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New Food: Fig Jam

15 Jul

I live really close to 3 Little Figs, a small coffee shop with fun menu items like fig n’ spice granola and the lil’ figgy sandwich. It was here, a few weeks ago, that I tried fig jam for the first time.

3 Little Figs is always super busy, which is kind of annoying when you live so close and you just want to read your book and sip a coffee but you are consistently foiled because every seat is always taken. I digress. One Sunday morning I was up insanely early and thought this was my very chance to actually get a seat. And I did! While I was sipping my coffee I decided to try the “toast and jam” which comes with fig jam of course.

Fig jam, like other jams, is a kind of preserve. It is made with whole chunks of figs which are cooked until softened. Some recipes call for lemon zest or salt to be added to the cooked figs. The finished product is often spread on toast or other baked goods, but it can also be used in savory dishes, like baked brie.

On my 3 Little Figs jam adventure I found there to be a whole lot of jam on the bread – bordering on excessive amounts of jam. I liked the taste – it was a little sweet – but the jam had a bit of a grainy texture that I didn’t really like. I ended up scraping a bunch of the excess off and when I just had a little taste of the jam with the bread, I liked it a whole lot more. Not sure I would order this again because although I liked it, I like other kinds of jelly and jams a whole lot more.

Week 33: Jams!

19 Aug

Last weekend I went to my friend’s parent’s farm, Shady Acres Organic Farm, in New York. It was amazing. The farm is completely gorgeous – there’s a koi pond, plenty of shade, and a hammock to nap in. Not to mention the gardens, where Ana and Bob grow tomatoes, greens, peppers, carrots, beans, watermelons – pretty much anything you could ask for.

Amazing, right?

Because Nick’s mom Ana is a fabulous host, we ate like kings the entire weekend. Dinner on the first night was freshly-caught fish, lightly fried, served with a zucchini relish that was to-die for. We had mussels for an appetizer, a tomato-mozzarella-basil salad, and a delicious cucumber and dill salad. Everything was so fresh that it was one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten. The cucumbers and tomatoes taste a million times more amazing than those Shaws vegetables I grew up on.

Beautiful dinner table

The next morning we had an impromptu jam-tasting, using all the jams and jellies that Ana has made from the fresh fruit on the farm. We tried bluebarb jam, black cap/currant jelly, cucumber marmalade, spicy pear jam, and current jam. They were amazing! The cucumber marmalade was excellent, but belonged on a biscuit or cracker, not an English muffin. The spicy pear tasted like the fall and the bluebarb jam was sweet and delicious. I think my favorite was the black cap/current, which surprised me because I didn’t know what a black cap or a current was and didn’t think I would like it.

Breakfast jam-tasting

After the jam-tasting, instead of cozying up in the hammock or reading by the koi pond, we got to work. We made tomato sauce and bread and butter pickles and learned how to can them. Seriously! We did! It was so much fun too. We donned our aprons, stewed the tomatoes, chopped cucumbers, and tasted away. There were hours of  sauce-simmering and cucumber-cooling, and then we were ready to can. It’s a bit of a complicated process, which Nick’s mom makes seem soooooo easy. She  gets you right into the thick of things – we were stirring, tasting, pouring, boiling, and sealing away until we each had a dozen jars of delicious tomato sauce and crispy pickles to take home with us.

It was a completely amazing weekend at Shady Acres. We sat at the farm stand, picked fresh vegetables for dinner, fed the koi, napped in the hammock, played with the dogs, ate like kings, and canned like Martha Stewart. I fell in love with the farm and cannot wait until we visit again.

Week 16: Black Raspberry Jam

20 Apr

When Andrew and I went to Portland, ME last weekend, we stopped at Stonewall Kitchen. They offer a ton of samples to try, so its fun to walk around the store tasting different jams and crackers, chocolates and breads. They also have really cool kitchen appliances, like a little spatula – which reminded me of my mom and sister and the Case of the Missing Little Spatula 🙂 – and a banana slicer. With my purchase, I got a free sample of their seedless black raspberry jam.

I love toast and I love it with grape jelly. I’ve tried strawberry jam and I didn’t like it very much, I think mostly because of the seeds, so I was glad that this free sample was seedless.

The Stonewall Kitchen website offers a brief description of the jam:

This award-winning jam takes black raspberries to the next level. Notable winner in the category of Outstanding Jam/Sweet Topping at the International Fancy Food Show, Stonewall Kitchen Black Raspberry Jam is a truly exceptional jam bursting with the juicy flavor of ripened black raspberries. Spoon black raspberry jam onto all your favorite breakfast breads. Use as a perfect complement to roasted chicken or pork for your next outdoor concert picnic.

I broke out some bread from When Pigs Fly, which has amazing bread and is conveniently located just down the street from my house. I toasted it and spread on a generous helping of the jam.

It was pretty darn good. Not as good as my grape, but pretty tasty 🙂 It was sweet without being too sweet and was definitely a nice addition to my morning toast. Maybe next I’ll try their Wild Maine Blueberry Jam – sounds good doesn’t it?!?

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