Saturday, September 27, 2008

Introducing Cooking the Seasons

Cooking the Seasons is a step by step journal documenting the process of two women who live in the city yet still want to eat locally-grown food. We are doing this to be environmentally responsible and to feed our families healthier food. The seed was planted when, after swimming lessons one day, we were lamenting the dearth of cooking magazines that focused on seasonal food (a lot do) and also spoke to our particular region (southern New England).

So we decided to do it ourselves, and write a cookbook that goes through the year and gives recipes for what's in season and also explains how to freeze, can, dry, preserve, etc. so food that isn't in season can still be enjoyed. We will also touch on composting and container gardening.

This book (and blog) are for people who live in our area and who want to tap into local foods, if only because seasonal foods are less expensive, but also because they taste better, are healthier (for the consumer and the environment), and support local growers. Along the way, if they want to explore gardening, composting, and food preserving, great!

We are not experts on this. We know some, and want to learn a lot more, and think that our experiences will be helpful to people in a similar situation. We hope you enjoy our journey, and are inspired to start your own.

Renée Scott and Keja Valens

2 comments:

sunbeam said...

This is an awesome and useful website!

maamypatom said...

If you want to change some of those peaches into jam, I just made this recipe that came from an article by Kristina Shevory, May 28, 2008 in the San Francisco Chronicle. Not only is it delicious, but it has the least sugar I have ever seen in a peach jam recipe, and is fine for canning too.
Peach Jam
Yields approximately 4 eight-ounce jars From Cmb sweets. Culinary lavender infuses the sugar with floral and citrus notes. Dried edible roses (either petals or the entire bud) are more fragrant, delicate and sweet. If you don't have time to infuse the sugar, use plain granulated sugar.

* 10 small peaches, white or yellow, a mixture of firm and ripe, unpeeled (enough to yield 8 cups chopped fruit)
* 1/2 cup lavender- or rose-infused sugar (see Note)
* 1 tablespoon lemon juice
* Pinch of salt

Instructions: Place fruit in a large stainless steel or copper pot. Mash the fruit just enough to release the juices. Add just enough water to cover. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, and cook until softened. Stir occasionally.

Add sugar, mix well, and continue cooking until mixture begins to thicken. Stir frequently.

Run the spoon along the bottom of the pot. If the jam holds along the sides (think: parting of the Red Sea) and you can see the bottom of the pot for a few seconds after the spoon is gone, then it's just about done. Add the lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Cook for a minute longer.

Pour into jars sterilized according to manufacturer's instructions and store in the refrigerator for up to four weeks. For longer storage, process according to the instructions provided at foodsafety.psu.edu/canningguide.html.

Note: To make floral-infused sugar, mix 1/2 cup dried flowers (lavender or rose) into 8 cups sugar. Seal in an airtight container or zipper-sealed bag. Let the flowers do their magic for at least a week. If the mixture is too strong, add more sugar. The infused sugar should keep well for at least a few months. Sift to remove petals before using. Use in jam, fruit cobbler, shortbread and simple syrup. Alternatively, you can spice up the sugar with cinnamon, clove, cardamom or almond extract.