Tomato Jam

It was only as I was preparing this post that I realized that, relatively speaking, I focus quite a lot on tomatoes. Which is odd because good tasting tomatoes are so difficult to find. Or maybe it’s not odd; maybe I focus on them so much exactly because of that, like a yearning hardly ever gratified. In any case, there I was, with a bunch of home grown tomatoes ripening at once, and in the mood for something different. I meant to make my own catsup, but then ran across this recipe for Tomato Jam. I made it exactly as written, except that I cut down on the sugar by about 1/3-1/2 cup. I didn’t want to cut down too much because of course the sugar helps it gel and I had no liquid pectin. However, I had some powdered Sure-Jell for low sugar jams, so at the end I threw in a few tablespoons of that, cooked the jam some more, and it was still great. It’s more like chutney than either catsup or jam: a bit sweet, a bit spicy, a bit tangy……….I think that it would be especially good with chèvre or on cold meats.

Tomato Jam

 

Summer Harvest

Summer is almost over (altho you wouldn’t know it with temperatures in the 90s here and in the 30s Celsius further North). And we have had great fun growing some lovely tomatoes and cucumbers! Last year I had a good crop of herbs from the pots on the deck: lots of lovely basil with which to make pesto sauce, which I did, and froze, and we are still eating it! This year the herbs were meh, especially the basil and parsley.

Earlier in the season I bought Campari tomatoes and made sun-dried tomatoes……..in the car. I read about it online; you halve and seed the tomatoes, sprinkle them with salt, and put them on a cookie sheet lined with baking parchment. Then I lay the cookie sheet in the rear window of the car, covered it with some cheesecloth (in case of insects), and left it there for a couple of days. And, ta da…….

Sun Dried Tomatoes

I had to be careful not to leave them too long because then they turn into tomato chips! Since then I have read that it’s better to use a drying rack lined with cheesecloth for better air circulation. Next summer!

Our own grown tomatoes are bigger and, also, I need my car from time to time, so those have led to other culinary adventures. Last week I made Gazpacho. And yesterday I made Tomato Jam.

I didn’t use a recipe for the Gazpacho. There ARE lots of recipes, and I read many of them. What I took away from them was that you should have 3 parts tomato to 1 part other vegetables; you need acid, such as red wine vinegar or lemon juice, or both; and you should keep some of the vegetables behind, diced small to add back to the other veggies after they have been blended into a soup. Mine had the tomatoes, cucumber, half a white onion, celery (not too much so not to overpower), garlic, a chopped red pepper and, to taste, the acid, the oil (olive), salt, pepper, and a wee bit of hot sauce. I blended it all together, then added the reserved handful of small diced cucumber and tomato. Very refreshing! I guess that it was so good, I forgot to take a photo!

But here is a photo of the other cold soup I made, this time with our cucumbers. It’s called Tangy Cucumber Soup, recipe from the Food and Wine website, here.

Spicy Cucumber Soup

Next time I’ll post the recipe for Tomato Jam. Eat well!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer In A Glass!

Or as the French might suggest, “Viva L’Apéritif!”

I have just discovered St-Germain Liqueur. Perhaps you already know of it? Around here it sells for under $40 a bottle but at 750 mls (about 24 ounces) you will get quite a few “servings” from it. And, yes, there are less expensive versions, but having reviewed the reviews, I think that I will recommend the “original”.

Such a lovely bottle, too!

Such a lovely bottle, too!

The liqueur is made from elderflowers and you can find out all about it at www.st-germain.fr. In the meantime, here is a recipe for The St-Germain Cocktail (for one):

2 parts (or ounces) Brut Champagne (not the real stuff but something dry).                        1-1/2 parts St-Germain Liqueur                                                                                               2 parts sparkling water or club soda

Stir in a tall, ice filled glass, mixing completely. Garnish with lemon twist.

Repeat as desired!