Homemade Preserves, Organic Pest Control, Micro-Sodas,

Hosted by
The second annual Precious Cheese Feast of San Gennaro, LA takes place on September 19-21 at Hollywood & Vine (1754 N Ivar, Hollywood). Hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, Adam Carolla and Tommy Lasorda, the celebration of Italian culture, entertainment and food features live music, carnival games, street performers, strolling musicians, cultural exhibits, wine from local wineries and food from more than 35 of the city's best Italian restaurants. Play bocce ball with some of Hollywood's most prominent Italian-American celebrities and much more.
  • September 18: Prima Notte, a star-studded charity event ($100 tickets are available by calling 323-913-7107)
  • September 20: special 9 am Mass at Christ the King Church; 10:30 traditional musical procession in which the Statue of San Gennaro is carried from the church to the event site (Proceeds benefit the LAPD Children's Support Group, Hollywood Police Activities League, and Christ the King Church and School of Hollywood) General admission is free; for additional event information call 323-969-8688.

Mary Wellington of Wellington Farms is a whole fruit preserve-maker in Goleta, California who sells her unique preserves at the Santa Barbara Farmers' Market on Saturdays in downtown Santa Barbara.

The following recipe is courtesy of Russ Parsons and the LA Times. Russ' recipe was a Best of 2002 entry. He was on Good Food in 2002 talking about this method.

Strawberry Preserves
Home preserving has an image about as hip and sexy as a gingham apron, Times' staff writer Russ Parsons wrote June 12. But with some good berries and a recipe such as this, you can have an outstanding addition for your morning toast in the time it takes to prepare a pasta dinner. We couldn't believe something this delicious was so simple -- and yet different; the jam is spoonable. The recipe works best with weights; use equal amounts of fruit and sugar. We've listed approximate volume measures if you don't have a scale (2 pints of strawberries weigh about 2 pounds.)
Total time: 30 minutes, plus 8 hours standing
Servings: 5 (8-ounce) jars

  • 2 lbs strawberries, washed, hulled and cut into bite-size pieces (about 8 cups)
  • 2 lbs sugar (about 4 cups)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
1. Combine the strawberries and sugar in a large pot and heat slowly until the juices are clear, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice, then cover loosely and let stand overnight.

2. The next day, get everything ready for canning: Bring a large pot of water to boil and sterilize 5 sets of jars and lids, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, but leave the jars and lids in the hot water until you're ready to use them.

3. Heat 2 cups of the strawberries and juice in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, and cook, stirring often, until the preserves test done, 3 to 5 minutes. (Mixture is done when you lift your spatula and the mixture no longer flows from the side, as liquids do, but begins to come off in multiple points or sheets.) Ladle the jam into the sterilized jars, filling to within 1/4 inch of the rim. Cover with the lid and fasten the ring tight. Set aside and repeat with the remaining strawberries and juice.

4. To complete the seal, bring the large pot of water back to a boil, place the covered jars in a pasta insert and place them in the pot. Make sure the boiling water covers the jars. Cook 5 minutes. Remove the jars from the pan and set aside to cool. After 30 minutes, check to make sure lids have sealed tightly by gently pressing down on the center of the lid. If it does not spring back, the seal is tight. Repeat the canning process with any jars that have not sealed tightly.

Nancy Zaslavsky leads cooking tours to Mexico and has written a number of Mexican cookbooks including A Cook's Tour of Mexico: Authentic Recipes from the Country's Best Open-Air Markets, City Fondas, and Home Kitchens, published by St. Martin's Press. To find out more about her tours, email her at zas@jps.net or call (310) 440-8877.

Guanajuato Guacamole
Makes about 3 cups

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped white onion
  • 2 fresh Serrano or Jalape-o chiles, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
  • 3 ripe Hass avocados, coarsely mashed
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1 bag favorite brand corn chips and/or chilled jicama spears
Combine the onion, chiles and avocado. Stir in the cilantro, lime juice and salt. Spoon into a serving bowl, and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds. Serve with corn chips and/or chilled jicama spears.

Crunchy Melon-Jicama Table Salsa
Makes 3 cups

  • 1 cup minced ripe melon
  • 1 cup minced jicama
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from Mexican limes, aka Key limes, if possible)
  • 1 to 3 fresh Serrano or Jalape-o chiles
  • 1/2 cup minced white onion
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh mint leaves
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
Mix fruit and lime juice in a medium bowl. Stir one of the unseeded, stemmed, minced chiles into the fruit with the onion, cilantro, mint, sugar and salt. Taste the combined ingredients. If more spiciness is desired, add additional minced chiles.

Note: The table salsa may be made 6 hours ahead, covered and chilled. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes ahead because it is best served at room temperature.

Agua de Lim-n (Lime Water made with Entire Limes)
Makes 2 quarts.

The secret to this interesting lime agua is to strain the limes out of the water immediately. If the limes soak, even for 30 seconds, the drink will be too bitter from contact with crushed pith and seeds. Of course, a touch of bitterness is what makes this recipe spectacular, especially to those of us who love the taste.

  • 10 Mexican limes (aka Key limes)
  • 8 cups water
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons sugar (ultrafine, quick dissolving sugar works best)
Wash and quarter the limes. Stuff the limes and 2 cups of the water into a blender container. Blend well for 30 seconds. Immediately strain the mixture into a large pitcher, pushing down on the limes to extract all the juice. Add the remaining water and the sugar. Stir well to dissolve the sugar completely. Taste. Add additional sugar if desired. Chill. Serve over ice.

Danny Ginsburg is a distributor of specialty soda pops. You can find his sodas at www.SodaKing.com and RealSoda.com, as well as at Vicente Foods in Brentwood, The Refresher and Bennett's Ice Cream in the Original Farmers Market at 3rd and Fairfax. Or call, 310-326-9202.

Brands Danny spoke about:
Bubble Up
Ed and Pete's Old-Fashioned Lemonade
Limonada from Austria
Cricket Cola
Sparky's Root Beer
High Mountain Huckleberry
Lolli's Cherry Pop

Sharon Lovejoy is the author of Trowel and Error: Over 700 Tips, Remedies and Shortcuts for the Gardener. To find out more about Sharon and her tips or to read her online newsletter, go to www.SharonLovejoy.com.

Sharon mentioned that the following formula gets rid of spider mites and scale:

  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups wheat flour
  • 2 1/2 gallons water
Sharon uses a handheld vacuum to get rid of white fly. First, shake the plant, then just vacuum them up.

She also mentioned the Mission Olive Restoration Project and Founders Dinner on December 7th in Sonoma. To find out more, go to OliveSource.com or www.sharonlovejoy.com/olivefestival.html.