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Cookbook review and recipe: Can it, Bottle it, Smoke it!

Karen Solomon is one of those instantly likeable people. She’s fun, bright, wears funky clothes, and can teach anyone a thing or two about enjoying food to the fullest. She has participated in The HOMEGROWN Village at Maker Faire for three years in a row – teaching tinkerers how to cure bacon, crank out homemade marshmallows and, this year, she went back to the basics and held a canning workshop for the newbies.

We’ve been eagerly awaiting the arrival of her latest book, “Can it, Bottle it, Smoke it”, and we’re happy to report that this is not just another precious cookbook. These recipes are fresh and novel – DIY Nutella! Homemade Hot Dogs! Smoked Apples and Pears – whoooooahhh! This book promises hours of kitchen adventure.

There are over 75 clearly-written recipes, tons of pretty pictures, and just the right amount of straightforward advice to make you feel armed with the skills you need.

Get a load of some other recipes from the book:

  • Carrot Almond Jam
  • Quince Paste
  • Sesame Rosemary Granola
  • Preserved Lemons
  • Smoke and Chocolate Spice Rub
  • Miso Pickles
  • Bagels
  • Cakes in a Jar
  • Tamales (Two Ways)
  • Corn Dogs
  • Dulce de Leche
  • Rice Milk
  • Strawberry Black Pepper Syrup
  • Salted Margarita Cream Pops

All perfectly genius! Karen has been generous enough to share her recipe for Carrot Almond Jam with us. What a fantastic way to use those carrots from our CSA share!

Carrot Almond Jam

From Can it, Bottle it, Smoke it by Karen Solomon

1 1/2 pounds carrots, trimmed, peeled, and shredded (about 41/4 cups)

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

21/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup chopped tamari almonds

1 thin-skinned orange

1 lemon

Instructions: Combine the carrots, ginger, sugar, and water in a large Dutch oven. In a food processor, grind the nuts and add them to the pot. Wash the orange and lemon and cut them into quarters. Chop them—seeds, skins, and all—in the food processor, and then stir them into the pot as well.

Put the pot over medium heat, cover, and let it come to a boil. Stir, turn the heat to medium-low, cover again, and let simmer for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, allowing the carrots to get tender.

How to Store It: Spoon the jam into clean jars and refrigerate for up to 3 months. Or spoon into sterilized canning jars, packing very tightly to eliminate the air bubbles inside (you can also stick a chopstick or long skewer into the jar to pop the bubbles before canning). Process for 15 minutes (review the canning instructions on page 28). This will keep for up to 1 year on the shelf.

We’re giving away a copy of the book to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment here answering the question: “What recipe have you recently cooked that was a new challenge for you?” It could be a new technique, ingredient, type of dish…whatever. Just tell us how you stretched your cooking repertoire – and tell us what you made! Good luck! We’ll pick a winner at noon Eastern on Friday August 5th. NOTE: THE GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED!

 

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66 Responses to “Cookbook review and recipe: Can it, Bottle it, Smoke it!”

  1. I recently made homemade graham crackers – they were delicious and were friendly to my oldest daughter’s food allergies. She loved them!

  2. I have been trying to cook foods from different areas around the world – finding some of the spices required has been the most challenging thing in the very rural area where I live! I recently managed Ras al Hanout, though – and it is lovely!

  3. Brianna McClintock Says:

    This past year we raised and processed our own pigs. We made smoked bacon, smoked canadian bacon, smoked hams, sweet italian sausage, breakfast sausage, and summer sausage. It was pretty scary trying all these things for the first time knowing all of the meat that was on the line. We were very happy that everything came out great and look forward to trying some new things, like salami, now with a little experience under our belts. This book looks amazing, I would love to try some recipes in it!

  4. We went on a camping trip with very short supply of cooking equipment. Wound up making baked flounder and roasted seasonal veggies, had to make chopsticks out of palmetto fronds!

  5. Blackened tofu! As a lifelong vegetarian who grew up in the Northeast, I never really developed a taste for blackening spices. But now that I know about them and learned to trust an oil-free pan + spice coating, I’m all about it!

  6. Recently tried homemade stir fry. It turned out pretty good! Getting excited to try new and different meals.

  7. Mrstedger Says:

    Fig leaves make wonderful wraps for veggies, fish and meat on the grill! Susbstitute for corn husks, grape leaves, ect. They have a coconutty smell and also make for a wonderful tea 🙂 I just pick’em right off the tree. Plus they are so large, fragrant and pretty too.

  8. We’ve been making sweet relish from scratch to avoid all the dyes and preservatives…..super YUM.

  9. I took a class on “curries of the world,” because me and my husband love curry. In class, all of my dishes were DELICIOUS. So, recipe in hand, I tried to repeat it at home. Uh, um…yeah. Not so delicious. And even though we live in Los Angeles, some of the ingredients are hard to find (curry leaves! gah!). Then I promptly failed at making an Indian pickle. Please send help.

  10. My recent cooking challenges have been learning to bake, especially breads in a different climate than I am used to. Tried and true recipes I used in the northern climate seem to need tweaking when done in a warm more humid southern climate. You almost need to be a meteorologist to bake bread down here!

  11. I recently took a class in lactofermentation and found it so inspiring, I bought “Wild Fermentation” and have been making all kinds of delicious lactofermented foods. But there was a learning curve. I had to learn to boil and cool the tap water to remove the chlorine – my first batch of pineapple vinegar was a stinky rotten sludge because the chlorine killed the beneficial microbes and a bunch of nasty ones moved in! It’s going much better though. I’m fermenting lots of really amazing stuff and yesterday I started my first batch of homemade spiced ginger beer!

  12. I would love to be added for the drawing please!

  13. I canned Beets! I had never canned before and for my birthday I asked for canning equipment – cans, funnel, pot, the whole nine yards. I now I have 9 beautiful pints of pickled beets. I think they look like art! HA!

  14. I recently made and canned Rhubarb ketchup. Although the recipe was extremely easy, I’d never heard of anything like it before, so it was a stretch of my imagination. I do love rhubarb, though, so I gave it a try. I LOVE IT! I made 3 more batches after that first tenative try!

  15. I did my first large batch of bbq sauce. Funny how recipes need to change when they get multiplied so many times. I thought multiplying it by 8 would give us enough for all year, but at the rate we’re using it, it’ll be gone by December!!

  16. We recently fermented kimchi for the first time! So fun to make and delicious to eat!

  17. After making 6 gallons of wine and some grape jelly, I canned some grape leaves off my vines. Also getting pretty good at processing chickens .

  18. My proudest moment recently was learning how to make my own yogurt… by putting it outside on the porch to ferment in our sweltering Texas summers. It’s amazing how tasty it is, how easy it is to make, and how much money I save by doing it. And it’s great having at least one reason to LIKE the 100+ degree weather!

  19. I’ve been making a granola-of-the-month with sprouted crispy nuts and home-dried fruit. Since the granola requires baking, and the weather has just been too hot to run the oven, I decided to bake it camp-style in a foil packet with the residual heat of the grill after a bbq dinner.

  20. This sounds wonderful! I love recipes that show me how to make things I may buy in the store but end up so much more delicious when made from scratch!

  21. I’ve been experimenting w/ chili recipes the last couple weeks. Still haven’t found “the one” but will keep trying. 🙂

  22. I roasted fresh tomatoes, garlic, and peppers. Yuummmm!

  23. I grew Swiss Chard for the first time this summer and have been learning different ways to cook it and preserve it.

  24. learning how to cook with the grass-fed beef we purchased from a local farmer has been an interesting challenge – I hadn’t eaten red meat in nearly 15 years, and my partner wanted braised short ribs, among other things. 🙂

  25. Sue Prescott Says:

    Made a chocolate cake! The new part was that I’d never made it at 9200 ft altitude!

  26. Recently, I tried making my own butter from heavy cream. It was tasty but not what I remember eating when I was a kid.

  27. We’ve just started making falafel! It’s super easy and is a great way to add a meatless night a week to our cooking routine! We’ve love to check out the book as this is our second year gardening with the kids and need to find new ways to extend the bounty that our front yard garden is providing. thanks!

  28. Kellianne Says:

    I want to try that carrot jam!
    Recently bought a dehydrator and have been drying everything. Making my own tea blends from homegrown herbs. Making yogurt (love!). Learning how to cook Thai and Indian dishes. It’s going ok but never tastes quite good enough. It’s an ongoing learning process for me. TY!!

  29. I recently canned some salsa. We got a great water bath canner as a wedding gift and a co-worker brought a TON of tomatoes to the office to share. Now we will have salsa for the rest of the year. I would maybe change a few things (perhaps use and immersion blender to puree the ingredients a little bit,) but overall it was fun and tasty!

  30. I tackled English toffee! Tempering chocolate is a challenge time after time for me. I am still working to get it right!

  31. This year we are going to can salsa for the first time,. I can’t wait for our tomatoes to get ripe!!

  32. I did an experiment in yogurt making the other day.

    I have never made yogurt successfully before, but now I managed to figure it out. My husband and me got a cast iron cookpot from our friends as a wedding gift, and I used it to keep my yogurt in a tight sealing glass jar in a water bath in the heavy pot at 115F for 7 hours in. I kept it out of the way in my oven, that I kept on the lowest temperature; “warm” function at about the halfway mark of my project.

    I used a Greek yogurt with live probiotic cultures as my starter, and the resulting yogurt is soft, creamy, although sort of runny. I don’t currently have a coffee filter, which would be ideal for straining the yogurt into a more Greek texture, but this one will work well for Indian “Lassi” style drinks, and with my breakfast cereal with honey.

    Overall, the first batch was simple to make, although I like it a bit more tart, so I might end up letting it ferment for a little longer next time. Overall, it was a good experience, and I will keep on experimenting. I live on yogurt, fruit, pickled herring with new potatoes or rye bread, salad and such in summer, so it’s good to be able to make more at about a buck per bucket (pardon the bad pun).

    My next project is to see, if I can pull off further processing the yogurt into cream cheese. It is doable, I just need to figure out the best recipe.

  33. I know it’s not cooking exactly, but this spring and summer I’ve been learning about and experimenting with lacto-fermentation as a way to preserve our bounty. It’s definitely a new experience… learning to be patient and allow the food to evolve!

  34. Hi! I’ve been canning everything for years and this sounds like an amazing new take on some new ideas for canning! I would love to win this–please enter me! Thanks!

  35. and as to what I have tried recently that was new—-we just started making a Curried Chickpea Mash with Naan that is out of this world! 🙂

  36. Some people have discovered the sneaky benefits of adding beans to their kiddo’s baked sweets. I’ve discovered the glory of sneaking booze into jam. I made a batch of Amaretto Apricot Jam that will knock your socks off! Yeah. It’s that good!

  37. I recently made homemade seitan for meat free cheesesteak sandwiches.

  38. Tough question! I’ve been cooking for more than three decades and have always been pretty adventurous, so nothing I’ve made lately merits comment, except perhaps endless attempts to improve homemade ice cream. 🙂 How about pumpkin ravioli? http://ozarkhomesteader.wordpress.com/2011/01/30/savory-pumpkin-ravioli-pasties/ That was a blast to make–ideal for frozen pumpkin.

  39. I have been doing some experimenting this summer, and the byproduct of one of my experiments had the best outcome! I was trying to make flavored syrups. I started with a lemon syrup, moved on to ginger and finally ended with pineapple. While the syrups were wonderful, I learned that drying the fruit I used to flavor the syrups was even better! I dried the pineapple, ginger and lemon peels – all with scrumptious results. I am currently growing jalapenos and poblanos, hoping to find a way to preserve my bumper crop of peppers. The book sounds perfect for the adventurous cook.

  40. I recently acquired 4kg ( 8lbs) of fresh ricotta and Had to find some recipes other than spinach pie. I made sweet and savoury ricotta dishes but the one I loved best was Tomato Ricotta Gnocci. So simple, just a few ingredients and I even froze some and it is a great standby meal in the freezer.It is equally good served as an entree for a dinner party or a winter warming meal tossed with our own garlic and herbs. One of readers best suggestions was slices of ricotta baked in the oven till turning golden and served with our own processed olives….superb!

  41. Kristin Yates Says:

    Grilled mango chutney that I canned, my first time canning anything!

  42. Yogurt, maple blueberry to be exact. We’re gearing up to do goat sausage this weekend. This looks like a fab book.

  43. Aunt Bea’s wild rice dip, frozen in single servings for brown bagging it. Yum!

  44. I’ve been teaching myself how to can veggies. I’d like to move on to dehydrating and maybe even pressure canning.

  45. Refried beans! I didn’t think it would be hard to wing it, it’s such a simple dish, but I didn’t season it well enough. I’m going to try it again soon, though — after reading some recipes, I am sure I can do better next time.

  46. I recently made homemade corn tortillas. My son who is a picky eater loved them filled with grated carrot, cheese, and lettuce. My husband added chicken, salsa and sour cream. There was a definate learning curve, the first ones not being as good as the last but I will definately be making them again.

  47. I was thinking I hadn’t really challenged myself lately but then I remembered that I recently cooked a whole chicken over the fire. Something I had been wanting to do but would always end up using the oven. It turned out amazingly good.

  48. I’m slowly getting better acquainted with bread. Not 100% comfortable yet but getting there!

  49. I’ve been testing and tasting every sourdough bread recipe I can find!

  50. Last night, I made a roast steak and squash from the residual heat of baking bread. The amount of heat left over from a 500° oven (actually, it was probably closer to 400°, since I turned the oven off 8 min before the bread was done, using residual heat to finish that too!) was enough to cook dinner PERFECTLY by the time I got back from the farmers market and other errands a few hours later. Not the first time I’ve used residual oven heat, but definitely the first time I’ve walked out the door and then had dinner waiting for me from it.

    Also tried making preserved kumquats for the first time a bit ago, but now that I’m ready to try them, they smell a bit funky. Not sure if it’s just the kumquat smell, or the smell of botulism waiting to strike. Might have to dump this batch and try it again, when kumquats are back in season!

  51. being so hot outside I started grilling out a lot more so last week I gave pizza on the grill a go. I was nervous that it would be a huge doughy mess but it ended up being the best pizza I ever made and I didn’t have to heat up the house with my oven!

  52. My wife and daughter were feeling a bit under the weather so I stayed home from work to look after them. My wife is six months pregnant and wanted something fresh and light but hearty. But I was limited to only what was left in the cupboards and fridge.

    All I had left from the Ames farmers market was a couple anaheim peppers, red onions, sweet corn and tomatoes. I cooked some quinoa in vegetable broth while I sauteed the diced onions with some garlic and the anaheims and cut the corn from the cob and pureed the tomatoes. When they were soft I added my corn and a can of red kidney beans.

    The final result was light but hearty and pretty damned good. Since it was July 5 (Bloody Thursday for the ILWU) I named my creation East Bay quinoa and read about Harry Bridges after lunch.

  53. Nettie Diediker Says:

    This summer I decided to grow more herbs & veggies. At the same time I wanted to stop eating as many preservatives & additives. So I’ve been harvesting younger vegetables (more tender & flavorful, I think.) and have made several things I’ve never tried before. For example: I’ve made mint & almond pesto for pasta & bread, stuffed squash blossoms, sun-dried tomatoes (like tomato candy), and watermelon lemonade. I feel like I’ve learned a lot this summer, but there is SO much more to learn! I look at each new day as a day to experiment, achieve, and enjoy.

  54. I have really benefitted from watching all those cooking shows and experiment with my food by adding ingredients I never used growing up-we only ate meat, potatoes and canned vegies! I found that by smelling my many spices I can figure out what it will enhance and by using the infinite number of cheeses available I can dress up anything. Add Marscapone cheese to sauce for Ziti and it becomes instant Yum.

  55. Thanks for posting the recipe,
    we are going to give it a try tomorrow. : )

  56. Doughnuts! This was my first time making doughnuts, ever. The nice thing about the recipe I tried is that they were baked instead of fried. It was a yeast dough, which is always kind of daunting, but it was worth the effort; fresh out of the oven, they are dipped in melted butter and then rolled in cinnamon sugar (heavy on the cinnamon). Yum!

  57. Kitchari. It is a very basic Ayurvedic dish made from mung beans and rice. Mung beans have lots of nutrients in them, lots of protein, and easily digestible. I soaked mine overnight until they just barely began to sprout before cooking them.

  58. Chicken breasts in tarragon cream sauce.

  59. I had some extra wild raspberries that we picked, so I tried making some raspberry vinegar. It came out delicious and I was able to jar a bunch to use later in the year. It makes a wonderful raspberry vinegarette for all those summer salads we are making out of our garden!

  60. I’ve recently tried spaghetti squash, and loved it! It was a bit to get used to digging it out and such, but now I want to try and grow some.

  61. I recently bought a juicer and have been trying all sorts of crazy recipes with the pulp that others would consider garbage – it would kill me to thrown it all out! My favorite thus far has been making pickled carrot relish.

  62. Michelle Anderson Says:

    I started canning this year. I’ve made lemon-sage white wine mustard, mango chili-jam and blueberry-rosemary syrup…mmmmm.

    Discovered Karen Solomon’s books at our library and would love to add any of her books to my home cookbook collection.

    Thanks for the opportunity!

  63. Been so busy canning up all the summer fruits and veggies while they’re in season! Last night was pickled cauliflower and blackberry jelly, tonight will be dilly beans (verrrry spicy, just they way we like them)!

  64. We had an abundance of green beans and cherry tomatoes so I made green beans with cherry tomatoes and basil. Beans are blanced and tomatoes are saute with garlic in butter then beans are added to that mixture.

  65. We have a winner! I used the random number generator on this one because there was just no way of picking a “best” or “most compelling” – y’all are amazing! The winner is Angela:
    Angela Says:
    July 28th, 2011 at 11:57 pm edit

    I recently made homemade corn tortillas. My son who is a picky eater loved them filled with grated carrot, cheese, and lettuce. My husband added chicken, salsa and sour cream. There was a definate learning curve, the first ones not being as good as the last but I will definately be making them again.

    Congratulations and enjoy this awesome cookbook. Please check back with us and tell us what you’re making – that goes for everyone!!

  66. This post is so informative, thanks! Much appreciated!

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