Thursday, October 25, 2007

Good news! The publisher has approved the new cover for the cookbook. Its dramatically different for the first cover design, and I think it looks spectacular! A larger view is available in PDF format.

I'm happy! Of the half dozen or so different designs presented, I liked this one the best from the first time I saw it. Lucky for me, the publisher and their focus group were in agreement, so this should be the final version... barring any last minute resersal, of course

Follow this link to see the original cover concept art, and you'll see just how dramatically the design has changed and morphed into the end product. Take a look and then post your comments here, I want to know what you think.

I'm extremely happy with my editor -- yes, shameless pandering on my part! -- but he really listened to my concerns and then worked hard to accomodate my suggestions in the finished design.

As for what's happening with the cookbook now; a "professional indexer" is putting together the index. Did you know there was such a job? I didn't, but I'm extremely grateful that I don't have to do that work myself. Been there! Done that! Never want to do it again!

Also, it looks like the publishing date is holding for early February, so keep that in mind. Preliminary placeholders (still showing an earlier cover art) are now up at Amazon US ($15.61) and the Amazon UK (£10.09), and soon on other online book sellers too.


The book is moving along very well, and the publisher has decided to release it to bookstores a little earlier than first planned. The official release date will now be January 21, 2008, so it will be available to consumers on Amazon shortly there after, and in stores throughout the country and overseas within 3 weeks after that.

Friday, August 17, 2007

I Get Mail...

To help canners get up to date, I thought I'd sum up some of the most frequently asked email questions about canning:

1. Can I use either my stovetop or electric pressure cooker for canning if it reaches 15PSI?

2. The house gets so hot when I'm canning. Can I use my canner on a propane camp stove outside?

3. Why do I have to vent the canner?

4. Does a pressure canner have to be a certain size?

5. Can I use my pressure cooker or pressure canner as a regular waterbath canner?

6. Is it safe to process low acid foods in a waterbath kettle if I let it boil for several hours?

7. What's the best way to store my canner?

Want the answers? Read the rest of this article.

Several email questions tcame in this week about faulty information found on other websites. So let me send out a word of caution to everyone to be very cautious about accepting canning advice from self-styled Internet "experts".

Yes, I know there are many websites that give incorrect -- if not down right dangerous -- canning info, but that's the nature of the Internet. Just be safe and be aware that a wealth of fact-based and up-to-date articles are available FREE through online state extension services. That's why the only canning directions I link to are from USDA, scientifically tested extension websites.

My advice is to play it safe and not risk the potential of foodborne illnesses. Pass up any online canning info that is not based on the current USDA guidelines. This will also include all those well-meaning friends who want to loan you canning books from the 70s, and the elderly relatives who want to tell you how they canned a 100 quarts of green beans in a number 10 wash tub over a wood fire back in the 30s.

Some of my readers are asking about pressure cooker manufacturers who advertise that their cooker can be substituted for a pressure canner. The latest USDA recommendations DOES NOT support their claim, so let the buyer beware. Remember, your family's health and safety always comes first so lets err on the side of caution and follow the scientific guidelines when it comes to canning.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Canning Season

About this time of year, I start getting lots of emails about canning, so its time for a little trip down memory lane. When I was a girl, we canned about 200 quarts of peaches and pears and snap beans, corn and tomatoes during the late Indian summers.

As I sit in my kitchen today, listening to the summer breeze rustling through the leaves outside my window, I recall the memories of fifty years ago... I can almost smell the pungent aroma of vinegar and spices from the pickling crocks under the back stairs at grandma's old farm house. Memory stirs and I am reminded of far removed apple trees south of the hay barn, and the tangled blackberry brambles racing up the hillside.

We kids would sit on the old back porch with grandma and peel, and pare, and pit until our hands were stained with a rainbow of pinks, yellows, greens and reds from a bountiful harvest. All through those crisp fall days of long ago, the canners bubbled and hissed on the stove, churning out jar after jar of jar of garden produce.

It was a lot of work, but eating grandma's peach cobbler on a cold and blustery winter day made it all worth while. Well that's my blast from the past... do you all have similar stories from years gone by?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Update on the Book Cover

My editor is a doll! He really listened to my concerns, as well as all the feedback you provided here on the blog. That was very important, and thanks to everyone who took the time to add a comment.

I have seen the first draft of a totally new cover design, and its a winner! I can't share it with anyone just yet -- hopefully I'll get the OK soon -- but I will say that the PHOTO is yummy!

Oh, and as long as you're here... take the little poll over there

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Cover Art

This is a possible cover design for my new cookbook. You can pull up the larger PDF version here.

I want to do a little market research here, get the first impressions of consumers who might see this book on a store shelf.

What do you think about the overall layout, the color scheme, the graphics, the text fonts, etc.?

Does the bookcover attract your attention in a favorable way?

What do you like about it?

What do you dislike about it?

Any suggestions, ideas, or changes?

Please leave your comments and let me know what you think.

Comments Are Closed
A big THANKS to everyone who shared their ideas, the feedback was very useful.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Mexican Pork Stew with Tomatillos

Guisado de Puerco con Tomatillos (Mexican Pork Stew with Tomatillos)

Use your food processor to cut the prep time and serve this popular Mexican dish to the hungry crowd at your house. This is a good opportunity to try the interesting additions of tomatillos, and some mild Mexican chili peppers that will add flavor but only a touch of heat.

2 1/2 lb boneless pork, cut into large 2 inch cubes
2 tablespoons oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (16 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
6 tomatillos, chopped
2 mild chili peppers (Anaheim, poblano, pasilla), seeded and chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves and stems
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 (12-ounce) bottle of beer
1 (16-ounce) container salsa,
Heat the oil in the pressure cooker, brown the meat on all sides in small batches over medium-high heat. Once each batch is browned, set aside in a bowl to reserve the drippings. Saute onion, stirring until soft, add the tomatillos and peppers. Add the beer to the cooker to deglaze the pot, scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Return meat to pan and stir in the salsa, garlic, cilantro, chili powder. Lock the lid in place. Bring to 15psi over high heat, immediately reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting to stabilize and maintain that pressure. Cook 15 minutes. Remove from heat and use the natural release method before opening the lid. Serve over mashed potatoes, cooked egg-noodles, fluffy white rice, or try is spooned over crushed corn chips. As a garnish, I like a spoonful of sour cream and some extra salsa. Makes about 4-5 servings.

Did you try it?
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