Boyfriend and I were marketing a few weeks ago when we happened upon a new-to-us book all about one of our favorite things: food and what strange things you can make in your own tinier-than-tiny kitchen, with very few implements (or space).  The book had a somewhat benign but enticing title: Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It: And Other Cooking Projects.  Being the necessary but sometimes cranky voice of reason when it comes to bringing new books into our tinier-than-tiny apartment (with absolutely no more space for books, period), I glanced at it, said 'that's neat, right on the cover it advertises hopes and dreams of making your own bacon, of course you picked it up', and wandered over to the produce section to kick it with the vegetables for awhile.

The book ended up in the cart, as I am kind of a softie when it comes to boyfriend wanting to make stuff (it's just so cute!), and I continued to have a nonchalant attitude about it, even when I had to make a spot for it on one of my designated bookshelves (since his are a little, um, bountiful).  Ahem.

My attitude changed a bit once he got a wild hair to make butter last week.  Yes, butter.  I am a disciple of Paula Deen and Julia Child, how could I ignore homemade BUTTER?  So he made butter and I made buttermilk biscuits, with the buttermilk from the homemade butter...naturally.  Was it good?  Um, I'm not even answering that question, I'm sure you can guess for yourself.  It's butter.

But as of yesterday, my attitude is now one of, 'Boyfriend, what are you making for me to eat today out of your wonderful book of wonderful things to make for me to eat and feel all wonderful about?'  Why this change of heart, you ask?

Home-Cured Gravlax!

He made gravlax.  And we ate it for lunch yesterday.  And I just ate it again for lunch.  And it's almost gone.  And I'm getting a little emotional about it.

Sliced to perfection!

He got the salmon all ready to cure and put into the fridge last Wednesday and I adopted the same attitude I have been about this book: 'Oh, that's cool...go do your thing.  I'll be in here playing with my yarn, your fish is kinda stinky.'  Until yesterday, when he unwrapped it, sliced it, and proceeded to make a mustard dill sauce to go with it.  Also in the book.

Making the Sauce

We didn't have any fresh dill leftover from the curing process, but we had a lot of dried, which works just fine when you're still in your pajamas and don't want to walk to the store...just for some dill.

Mustard-Dill Sauce

Luckily we had a couple of bagels and an onion on hand, so we could be a little more civilized in our homemade gravlax and mustard dill sauce absorption....rather than get all primal about it and start dipping the salmon into the sauce and shoving it straight into our mouths with our hands.  I'm sure the thought crossed both our minds.

Gravlax and Mustard-Dill Sauce

I think what I like most about this book is that everything in it is something you eat on a somewhat regular basis.  And why not make it at home on a lazy weekend afternoon, rather than go to the store and buy it in a nasty package with nasty ingredients?  Butter, gravlax, mustard sauce, ricotta cheese, bacon, beef jerky, toaster tarts made with your homemade jam...all things I would be more than happy to spend a lazy weekend day tinkering with.

Canning and preserving is something best enjoyed with a partner or even a group...I think Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It and boyfriend's endeavors to start making even more things on our own (we do can a good bit, I just don't ever seem to take photos of it...), in our tinier-than-tiny kitchen, has given me the inkling of an idea to start having some sort of monthly canning party...a gathering where everyone shows up wearing an apron, ready to get their hands dirty, hair frizzy (the canning process is just so steamy), and tongues tempted by all of the really delicious things you can whip up and preserve in your kitchen.  Tailored to the seasons, fresh fruit and veggies all ready to be processed to perfection.

As boyfriend said a few weeks ago: 'Wow, sometimes I'm just so impressed by all of the amazingly delicious things we have made in this teeny tiny little kitchen of ours.'  And I couldn't agree more.


  1. I want to make some jams this year but I just haven't found the time yet. What a great book! Homemade always tastes better.

  2. you guys are killing it with just your little kitchen. just think of the masterpieces you could create in a BIG kitchen with (gasp) counterspace and (gasp again) more storage!


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