Urban Pantry Cookbook Giveaway + Boozy Steeped Fruit

With all of the “Best of 2010” cookbook lists circulating lately, your head may be spinning.  I know mine is.  In the spirit of the holiday season, I’m giving away a small cookbook that’s had a big year for very good reasons (see below for giveaway details).

Praised by Gwyneth Paltrow’s popular e-newsletter, Goop, Amy Pennington’s Urban Pantry: Tips & Recipes for a Thrifty, Sustainable & Seasonal Kitchen is full of simple tips and recipes for stocking your kitchen in a cost-effective way with essential seasonal ingredients.  The 60+ recipes are straightforward, but definitely offer unique and creative twists and turns.


I couldn’t resist Pennington’s “Steeping Fruit” recipe.  Not only does it give you carte blanche to use any ingredients you like, but the combination of dried fruit, winter spice and liqueur is just too alluring to pass by.  Try this infusion on a cheese plate, over thick Greek yogurt for breakfast or alongside roasted or grilled meats.  It’s also great as a simple dessert on its own, and probably even better over a bowl of ice cream or with some freshly whipped cream.


  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 Earl Grey tea bag, or a bag of loose tea
  • grated peel from 1 orange
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 pound (about 2 cups) dried fruit, such as figs, prunes, apricots or raisins
  • few splashes of brandy

Note: I used California Calimyra figs and adapted the recipe a little adding a pod of star anise, 6 cloves and pear brandy.



In a small saucepan over medium-high, heat the water, tea bag, orange peel, cinnamon stick and sugar until nearly boiling. Remove from heat and stir in the dried fruit and brandy.  Let it steep for at least 30 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed.  Serve the infusion at room temperature.

Pennington’s Pantry Note:  You can easily add to this infusion.  Try some cloves, different teas or liqueurs, such as cognac or sambuca.  Store leftover fruit infusions in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.


To enter the Urban Pantry cookbook giveaway, please leave a comment below telling us your best tip for a thrifty, seasonal and/or sustainable kitchen.

For additional chances to win:

1.  Become a fan of Saffron Lane on Facebook.  Come back and leave an additional comment letting us know you are following.

2.  Follow me on Twitter @elizabethhowes  Come back and leave an additional comment letting us know you are following.

3.  Subscribe to the Saffron Lane blog.  Come back and leave an additional comment letting us know you subscribed.


This giveaway is open from December 14th-December 17th 12pm PST.  Please be sure to leave a valid email address.  The winner will be randomly chosen and notified via email.  If the winner does not respond within 24 hours after notification, another winner will be randomly chosen.

Entries generated by script, macro or other automated means are void. You must be a U.S. resident, age 18 or older to enter. 



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Amy J.

I’ve heard great things about this cookbook. The steeped fruit recipe intrigues me even more!

Amy J.

Oh, and I usually dry fresh herbs from my garden. So simple and really saves money.

My latest thrifty kitchen idea? I have been adding veg and chicken scraps – wing tips, carrot peels, etc – to a ziplock in the freezer for the next time I make stock.

Holly S.

Did you know you can freeze a unfinished bottle of wine to keep the freshness? It works!
The pictures of the figs above are awesome!

Cheryl W.

My new kitchen thriftiness is growing and canning my own fresh veggies and fruits. Saves tons of money and I grow it, so I know no pesticides have been used.
Thanks so much for the opportunity to enter.
That steeping fruit looks amazing, I bet it smells amazing also.

Cheryl W.

I follow Saffron Lane on Facebook (Cheryl HeartnSoulmom)

Cheryl W.

I am following you via Twitter @HeartnSoulmom

Cheryl W.

I subscribe to your blog via email.

Thanks for all the great tips/tricks (and support) so far! The winner will be announced tomorrow afternoon. Please feel free to pass this along to any friends who may be interested in the meantime. Many thanks!

Love that you’re featuring this, especially since I am a big proponent of homegrown and homemade food!
Some things that we do:
* Store celery wrapped in foil in the veg drawer of your fridge — it keeps forever, crisp!
* Made apple butter and canning it with apples from our tree
* Bought 30 pounds of tomatoes for $9 at farmers’ market this summer; canned them whole and as sauce, and oven-roasted some with herbs from our garden and froze them
* Make your own apple cider vinegar from apple peels & cores next time you make apple pie or applesauce and don’t want to discard the scraps

I am just seeing this post and think it’s awesome! Thank you for posting and thank you all for the rad comments. You’ve chosen one of my favorites (and previously ignored) recipes from the book. Happy New Year! amyp

Absolutely — thanks for the awesome cookbook! And, yes, I love the steeped fruit recipe. It immediately caught my eye when I opened the book. Happy New Year to you, too!

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