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.

Fennel, Cucumber, and Grapefruit Salad

A bold and fresh-tastic salad for summer made with the tasty vegetables and fruit from Imperfect Produce.

  • 1/3 of a cucumber, quartered, seeds removed, and sliced
  •  1 grapefruit, supremed. (Cut away peeling, and slice the segments into wedges.) Cut over the bowl, squeeze out all the juice you can into the bowl to dress the salad.
  • 1/2 small fennel bulb, sliced thinly on a mandoline.
  • 3 asparagus spears, sliced thinly using a vegetable peeler
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • Handful of Roast Almonds
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 tsp of maple syrup and 2 tsp of seasoned rice vinegar

I just made this right in the bowl. Mixing things together as I cut them. I blended the maple syrup and vinegar before adding it to the salad and stirring it all in.

The bit of syrup is the perfect complement to the grapefruit. The salad is fresh, vibrant, and full of flavor. Fennel is a flexible vegetable that really needs to be used far more often. Makes one salad entree.

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.

Rutabaga Slaw

Rutabaga Slaw

  • 1 large rutabaga, peeled and grated
  • 2 carrots, peeled and grated
  • 3 cups shredded cabbage

Mix together in a bowl, sprinkle with salt and let rest for an hour or more. Then, add

  • 3 green peppers, cored and chopped
  • 1/2 cup roasted almonds

Mix all the vegetables together. To make the dressing, mix 1/4 cup Sweet & Sour Mango Fig Sauce with 1/4 cup plain rice vinegar and stir into the salad.

This is a delicious, light, and fresh tasting salad. It’s crunchy and delicious. It’s delicious with pork and chicken on a sandwich. It’s good on a cracker or on knackebröd.

 

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.

Kale Salad with Rutabagas, Apples, and Carrots

Kale, Rutabaga, Carrot, and Apple Salad

I went to Harvest Share at the Ortiz Center yesterday and took home a huge bag of kale, sacks of carrots, rutabagas, and onions and thought this sounds like salad.

I stripped the kale leaves off the stems and chiffonaded the leaves. I put a big plastic container on my scale to set the tare weight to zero and added the chopped kale until I had a half pound of prepared, chopped leaves. It was sort of heaping over the top of the container, but that’s okay. Kale is one of those duplicitous vegetables that lose their volume when you cook with it…even if all you do is massage oil, vinegar, and salt into it. That heaping over the top kale will be just over half full in no time.

So, once I measured the kale, I added 1 TBSP of olive oil, 1 TSBP of apple cider vinegar, and 1/2 tsp of salt. Using my fingers, I worked this into the kale, massaging it toward tenderness. It lost about 1/3 of its volume. I covered the container and set it aside, unrefrigerated, to continue “cooking”.

While it “cooked”, I made the dressing and chopped my veggies and fruit.

In a bowl, I zested one lemon before juicing it, To the zest and juice of one lemon, I added 1 TBSP of soy sauce and 1 TBSP of maple syrup, and some pepper. I stirred and set aside. There’s no oil in this dressing because it will get plenty from the kale.

I peeled an apple and diced it into pieces about 1/3 inch squares.

I peeled and chopped a medium-sized carrot – 1/3 inch squares.

1 diced 1/2 a yellow onion.

I peeled a rutabaga and chopped it into 1/3 inch squares. Peel deeply into the rutabaga, not just the outer skin, but also that heavy, woody rind. It’s usually just easier to cut it away.

All the pieces should be about the same size, as though making a chopped salad.

Add the vegetables to the kale. Toss with the dressing. I put the lid on and shook and shook and shook to distribute it evenly. Ideally, the salad will be fully dressed, but there won’t be any liquid gathering in the bottom.

The kale has that earthiness that makes for a great foundation for salad. The carrots add sweetness and the rutabagas and lemons add a bright tang. You get just a bit of sweet and sharp from the onions. The maple syrup does not make this sweet but instead add this wonderful note for the aftertaste.

 

 

Cucumber Grapefruit Salad

Cucumber Grapefruit Salad

So I got my very first box of produce from Imperfect Produce and decided to make something with the cucumber, grapefruit, green onions, and cilantro I ordered. I had this idea…

I took a half of a cucumber and peeled it, cutting it into quarters so I could easily remove the seeds. Then i chopped into 1/2 inch bites.

I supremed one small grapefruit, cutting off the pith and peels and cutting the segments free.

I chopped two green onions and about 8 pieces of cilantro. I mixed this all in a bowl with some salt and pepper, a sprinkling of red pepper flakes (just a few flakes!) and 1 tsp of maple syrup (good maple syrup!). Shake it up a bit and serve. Makes one serving.

I kind of thought the maple syrup would make magic and it did. There’s just the tiniest bit of heat and a hint of sweetness, perfectly tempered by the freshness of the cucumber and the bright zesty grapefruit. This was so good I wish I had made double.

Now about Imperfect Produce. A friend forwarded the site to me on Facebook, knowing that I have to be careful about spending and how I rely heavily on the Oregon Food Bank’sHarvest Share to have enough vegetables since the regular food banks are heavy on carbs. I decided to give it a try because saving money and saving the environment sound like a good plan to me. Below are the results. As you can see, my imperfect produce is not that imperfect, I see a little dent in the cucumber, but nope, not that imperfect. They are incredibly fresh. I ate the first grapefruit just as a fruit and ended up with grapefruit juice everywhere. It was delightfully messy. And look how much I saved!

Imperfect Produce

I saved a lot

 

Lentils with Curried Rutabaga

Lentils with Curried Rutabaga

In a saucepan, heat 2 TBSP of olive oil over medium heat. Add 1 diced yellow onion and 2 cloves of garlic, crushed and minced, 1 tsp of dried thyme, 2 bay leaves, 2 bags of black tea (Remove the string.), and salt and pepper. Cook until the onions are translucent. Add 1 cup of dried lentils and 4 cups of vegetable broth and bring to a boil before lowering to a simmer and putting the lid on to simmer for about 20 minutes until done. The tea adds a bit of smokiness and umami to the lentils.

Peel and chop one rutabaga into half-inch pieces.

In a cast iron skillet, heat 2 TBSP of olive oil over medium heat. Add 1 TBSP of Jamaica jerk seasoning and 1 TBSP of curry powder to the oil and heat until the aroma blooms. Add the chunks of rutabaga and sauté for about ten minutes so the pieces start to soften and brown a bit. Add about 1/2 cup of water and put the lid on for about 10 minutes or until tender.

Add the rutabaga to the finished lentils. Stir, and add 1 TBSP of balsamic vinegar or more to your taste. The vinegar’s tang will reduce the heat from the Jamaica jerk and curry powder.

Serve with a bit of fresh chopped cilantro on top.

The cool thing is that while the flavors blend beautifully, the constituent parts retain their individual flavors, so the rutabagas have that heat and the lentils that rich smokey heartiness. This is a thirty minute or so dish and serves eight. I know it’s not a single serving, but rutabagas are HUGE! The thing is, it reheats perfectly and only gets more delicious the next day.