Jams and Spreads

Quick Tomato Jam

Makes a little under one cup of jam

From The Michelangelo of Lemonade

  • 1 lb cherry tomatoes (you can use whatever kind you like. Just remember you’ll be peeling them, so you might want to go with some of the bigger varieties.)
  • 5 TBSP sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp lemon juice (or more to taste)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar (if you have a really good one, this is a place to use it)
  • A pinch of ancho chili powder, cayenne, or whatever your favorite. (I used a combo of ancho and New Mexico since that’s what I had on hand. This is supposed to be a subtle heat to compliment the sweetness, not blow the back of your head off.)

Put a pot of water on to simmer and prepare an ice bath (bowl of cold water with a few ice cubes in it.) Cut a small X in the bottom of the tomatoes. Once the water is simmering, toss in the tomatoes for about 20-30 seconds or as long as it takes to see the skins start peeling back where you cut them (it won’t take long). Remove the tomatoes from the hot water and immediately put them into the ice bath to cool quickly. Drain the tomatoes and slip off the skins. I find the easiest way to do this is just grab the stem end (end you didn’t cut) and gently pinch the skins off.  Doing this step takes a little bit of time, but the end result is SO worth it. **

[**RECIPE NOTE: when I take the tomatoes out of the boiling water, I toss in the jar and lid I’m going to use for the jam and boil for a few minutes to sterilize them. Then I carefully take them out of the water with tongs and put them face down on a clean towel.]

Put the peeled tomatoes and everything else in a deep microwave safe bowl. The bowl should be big enough so that there’s about 3-4 inches from the tomatoes to the rim to avoid any boiling over.  DO NOT cover the bowl (if you do, you’ll guarantee the stuff will boil all over your nice clean microwave). Nuke on high in 5-minute intervals, stirring between each, until the mixture has thickened and there’s barely any liquid left. In my microwave it took a total of 18 minutes, but since all microwaves are different, yours may take a little more or less time. When it’s thickened and looks jammy, remove from microwave (REMEMBER – the bowl and the jam will be HOT) and let cool a little. Taste it and adjust if you need to — if you like it sweeter, add a little more sugar, if it’s too sweet, add some more lemon juice.

Pour the jam into the prepared jar, being careful not to touch the inside of the lid or rim of jar. Close tightly and let cool a little on the counter, then put in the back of the coldest shelf in your fridge. Calories: approx. 35 per tablespoon.


Peach Rhubarb Sauce Makes about 2 cups

From Kid, You’ve Got Moxie!

  • 2 cups chopped rhubarb
  • 3 peaches, peeled and chopped to total 1 ¼ cups
  • ½ cup sugar (or more to taste)
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 peach unpeeled and chopped

Put the first 4 ingredients in a deep microwave safe bowl and mix well. Microwave on high uncovered for 5 minutes. Stir and microwave again for another 5 minutes. Let cool a little and taste for sweetness. I like this on the tarter side, since I’m usually serving it over something sweet, but how much additional sugar you want to add is completely up to you.  Add the remaining chopped unpeeled peach and stir in. Will last 1-2 weeks in a jar in the fridge or you can freeze for up to 2 months. Calories: approximately 100 per ¼ cup.

Fresh fig tapanade

From ‘WTF?’

Makes about 1 ¾ cups

  • 8 ripe figs, stemmed and halved
  • 1 ½ TBSP olive oil
  • ¼ cup kalamata olives – pitted
  • ¼ cup oil cured olives – pitted
  • 1 TBSP drained capers
  • 2 TBSP balsamic crema (this is a reduced balsamic syrup that many markets now carry. If you can’t find it, you can make it by reducing ½ cup balsamic vinegar with ½ cup sugar until it forms a syrup. Keep it on hand in the fridge – it’s wonderful on a lot of things.)
  • 2 tsp fresh chopped rosemary
  • ½ tsp good aged balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped

Preheat broiler. Line small baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick spray. Lightly brush figs with ½ TBSP olive oil. Arrange figs cut side up on sheet. Broil until figs are lightly browned at edges, about 3 minutes. Cool on baking sheet.

Combine figs, olives, capers, balsamic crema, rosemary and vinegar in food processor. Pulse to coarsely chop figs and olives. With motor running, add remaining 1 TBSP of oil. Add salt and pepper to taste (you may not need any salt since both the olives and capers have plenty.) Transfer to a bowl and stir in the walnuts. Let stand at room temperature for 2 hours for the flavors to blend nicely. Store in refrigerator. Calories: about 50 per tablespoon.


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