Tomato Jerk Jam

Grilled Pears, Tomato Jam, & Caramelized Onions

Grilled Pears, Tomato Jam, & Caramelized Onions

I make tomato jam several ways using variations on the New York Times recipe. I made the recipe as written once, but thought it was far too sweet. I use half the sugar, switched to brown sugar, and quite a bit more lime juice. I sometimes use cinnamon and red pepper flakes, sometimes I add a habanero, but the best, I think, is this one with Jamaica Jerk seasoning mix. It’s a deeper, more earthy flavor.

  • 1 ½ pounds good ripe tomatoes, chopped. If you use cherry tomatoes, cut the sugar to 1/3 cup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • Juice from two fresh limes
  • Zest from two fresh limes
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated or minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon Jamaica Jerk
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Dump everything in a heavy medium saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring steadily. Bring the heat down to a simmer and let it cook down to jam consistency. This will take about an hour to an hour and a half depending on how juicy your tomatoes are. Check on it and give it a little stir about every 15 minutes so it cooks evenly and you don’t let it scorch. Taste about mid-way through and add seasoning to your taste. When it’s cooked down to a jam, let it cool and store it in the fridge. I will keep at the very least a week, more likely two weeks thanks to all the acid in the tomatoes and the limes.

 

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Caramelized Onion Jam

Grilled Pears, Tomato Jam, & Caramelized Onions

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the olive oil until it shimmers a bit. Add the onions and stir so they are all coated in oil. Add thyme, parsley, and bay leaf. Let cook until starting to turn transparent, reduce heat a bit and keep cooking until they begin to brown, about 10-15 minutes.  Add sugar and let cook another 5 to 10 minutes until they are a deep brown color and the sugar is all melted and caramelizing. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 15 minutes or so until soft and melty. Add Balsamic Vinegar and stir, continue stirring on simmer until the liquid is absorbed. Remove the bay leaf, let cool, and place in a container (about 1 cup). It will keep a week.

  • 4 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 quart of thinly sliced onions, broken apart
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 TBSP sugar
  • 2 TBSP balsamic vinegarMakes 1 cup of caramelized onions.

Strawberry Balsamic Dressing

This is a light, fresh dressing for a delicious salad. This makes enough dressing for a large dinner salad or four side salads.

The salad in the picture has romaine, feta, cucumbers, and grapefruit with a few almonds on top. To make the dressing, I used a magic bullet to blend

  • 3 fresh strawberries
  • 2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
  • 1 TBSP diced onion
  • 2 tsp of olive oil
  • salt and pepper

The salad is a lovely mix of sweet and sour, the balsamic adds a deep richness that makes any salad a treat.

Sweet & Sour Mango and Fig Sauce

Mango Chutney

  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 8 mangos, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup grated ginger
  • 2 fresh lemons, zest and juice
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup dried figs, chopped
  • 12 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

Put everything into a heavy saucepan, bring to a boil, reduce to a slow simmer, cover, and cook for two hours or more, stirring occasionally until a thick paste. Remove from heat, cool, and puree in a blender.

Makes 3 jars of chutney which is also a fabulous sauce for steaks. As a lifelong addict to knackebröd, a little chutney, flat parsley, plain yogurt and sliced raw asparagus is a tasty, flavorful breakfast. Last night, I used the chutney on a steak .

This is a sweet, sour, and spicy sauce. It’s based on Major Grey’s Mango Chutney, but I substituted dried figs for raisins. (I like nearly every other dried fruit more than raisins.) I left out the garlic and used seasoned rice vinegar rather than cider vinegar. That was because I was out of cider vinegar, but it does add a deeper flavor. I pureed in a blender rather than leave it chunky, which is the more traditional way to serve it. This is because I was thinking of using it as a base for a salad dressing, which you can see in my next recipe.

Mango Chutney

Tomato Jam

Tomato Jam

Ever since I read the words tomato jam in some book about the South, I have been thinking I need to try it. When there were two freah tomatoes in my Imperfect box this week, I knew its time had come.

  • 2 tomatoes, remove the core and chop
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 1 small lime, use zest and juice
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1/2 tsp of ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Put all the ingredients in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil while stirring steadily. Turn the heat down to low and let simmer for about 90 minutes, checking and stirring every 15 minutes or so until reduced to a thick jam texture. Store in a covered container in the fridge. It will keep for a couple weeks, but it won’t last that long as it’s so good. This makes about 1 cup of jam.

So wow! This is so good. It’s got this amazing sweet and sour flavor that would be good on just about anything. There’s some great heat from the ginger and red pepper flakes, there’s this aromatic oomph from the cloves and cinnamon and truly, my house smelled like tomato heaven.

Tomato Jam Sandwiches

Here are a few sandwich options. I toasted and yes! those are heels because I like how crispy they get when toasted. It makes me think this may be really delicious on knäckebröd and makes me want to go to Ikea. On the left, toast, tomato jam, sliced cucumber, and grapefruit. On the right, tomato jam, feta cheese, and a sprig of fennel.

Tomato Jam

Here I used knackebröd with tomato jam. On the left, I added feta and on the right, I used sauteed kale, fennel, and onions from the grilled cheese.

Pickled Strawberries

Pickled Strawberries

Pickled Strawberries with a few sliced almonds

  • 3 cups white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp red pepper flakes

I got 10 pounds of strawberries at Harvest Share and was trying to think how to use them quickly before they turned. I froze several packages, but ran out of freezer bags, so I was looking at all these strawberries that even if I ate them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I would not be able to eat them quickly enough. I had this wild idea of pickling them and googled for recipes to work from. I found one that sounded delicious, but I didn’t have mint or serrano chiles. So, I mailed it to a friend of mine who also went to Harvest Share and said, how about you make these and I will make some others and we can trade.

I decided to just run with a standard pickling brine with sugar and vinegar, adding some balsamic vinegar because I know strawberries and balsamic vinegar love each other. I tossed in some red pepper flakes because sweet and spicy make some of the most addictive flavors.

I cut off the tops of the strawberries and stuffed them in some jars with lids. I used old peanut butter jars. Meanwhile, on the stove I heared vinegar and sugar, adding red pepper flakes and balsamic vinegar after the sugar dissolved. I let the brine cool completely before pouring over the strawberries. I made sure they were completely submerged in brine and stuck them in the fridge, turning a few times. The next day they were ready…

Wow! These are dangerously addictive. They are spicy, but not uncomfortably spicy. The sweet and spicy flavor is perfect. They would be great served with pork. A friend brought over some espresso brownies last night and I cut one in half, putting a strawberry on each half. It was fabulous.

Far from being a recipe you might want to use up strawberries before they spoil, this is a recipe that would justify going out and buying a flat of them.

Pickled Strawberries

Pomegranate Relish or Dressing

Pomegranate Dressing or Relish

It’s pretty easy to clean a pomegranate, just cut it in half and pull the edges than knock it on the outside with a spoon and the seeds fall out. However, at Harvest Share this week, I got two packages of already cleaned pomegranate seeds. Sadly, however, they were already past their sweet spot and had turned sour and vinegary. I know some people would toss it out, since it was beginning to change, but pomegranate is acidic and just being past its prime does not make it a home for bacteria, just very sour flavor. I knew I could fix it and enjoy this fruit I really love. I just had to figure out how. Since it was already very vinegary, it made sense to use it as a sort of vinegar and make a salad dressing or a relish. But first I had to figure out what could balance the sourness. I pulled out aromatic spices like nutmeg, cardamom, and anise and tried a few grains with one pomegranate seed to see what I liked best. Both the nutmeg and the cardamon tried, but they added heat as well as balance and I wanted to make it more mellow, so I chose anise.

  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • ½ tsp anise seed
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
  • ½ yellow onion
  • 8 oz pomegranate seeds
  • 4 TBSP rice vinegar

I put 2 tbsp of olive oil in a sauce pan with ½ tsp of anise seed and heated to release the oils and flavor the oil. I then added 2 tsp of minced fresh ginger. I sliced ½ of a yellow onion into slivers and added to the olive oil, cooking until tender. I then added the 8 oz package of pomegranate seeds and cooked just until it started to break down. I added 4 TBSP of  rice vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. This made enough dressing for 4 large salads. It would also work well as a relish on the side where you might use cranberries, with pork, turkey, or sausage.

Here are a few salads made with the dressing. A simple salad with pecans and feta. A dinner salad with chicken sautéed with a bit of Old Bay. A dinner salad with some carne asada marinated in soy sauce and vinegar with some garlic, pears charred on the electric burner, and feta cheese.

 

Carrot Salad

I made a sandwich using a delicious carrot salad. The sandwich is definitely not vegan, but the salad is. I ate it both as a salad and as a sandwich slaw. It worked great for both.

4 carrots, peeled and sliced using the peeler into lots of thin strips

8 green onions, chopped into small pieces.

Mix together with 1 TBSP of olive oil and 2 TBSP of rice vinegar,

Add salt, pepper, and a tsp of red pepper flakes. Cover and shake. Store in the fridge overnight for the flavors to soak into the carrots.

It’s a bright and tart salad. Carrots are sweet, so they balance the heat of the red pepper flakes and the tart vinegar and the bite of the onions beautifully. They add a nice bit of crunch and freshness to this sandwich.

Sandwich Slaw

I love slaw on my sandwiches. I love the freshness it brings, the crunch, the tang of vinegar. It is what really makes a sandwich. I generally just throw a few things together without hard and fast rules. There is no wrong way to make a slaw, but this slaw is kind of perfect. I use seasoned rice vinegar which is one of my favorite things.

I cut about 1/3 of a small head of cabbage into thin strips and then chopped the opposite direction for a finely shredded chop. This gave me four cups of cabbage that I put in a big colander. I sprinkled with a teaspoon of salt and let it sit, the salt bringing out the liquid, for several hours. (Actually, I left it overnight.)

The next day, I squeezed the liquid out of the cabbage, put it in a bowl and added

  • 1 cup of chopped yellow onions
  • 2 carrots, peeled and grated
  • 2 cups of chopped cilantro
  • zest from 1 lemon

I mixed these together. Then I squeezed the lemon and added the juice with an equal amount of seasoned rice vinegar, some pepper, and 1 TBSP of olive oil. It should have enough salt from the salting the night before. Season it to your taste.

I know the usual ratio in dressing is 2:1 oil to vinegar and this is the opposite, but this makes it tangy. It doesn’t exactly pickle the slaw, but it gives it a light, bright, zing that I want.

This makes enough for six sandwiches, more or less, depending on how much you like to use. I use this with bacon, sausage, or in this example, pulled pork. It makes a perfect sandwich or on a tostada shell, a delightful, fresh tostada.

DSCN6994

Roasted & Fresh Brussel Sprouts & Bacon Salad with Parm & Mustard Vinaigrette

Bacon & Brussels Sprouts Salad with Parmesan and Mustard Vinaigrette

Make the Mustard Vinaigrette first – at least an hour before serving. This makes enough dressing for several salads.

Mustard Vinaigrette

  • 2 cloves of fresh garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper (to taste)

Stir mustard and vinegar together with a whisk, add oil slowly, whisking it int o emulsify. Add salt, pepper and crushed garlic. Let rest for at least an hour. Keep refrigerated.

Salad

Lay four strips of bacon on a baking sheet and roast in the oven at 400° until browned. Remove when finished (about 8 minutes) and set on a paper towel to cool.

While the bacon roasts, cut 2 cups of brussels sprouts in half, pulling off some of the outer leaves. Set the leaves aside.

Turn the oven up to 450°, toss the brussels sprout halves with 1 TBSP of bacon grease, salt and pepper and lay on a baking sheet to roast. These will be just roasted until done, not charred, so about 10 minutes max.

Bacon & Brussels Sprouts Salad with Parmesan and Mustard Vinaigrette

See that the brussels sprouts are only lightly browned.

Slice small pieces of parmesan and chop a bit of parsley.

To assemble the salad, lay down the brussels sprouts, the bacon, the parm, the loose, fresh brussels sprout leaves, the parsley and then add the dressing. Toss lightly.