concentrate, I decided to give it a try.


This is another easy recipe: all you have to do is run everything through a food processor until it’s a nicely pureed, gross-looking brown paste, and then store it in the fridge. This really couldn’t be easier.

This recipe makes a huge batch—so huge, in fact, that after filling one quart jar for the fridge I decided to put the rest in a box in the freezer. (Yes, I realize that my “put less stuff in the freezer” motivation for making this actually ended up with me putting stuff in the freezer anyway, but it’s a lot less stuff than before, so I’m not complaining!)



I’ve already used the vegetable stock concentrate once, and with great success. I made the Saffron Cauliflower Soup with Persillade from the cookbook Vedge, which bears the name of the authors’ fabulous restaurant. The concentrate yielded a rich vegetable stock that was a far cry from the anemic stocks that come in aseptic boxes. I’d say it’s right on par with the vegetable stock I usually make—but takes a fraction of the time and effort.

(P.S. Want to try Saffron Cauliflower Soup with Persillade? You can find that recipe—along with a couple others from Vedgehere!)


Pink hats

Last week I made ten pink Pussyhats. (The tenth is not pictured because my kid claimed it as soon as it came off the needles.)


I am not usually a big fan of “craftivism” and see it mostly as an inefficient use of time and resources. Rather than spend time and money to knit a sweater to send to refugees halfway across the world, for example, I think it’s far more helpful to send money to charity and activist groups (such as Doctors without Borders) that are already on the ground in those areas and doing something there.

But the Pussyhat Project appealed to me because of its ability to send a clear statement about the importance of justice and equality for all. Because of an all-day (and unmovable) commitment on our calendar, my family wasn’t able to participate in the Women’s March on Washington last week. So I sent these hats with friends marched for themselves and on behalf of people (like me) who wanted to be there but can’t.

When people marched in Washington, DC, and other cities (and countries! and continents!) on January 21, the world took notice. (Even Trump, I’m sure—though he’s still trying to convince everyone that his inauguration crowds were way, way bigger.) Nearly every photo and video of that day’s events featured a sea of pink hats. It was amazing to see this sign of solidarity.

What next? I hope that the many lawmakers and media who have been tepid in their rejection of Trump’s message of misogyny, racism, and hatred will finally find the courage to call out his lies and bullying and  stand up for what’s right. And I hope that these pink hats (and all of the other resistance modes at play last weekend) inspire everyone to realize that the world is a better place when we work together to benefit us all.

And because I’m certain there will be plenty of future opportunities to demonstrate against the current administration and its policies, I plan to keep knitting pink hats.


I <3 this so much



Lopi sweater

I finished the colorblock sweater I started (and ripped and restarted) back in November!


I am 95% happy with it. The sleeves are a little more snug than I’d prefer. But because knitting sleeves onto a top-down sweater is such a pita (having to pause frequently to rotate the sweater body so the whole thing doesn’t get all twisted up), I’d like to avoid redoing them if possible. Here’s hoping that blocking can save the day!


The truth

My friends Pat and Steve have this very awesome sign hanging in their kitchen.



Hello, spring!

Of course, winter just couldn’t say goodbye today without making a dramatic exit. 


Wind-blown snow on the playhouse floorboards:


“I sense a disturbance in the snow . . .” 




Current projects in clay

This is in porcelain. I’m trying to decide whether to keep the whole thing white, to use one color for the whole thing, or to use different colors for the ginkgo leaf and the background. 

These are waiting to be trimmed. I think I will try more carving on some of them. 

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