Trending: Mason Jars
Recently I traveled to 4 cities in three weeks. Cities as diverse as Dallas, Newport Beach and St Helena CA. The best part of the whirlwind trip? Eating out! (Isn’t that always the best part?) Restaurants, food trucks, noodle shops…
Several restaurants later, a trend seemed to emerge. Mason Jars. They were on almost every menu in some form. Savory: soft mashed potatoes with a 2 minute egg and crispy pancetta. Sweet: warm flourless chocolate-whiskey cake with bourbon whipped cream. (This was baked right in the jar!)Delicious!
The mason jar allows for both a creative presentation and individual portions. All of these appeal to restaurants. However, this is a great idea to use at home too.
A few ideas that are easy to make at home:
- Breakfast: Mashed potatoes with bacon crumbles and poached egg (same as at the restaurant mentioned above). Make each separately and layer in a small mason jar (8oz/half pint, wide mouth) These can be kept warm in a low oven. (try this idea with hash browns or left over Thanksgiving stuffing instead of mashers, tasty!)
- Hostess gift: Hot chocolate ‘kit’. (I saw this at a local chocolate shop for $9.00!!!) Layer cocoa mix on bottom, top with mini- or large marshmallows and shaved chocolate. Create a pretty tag with preparation instructions and attach with a ribbon. Use a larger jar (16oz/quart) for a larger family gift. Note: this idea can be used for any ‘dry’ recipe like Bean & Rice Soup, or Granola layered with dried fruit and nuts.
- Desserts: these can be a little tricky if you plan on baking inside the jar. Experiment with a favorite recipe on a lazy day – not the day of the big dinner or holiday. A good alternative is the do a simple dessert that will look great and bakes easily: apple pie filling with crumble topping; any kind of cobbler. Or perhaps the classic English trifle (no bake) of layered cake, jam and cream. A friend of mine makes a ‘pumpkin pie in a glass’. Start with a layer crushed gingerbread cookies, then pumpkin custard (or mousse or pudding), cinnamon whipped cream. Repeat one more time. Top with a candied walnut.