• Posted by Califia Suntree on July 22nd, 2014, 1:25 PM

    It goes without saying that there is no better time than summer to make and eat salads—cool, refreshing, requiring no heat to prepare, and light enough to keep you feeling good. Salads are particularly welcome at lunchtime in the hotter times of year, but lunch salads also present a huge challenge. Namely, the dreaded limp lettuce syndrome, combined with leaky tomato-itis, browning and pervasive sog. For my forthcoming book, Bring Your Lunch!, I tested countless systems and ingredients for lunch salads, and came up with a few hard truths. It’s easy and quick to make salads for lunch, but you do have to follow the rules. Here’s what I learned, plus an easy, lunch-friendly salad to try.

    * Get your container dialed. You need a spacious, leak-proof container plus a teeny one to put in there that holds your dressing, if you are needing to dress last-minute (more on that later). I mostly avoid plastic (just in case!) and use either a lightweight stainless steel or glass container with a snap lid; for dressing I like a baby food jar or a 4-ounce canning jar.

    * Keep it cold: The enemy of crispness is warmth. If you have a standard-length commute, throw your container and an ice pack into an insulated bag (there are oodles, but I love the classic/classy Gourmet Getaway Tote by Built). If it will be more than an hour, or if you don’t have a fridge at work, you’ll need a legit cooler. (How cute is this mini Playmate?!)

    * Forget lettuce. If you are dressing in the morning and eating mid-day, which is greatly more convenient than transporting salad dressing, you can’t make that arugula and tomato salad with balsamic vinaigrette. It will be inedible, watery mess after 4-6 hours. What you need is a salad base that withstands–nay, welcomes–marination. Raw kale or chard, green or red cabbage (my personal favorite), mature spinach, fennel and Brussels sprouts are rather potent freshly shredded, but delightful after a few hours soaking in salad dressing. And who says it has to be leafy? Build your salad on shredded carrots, beets, shaved raw zucchini, or grains. (This farro salad from Tasting Table would make a superb gourmet lunch.) On days that you simply must have a tender pile of raddichio, baby spinach, or red-leaf, tote the dressing separately (see above). Read on… »

  • Posted by Califia Suntree on July 2nd, 2014, 12:28 PM

    I love living in apartments–you can keep your houses with their lawn care, leaky roofs, and energy guzzling! But, there are two things about house-dwelling that I covet: the mudroom, and a big old grill. (Apartment-dwellers with patios or decks pretty much have it all.) Grilling is my favorite way to cook almost everything, whether it’s salmon or peaches or asparagus (or…squirrel). While most people associate grilling with summer, every season offers foods that improve with a bit of char (think red meat, sweet onions, bok choy, winter squash). Year-round grilling is particularly easy if you do your grilling indoors, as I’ve always done, and as all fellow apartment dwellers ought to try. All you need is a heavy cast-iron grill pan and a good ventilating hood (or an open window), and you’re in action. I’ve had a brilliant, sturdy Victoria reversible grill pan for years, which has a griddle on the flip side perfect for pancakes. But there are oodles of grill pans out there, in various colors, sizes and price points. (I love this pretty Le Creuset number, and Lodge is always a reliable choice.) Yard or no, it’s time to get grilling! Here’s a recipe to try–stovetop-grilled marinated pork chops. Serve them with kimchi and rice, and grilled carrots dressed with sesame oil and a bit of soy.

    Korean Style Pork Chops

    Makes 4 servings Read on… »

  • Posted by Califia Suntree on August 20th, 2013, 8:54 AM

    So we have two lucky winners of the Spooning Can-It-Forward Day recipe contest. Portland’s own Keri Padon and Chris Ericsen (of Swing Top Soda Co.) submitted the following delectable salsa, and they will be getting the Ball canning starter kit! This salsa is hot and garlicky, and just in time for full-on tomato season. Congrats Chris and Keri!

    Fried Garlic Grilled Jalapeño Tomatillo Salsa

    10 cloves garlic
    1/2 cup olive oil
    1 onion, diced
    2 fresh tomatillos, whole
    6 jalapeños, de-stemmed and sliced in rounds
    3 T. rice vinegar
    3 T. brown sugar
    1 bunch cilantro
    Salt & pepper

    Fry the garlic in the olive oil until golden brown. Set aside and let cool. Take 2 tablespoons of the oil used for frying and dress the onion, jalapeño, and tomatillo. Grill until nice and charred. Mix all ingredients and add to food processor, blender, or chop all with a knife to make as chunky as you want. Add salt and pepper to taste. NOTE: If sauce is too spicy add more sugar. If you like it super spicy omit the sugar. May also be used as a marinade for grilled foods.

    Place in hot, sterilized jars and can using a boiling water bath. (Follow the salsa canning instructions here.)

     

     

     

  • Posted by Califia Suntree on August 17th, 2013, 8:08 AM

    Happy Can-It-Forward Day everyone! Enjoy this live webcast of Ball’s event at the Union Square Market in New York. Giveaways and classes until 2pm EST. Get canning!

 
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