Friday, August 24, 2007

En Chine

Jam projects are on hold for two weeks while I'm in China, eating more pork products than a person ought. XLB, braised pork ribs and sesame BBQ pork puffs? Yes, yes and yes.

Back in September with fig jam, based on a recipe from the lovely Sean of Hedonia.


Saturday, August 11, 2007

How to gut a chicken

Some days shopping at the market is the best part of jam making. Other days it's the transit to and from, as was the case today.

The scene: the 23 Monterey bus stop behind the market, a few feet from a truck-full of caged chickens, pheasants and rabbits awaiting their doom. A woman waiting at the stop noticed me watching the stall owner grab a chicken by the feet and move toward the back of the truck, his other hand grasping a long metal implement.

"I don't even remember how to gut a chicken," the woman said.
"Mmm," I assented.
"It's been some time. Twelve years?"
"You could buy a book, probably," I offered.
"Or look it up on the web," she said. "My husband and brother hunt for turkeys in the fall. They looked up on the web how to clean 'em. I never ate that turkey, though. I said, 'If you had to look it up on the web, you probably did it wrong."

I got peak season O Henry peaches, $1/lb (organic), at the Ferrari stand. A recipe tomorrow...


Sunday, August 5, 2007

Blackberry-Plum Jam

I went early to Rainbow to load up on more half-pint jars (back in stock!) as well as some other supplies. In the bulk foods aisle, I tried to find a larger plastic bag to contain all the white sugar I needed, impervious to the flyers posted around the store advertising a food lecture:

Kick the sugar habit!

Are you tired of the sugar rollercoaster?
Do you want to reclaim control of your diet?

No and no. I picked up some "Flavor King" red plums to compliment the blackberries, which macerated in 1/2 c of sugar for about two hours.

Blackberry-Plum Jam

1 quart blackberries, rinsed and picked over

4 red plums

2 lemons, squeezed

1/2 c plus 1 1/2 c white sugar

After joining the peeled, sliced plums in a pot with the berries and accumulated juice, mix in the additional sugar and lemon juice. Bring the fruits to a slow boil, scraping off foam that rises to the top. Boil until fruits release liquid, then boil down and pass the freezer plate test for desired consistency.


Saturday, August 4, 2007

Late-season berries

Clearly I've found the digital macro setting on my new camera. This morning I went to the farmer's market with a special guest non-jam-maker, where I picked out blackberries ($5/qt)and blueberries ($8/qt).

Tonight the blackberries will macerate; tomorrow I'll go to Rainbow to buy new jars and then cook down the fruits. I hope my half-pint Masons are back in stock...