In the Winter, I always love to invite my friends over for a cookie swap or edible gift-making party. However, I've never done something like this during the warmer months — until now. Inspired by a new Williams-Sonoma book, The Art of Preserving, I'm hosting a canning party and I suggest you do the same. First select a date — preferably a relaxed time, like Sunday afternoon — then decide what you want to make at the event. Throw in some homemade snacks and you've got yourself a fabulous little party. At mine, I'll offer guests two nibbles in the form of a white bean dip with parsley oil and an oven-dried tomato tart with goat cheese and black olives.
What will we be making? Peach-rosemary jam and classic dill pickles! If this sounds like fun to you, check out these recipes, after the break.
- 1 cup dried white beans, such as cannellini or navy beans
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 thyme sprig
1 bay leaf
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 cup celery leaves
Flatbread or pita chips, for serving
- In a medium saucepan, cover the beans with 2 inches of water. Add the garlic, thyme and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Simmer the beans over low heat, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 2 hours. Add more water as necessary to keep the beans covered by 2 inches.
- Drain the beans and reserve the garlic and 1/3 cup of the cooking liquid. Transfer the beans, garlic, cooking liquid and 1/4 cup of the olive oil to a food processor and puree. Season with salt and pepper.
- In a mini food processor, combine the parsley and celery leaves with the remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil and puree. Season with salt and pepper.
- Transfer the white bean dip to a shallow bowl and make a well in the center of the dip with the back of a spoon. Pour the parsley oil into the well and serve with flatbread or pita chips.
Make Ahead: The bean dip and parsley oil can be refrigerated separately for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.
- Dips, Appetizers
- Mediterranean/Middle Eastern
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
6 medium tomatoes or large romas, cored, halved crosswise, seeded
2 small garlic cloves, thinly slivered
2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme, divided
1 sheet frozen puff pastry (half of 17.3-ounce package), thawed
1 cup coarsely grated whole-milk mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup soft fresh goat cheese (about 4 ounces)
2 large eggs
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/3 cup oil-cured black olives, pitted
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 300°F. Line rimmed baking sheet with foil; brush foil with 1 tablespoon oil. Place tomato halves, cut side up, on baking sheet. Sprinkle garlic and 1 tablespoon thyme over tomatoes; drizzle remaining 1/4 cup oil over. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Bake until tomatoes begin to shrink and are slightly dried but still soft, about 2 hours. Cool tomatoes on sheet. Do ahead: Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Store in single layer in covered container in refrigerator.
- Roll out pastry on lightly floured surface to 13-inch square. Transfer pastry to 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom, pressing pastry firmly onto bottom and sides of pan. Trim overhang to 3/4 inch. Fold overhang in and press, pushing crust 1/4 inch above pan. Pierce crust all over with fork; chill 30 minutes.
- Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Line pastry with foil; fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake until crust is set, about 20 minutes.
- Remove foil and beans; bake until crust edges are golden, piercing with fork if crust bubbles, about 12 minutes longer. Cool crust 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.
- Meanwhile, using fork, mash mozzarella cheese, goat cheese, and remaining 1 tablespoon thyme together in medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add eggs and cream and stir until mixture is well blended. Spread cheese filling evenly in crust. Arrange tomato halves in filling, cut side up. Place olives between tomatoes. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese evenly over top. Bake until filling is puffed and set, about 35 minutes. Cool 5 minutes. Push up pan bottom, releasing sides. Serve tart warm.
- Appetizers, Puff Pastry
- North American
- 3 pounds yellow peaches, peeled
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
4 3/4 cups sugar
4 large sprigs fresh rosemary
- Halve and pit peaches, then cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges. Transfer to a large bowl. Add lemon juice; toss. Add sugar and rosemary; toss. Cover; let stand, tossing every hour, for 4 hours (sugar should be completely dissolved).
- Put peach mixture into a large, wide pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until liquid is syrupy, 12 to 13 minutes. Crush lightly with a potato masher, leaving one-quarter of the wedges intact. Skim foam from surface. Discard rosemary sprigs.
- Seal and process: Fill hot, sterilized 4-ounce jars with hot jam, leaving 1/4 inch space in each jar's neck. Wipe rims with a clean, damp cloth; cover tightly with sterilized lids and screw rings. Transfer jars, using tongs or a jar clamp, to the rack of a large canning pot filled with hot water, keeping jars upright; cover with water by 2 inches. (Jars should be spaced 1 inch apart and should not touch sides of pot.) Cover; bring to a boil. Process jars in gently boiling water 5 minutes. Transfer to a rack; let cool 24 hours. If lids pop back when pressed, they are not sealed; refrigerate immediately, and use within 1 month. Sealed jars can be stored in a cool, dark place up to 1 year.
Makes 1 quart.
- Condiments/Sauces, Jellies/Jams
- North American
- 1 pound Kirby cucumbers
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons dill seed
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic
4 sprigs fresh dill
- Wash the cucumbers and quarter lengthwise. Place a colander in a sink. Add the cucumbers, sprinkle with the salt, and toss to coat. Let stand for 1 hour.
- Rinse the cucumbers and pat dry. Place 1 cup of water, the sugar, dill seed, onion, and garlic in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the cucumbers and fresh dill and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Remove from heat. Transfer to a serving bowl and let cool. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
Makes about 2 cups.
- Snacks, Vegetables
- North American