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In the preface of her book, Jane writes, "My hope is that this book will prove to be very useful as you harvest, preserve, plan and make delicious homemade and homegrown meals for your family." To this end, besides the actual recipes, Jane includes easy-to-understand, very helpful chapters on preserving food whether you be a newbie or pro and whether the produce is from your own garden or a local farmer's market.
There is a page in the food preservation section entitled, "Canning Overload Disorder." If you've ever done any canning, it's easy to relate and get a chuckle from her sense of humor surrounding days (and nights!) spent up-close and personal with a canner and a kitchen overflowing with fresh produce.
In reading Jane's blog, you'll realize she places a high priority on providing her family with appetizing meals filled with good nutrition often using the fruits and vegetables grown in her own garden. She's a whirling dervish when it comes to filling her freezer and lining her pantry shelves. (I'm sure she's listed in Ripley's Believe It or Not for the number of jars of applesauce she puts up each year!)
However, I don't wish to undersell the main part of this well-done cookbook which is the recipes that typify down-home cookin' that is truly real food for real people.
Upon sitting down with my copy of the book the day I received it, I marked (by actual count) twenty-one recipes I wanted to try . . . immediately. Even though I haven't make it through all twenty-one yet, each one I have tried has been a winner. Here's a sampling of some I have made to date.
These Corn Fritters are so much better than the corn fritter recipe I've had and been using for a hundred years. They have a very rich flavor and are much easier to make than my old recipe . . . which was unceremoniously jettisoned as soon as I tried these.
Oh, my. These Chocolate Scones disappeared so fast I almost didn't get a second one. A unique flavor . . . deep, moist chocolate combined with ginger and cinnamon.
Basic Vinaigrette Dressing
Drizzled over this tossed salad is my now new favorite vinaigrette dressing. If we don't have a tossed salad every day, I try to serve whatever fresh, raw veggie is available from the garden in the growing season. I chop the veggies in a small bowl and drizzle this dressing on top. So good!
Our Favorite Quiche
This is Jane's family's favorite quiche as you can tell by the name. I thought my favorite quiche recipe was a really good one, but after eating this one of Jane's, my dear husband said I should never make any other one again. Should I be offended? Nope, can't be because this one was, indeed, fantastic. (And, okay, maybe just a teensy bit better than mine.)
We are great soup/stew lovers in this household and I always have a good variety put by as my "convenience" foods. This recipe for Jane's white chili has joined the ranks of the best of the best. I know I will be making this again and again and again.
The recipe for this luscious pie is included in the cookbook, but I first made it a year or so ago when our strawberries were in season and Jane featured it in one of her blog posts. Doesn't the picture say it all?
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Well, I could ramble on and on (as I usually do), but I'll stop here by saying that not only is this book one I'd recommend you have on your cookbook shelf, but wouldn't it make a wonderful Christmas gift for one of the special cooks in your life?
Remember, this coming Friday night, I'll draw a name from all of you who may be interested in receiving your own copy. Just leave a comment saying so. It's a good giveaway for a good book!