Is this not the most beautiful batch of fig jam you have ever seen?
Arlene Stein is our office manager and she has the most amazing fig tree growing in the backyard of her Brooklyn brownstone. Her husband, Kwame, definitely has a green thumb and every summer I impatiently wait for the tree to bear fruit and be magically cooked into the greatest fig jam ever. The tree is especially abundant with fruit this year, and for the last two weeks Arlene has been cooking up a storm. A couple of years ago she asked me for an easy recipe for preserving the figs. She has been using it ever since.
These luscious strawberries are the first of the season on the East End of Long Island, and if they are an indication of what's to come, we are in for a yummy crop. When I arrived at Billy Zaluski's farm stand, Billy was taking berries from the rear of his truck and placing them on the farm stand table. It was a good thing that I was having a lengthy chat with Holly, the manager of the stand, or I would have missed the berries. I bought enough for a big potful of jam and off I went feeling very happy with my purchase. They were so ripe and juicy that even my gentle handling of them didn't prevent the berries from coloring my finger tips. It's a good thing our cottage is only a short distance from the stand because I devoured an entire pint on the ride home.
This preserve of strawberries and rhubarb is as vibrant and crimson in color as the images you see on the pages that follow. I made six jars two days ago and they are history. The bakery staff fell in love at first bite and the slightly warm jars went home to their families that afternoon. I will be making more tomorrow and this time I will triple the batch because this recipe is a keeper.
On a previous post I tempted you with a yummy looking photo of my Lemony –Pear Pineapple Preserves. I teased you with its name, calling it “Lemony Pear-Snicketty”—and the Whole-Wheat Ginger Scones were topped with the preserves. Immediately, I received several requests for the missing recipe. Missing? No, it wasn’t missing. I did tell you that it was in my baking book—hoping you would buy the book and learn to make the preserves. Dorie Greenspan (renowned cookbook author, writer, blogger, cookie-maker extraordinaire, and longtime friend (whew) and her son/partner Josh Greenspan debuted the pear preserve on a new cookie called "Jammers" at their CookieBar pop-op in the beginning of February—more requests. Last weekend, while on a family vacation with my three granddaughters at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, I received more emails, asking for the recipe! Here it is “Lemony-Pear Snicketty”, aka Lemony-Pear Pineapple Preserve along with a few POINTERS...
I adore cooking for my grandchildren and often try to feed them fresh fruit for dessert when possible. There is always an expectation that Bubbe (aka Sarabeth) will bake their favorite dessert. Last Saturday's dessert included some succulent Cara Cara navel oranges. The interior fruit is a vibrant deep rosy- orange, especially sweet and low in acidity. They are considered by many to be the best of the navel family—I buy them whenever available. I segmented three and chilled them for the dessert— having planned to serve the oranges with 2% low-fat Greek yogurt and a touch of orange blossom honey.
Later that evening, after returning from driving the boys home, I went to the refrigerator for some chilled water, there was the bowl with the ORANGE SEGMENTS— they never made it to the table! Jack and Drew had opted for ice cream cones with Oreo-vanilla ice cream and sprinkles—there went my healthy dessert. How could I leave them overnight to lose their flavor and freshness? Sitting on the counter were some beautiful ripe cherry tomatoes— could work nicely with the oranges. I have never combined tomatoes with any fruits to make a jam or preserve before. Thinking this might be something really good, out came a saucepan, the sugar and a vanilla bean. I was very surprised with the results. It was delicious and the color was pretty amazing. Cooled and covered, I popped the bowl in the refrigerator— Bill (aka Mr. Sarabeth) and I would have it with our breakfast in the morning. I had all night to dream about what would accompany my new treat.