"The Leftovers" is a monthly post in which we feature non-recipe content we liked from recent issues of food magazines, as well as other things that have caught our attention.
Germans Vie For Our Canning Hearts
The March issue of Martha Stewart Living was absolutely packed with spring and summer inspiration, especially when it comes to food and gardening. One of the magazine features on "preserving the garden's bounty" featured canning supplies. When we canned tomatoes and watermelon rind, we used Ball Jars. They're what we were familiar with from growing up in the South, where they're nearly synonymous with canning.
Well now we have a new canning crush. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Weck Jars. Manufactured in Germany, we love their little clips and rubber rings. Though they're adorable, it's doubtful that we'll be buying any. After all, we're up to ours ears in empty Ball Jars. If you want some for yourself, Weck Jars are available to order on their website and at Heath Ceramics (Photo at right is courtesy of Heath). Ball Jars are available at freshpreserving.org.
Don't Plant Tomatoes Before Consulting....
If you're thinking of planting tomatoes this summer, seek out the March issue of Living. The "Grow, Pick, Slice, Savor" feature on tomatoes is an excellent guide to selecting the right varieties for the uses you'll want. But really, it just made us want to plant every variety.
Speaking of, we are planting a few things for the first time this year. We're doing a CSA again, but we thought it would be fun to plant some beans and small tomato varieties in the backyard.
Edible Roasting Racks
We like to have ideas in our back pockets for food that is past its prime but still usable. That's the idea behind the Edible Roasting Rack: use pieces of stale baguettes as an impromptu roasting rack for a whole chicken. The chicken gets crisp all over and you can use the bread as croutons in a salad. We fear the bread would burn too much after an hour-plus of cooking, but we're willing to give it a go. A recipe is available at MarthaStewart.com.
What We've Been Reading
The folks at Random House offered us a review copy of Alice Waters' new book, In the Green Kitchen: Recipes to Learn From Heart. The book is a collection of tips and techniques from Alice and friends, combined with recipes for using each one. The chapters range from the very basic (Washing Lettuce, Toasting Bread) to the more advanced (Filleting a Fish -- or perhaps that just seems advanced to us!). We especially loved David Chang's chapter on pickling vegetables and Scott Peacock's on Buttermilk Biscuits.
It struck us while reading the book that this is the perfect cookbook for the individual who is just starting to learn to cook. Perhaps it would make a great graduation gift for a student moving into his or her first apartment. The book was just released on Tuesday and is available from Amazon.
A much discussed cookbook over the last year has been Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. We picked up a copy recently and gave it a read. If you want to bake bread, you should check out this book. The idea is genius: make enough dough for two weeks' worth of baking, store it in your fridge, and you can easily have fresh baked bread every night with hardly any fuss. Though our interest in baking has dipped as the temperatures have risen, we'll definitely revisit this book the next time we want to get to baking.
Propane Delivered to Your Door
When we went to fire up the grill for the first time this spring, we realized that we had left an empty propane take sitting in our back yard all winter. We don't have a car, and lugging a propane tank onto the Metro and out to Home Depot seems like a terrible way to spend a Saturday. So we called Propane Taxi -- a service we've used for the past couple years, which delivers propane to your door. You can order for delivery that day ($9.99 delivery), next day ($4.99 delivery) or standard (free delivery). We called on a Sunday and got a new tank delivered for free on a Tuesday. It's uber-convenient -- you don't even have to be home, and they'll pick up your expired tank and take it away. You can check if it's available in your town at PropaneTaxi.com.
What's got you excited about the starting of spring and the coming summer? Let us know in the comments!