Also, please note: I received this book free as a review copy, but my opinions and my decision to write a review are my own.
First, I made Popunders. Isn't that the most adorable name? I made them one morning at breakfast time and while we did, indeed, spoon a little jam in their little hollows, I could also see a dab of cheese or pesto or a bit of anything that I would put on bread. Popunders are super-fast to whip up, sugar-free, made with pantry staples and standard muffin pans, and just need 20 minutes in the oven, no-preheating needed.
Even though Marisa recommends them hot from the oven, we found they made a perfectly fine snack at room temperature a few hours later.
For a family gathering, I made the Concord Grape Butter Pizza with Camembert. Oh! that was delicious! When I make and can grape juice in the fall, I use the spent skins to make grape butter, so I've got plenty of grape butter on hand.
I followed Marisa's pizza crust recipe instead of using my standard favorite, and it was the perfect thickness and texture for its toppings as well as easy to make and handle. Marisa also explains the ratio of sweet spread to cheese to green topping which is helpful to cooks who want to go off-recipe. I used Brie instead of Camembert and chopped arugula instead of baby arugula. So, so, so delicious. I will definitely be making this for future neighborhood potlucks.
Yesterday, I made Marisa's Jam-Lacquered Chicken Wings for supper (excellent name!). I buy whole chickens and when I cut them up to cook, I've been collecting the wings separately in the freezer. I've never made wings before, just threw them into stock, but I was determined to try since Ben has requested wings several times.
Marisa's recipe was very clear and produced excellent results. I didn't know meat can literally cook under the broiler - I typically just use the broiler to brown something. But the wings cooked under the broiler exactly as Marisa indicated. To paint the wings, I finished up jars of fig jam and grape butter and added some tomato jam as well as enough runny pepper jam (from 2013! it was waiting for its destiny) to give them a nice kick.
Next time, I will salt the wings on both sides and also broil them on both sides to increase the caramelization. I find it annoying to get my fingers so messy for such a little bit of (ok, delicious) meat, but my family was loving these wings, so ok, I do love seeing my people enjoy their food. Too bad my fingers were too sticky to operate my camera!
There is really a lot more to love in this cookbook. I'm going to use my onion jam in a Goat Cheese Savory Jam Tart, and I'm going to consider all the options for a jar of apple butter that I don't think we will spread on toast. I appreciate Marisa's inclusion of some basic canning recipes in the final section because I have a deep yearning for Orange Marmalade Ice Cream and no marmalade in my pantry.
I have two small quibbles with the book, both of which are typical of me and typical of most cookbooks being published (and probably not Marisa's decisions, either). I prefer spiral bound cookbooks for kitchen use because it's tricky to get a stiff hardcover book to stay open while I cook. But good job keeping the recipes mostly on the same spread! It's also very tricky to turn pages between ingredient list and instructions while cooking. I also prefer a very detailed index that includes major ingredients as entries so that I can look up recipes based on the ingredients they use, not just the recipe name or type.
I highly recommend the Food in Jars Kitchen cookbook. It's beautiful to look at and full of recipes for daily cooking - from quick-the-kids-need-a-snack to the fancy-food potluck happening on the weekend.