Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It: And Other Cooking Projects by Karen Solomon is a book so awesome that I was freaking out as I looked through it. Seriously.
So how did I come across this amazing book? Well, I'm a library patron -- one of those people who wander the isles plucking random books from the shelves. I occasionally look up a book in the catalog, but I find a good 90% of the books I check out by hunting and gathering. This week my interests leaned toward preserving, canning and cheese making, so I hit the 641.4 section. This book called out to me when I saw the beautiful cover -- a quick page through it revealed equally lovely photos, so I brought it home.
When I sat down I noticed the subtitle -- "and other cooking projects" -- and knew this was going to be good. I *love* food projects -- making bear, soda, jam, bread, pickles, and so on. When I opened to the first section I was super excited to see cracker recipes -- well, one basic recipe with a bunch of variations. Since I almost always alter recipes, a book with variations makes me happy. And since I've been wanting to get away from processed foods and Pete loves crackers -- this is one recipe I've been looking for.
Condiments are covered next -- infused oils, salad dressings, ketchup, mayo -- all things I want to try my hand at. Then comes pickles and olives, which is wonderful since I'm growing pickling cucumbers and some of them are nearing ripeness.
The next section made me think the author was writing the book just for me, as it includes basic pasta dough, tomato sauce and ravioli (and more). Since we are mostly vegetarian, we tend to eat a lot of pasta and I've been wanting to make fresh pasta with Maddie.
The next couple of sections are for the meat eaters -- cured, smoked, dried, etc. fish and meat. I have to admit, I'm tempted to try her recipe for homemade bacon.
Section 7 is all about butter and cheese. OMG! I was actually looking for this book when I stumbled upon Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It. Recipes include butter and compound butters, queso blanco, ricotta and ricotta salata.
Section 8 is Preserves, curds and fruit butters. And section 9 is called "Sugar It". This section includes a recipe I've been meaning to make for ages -- marshmallows. She thoughtfully includes a recipe for graham crackers too, so you can get some smore action going. And I have to mention the fruit leather recipe because Maddie has been asking to make homemade fruit leathers for the last couple weeks. (Seriously, does the author know me?) In keeping with the sweet theme, section 10 include recipes for all sorts of popsicles, including chocolate fudge pops and burnt salted caramel icies.
Section 11 is all about candy making and includes some yummy looking peppermint patties, toffee and peanut butter cups -- Pete's favorite.
Since I've been meaning to try making flavored vodka, section 12 -- hard and soft beverages -- was well received. I also bookmarked limoncello, ginger beer, chai and winter solstice brew.
Okay, I know I've gone on and on about this book, but it is right up my alley and has me ridiculously excited. Check it out yourself if you have the chance! And I'll be sure to post my results as I work my way through this book.