Modern Pantry

Send in the Shrubs

Several summers ago I stayed on my friend Lynda’s farm in the Methow Valley. As expected in eastern Washington, the long summer days saw temperatures climbing and without air conditioning (we were on a farm, after all) we suffered through the stifling heat by moving slowly and wearing sun hats. In the evenings, we would sit on the porch and sip yuzu vinegar with a splash of sparkling water and a glass full of ice.

Carrot Jam Sweet & Spicy Carrots

Winter is a great time of year to tackle a kitchen project that will both add to the pantry shelves and bring a little color to the gray days. While there isn’t much local produce available over winter, carrots are a cold-weather standout, and a fabulously flexible vegetable—equally tasty in both sweet and savory dishes.

A Very Dainty Jelly

When I was a kid, cranberries entered our house in two forms, both with specific meanings: If my mom put a gallon of Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice Cocktail in the cart, it meant my aunt was coming to visit, and cocktails would be made. If she reached for a can or two of jelled cranberry sauce it meant that it was Thanksgiving, or time for one of her occasional Thanksgiving-in-January dinners.

My grandma was a Depression era farm girl turned career woman, who went from home-canned veggies and burlap skivvies to high heels, high efficiency and a love of Betty Crocker instant cakes and Marie Callendar frozen pies.

Adventures in Tofu

The first time my husband made us tofu, one of the (many) things I could not figure out, was how he had mysteriously caused the soy milk to thicken.

Love and Walnuts

Nocino brings people together—I knew that even before I knew what nocino was. I was sitting in Trattoria Arcari in Colorno, Italy, sipping a sweet dark rich liquid when Mrs. Arcari, her apron still on, sat down next to me.

Taking Stock – Making Stock

Winter is the perfect time to move your attention from stocking your pantry to stocking your freezer. The absence of farm fresh greens brings dependence on root vegetables and alliums—perfect partners for making homemade stock.

Tomatillo Salsa/Grape Jelly

I started making this salsa at home when I overplanted tomatillos in the garden one summer and ended up with far too many. It’s an amazing garnish for stewed black beans and can easily be used as a dip for chips.


Cordials are essentially sweetened syrups infused with herbs, spice or plants. They are simple to make and offer a wide range of flavors and essences to anyone willing to experiment.

The Secret of the Sizzle-Whump: Kate McDermott’s Art of the Pie

Kate McDermott greets us with a huge smile, and asks, “Are you ready to bake a pie?” Behind her, there is a crisp, golden dome, and the air in the kitchen smells of warm peaches and butter.

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