Sunday, October 11, 2015

Now With Video! We are Jammin', Tomato Jam

QUICK - LOOK! Did you see? There's a video at the top of the page! The first one...EVER!  I have spent the day watching my fabulous husband put it together and just amazed at how beautifully it came out. He is truly amazing (not to mention, smart, patient, kind, and funny) and somehow he not only puts up with me photographing almost every morsel of food that we cook/eat, he magically whips them up into this fun video.  So - enjoy the video, and try your hand at a little "Tomato Jam"!

What do you do with Tomato Jam? Paint a little on grilled chicken or pork (even a rotisserie chicken) and all of the sudden you have a gourmet level dish that will impress even the fanciest of guests.  Serve it over a block of cream cheese, or Chèvre (goat cheese) or a mixture of the two and it makes a beautiful appetizer in a matter of minutes. Actually, one night, we made a really simple pot roast & vegetables in the slow cooker and served the tomato jam on the side and it was a big hit.

I can't wait to hear what you think of the video & what kind of delicious ways you find to use this ruby gem of a jam!

Tomato Jam
6 cups tomato cored & chopped
2 onions chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T Fresh ginger, grated
1 T Red Pepper Flakes
1 T Salt
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 cup cider vinegar 
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon

In a large pot, add the first 9 ingredients.
Cook over medium high heat, stirring often until reduced by 1/2 (about 20 minutes).

Reduce heat to low & cook 2 minutes more. 
Keep refrigerated in tightly sealed container for up to several weeks. 

Here are some suggestions to customize your tomato jam;

- Instead of the red pepper flakes, use a small, fresh jalapeño ribbed, seeded, finely chopped.
- Don't have fresh ginger? Use dried, but cut the amount by half.  Or use pickled ginger, often found in the Asian section of your grocery. Mince it finely. 
- Did yours come out too chunky? Run the immersion blender through it just a little bit. Or, put 1/2 - 3/4 of it in a blender or food processor and pulse it, just a little bit...otherwise it will turn into ketchup!  
- Speaking of ketchup, you can turn this into a fabulous homemade ketchup by using the immersion blender or a regular blender to blend until smooth and cook down a bit further.  
- Add a bit of liquid smoke flavoring and the jam becomes an amazing barbecue-like sauce that is wonderful with grilled meats.  
- Need a quick appetizer?  Serve over a soft cheese like Chèvre (goat) or cream cheese for a sweet & savory nosh.  
- Can it!  Place in sterilized glass jars and can it according to preservation standards & have wonderful holiday gifts!

Psssst...Did I mention that we now have video? WOO! (Don't judge me, I'm beyond excited!)

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Monkeying Around with Monkey Bread

When developing a recipe, I look at several different recipes and make a combination of them all.  I did this today with a combination of several different monkey bread recipes to find an easy way to replicate one I had as a child.  I remembered the butterscotch pudding addition and how rich and sweet it tasted.  The pudding adds a great balance to the cinnamon flavor and accents the butter flavor. It also makes the texture much smoother & creamier than most monkey bread. This is not the final recipe, but more about the process and what I will include and exclude as I continue to experiment.  (It's tough, but my taste testers haven't complained yet)
So, here's what I learned...

1. The BREAD.  There are 2 popular ways to truly do this. Canned biscuits, or frozen yeast roll dough.  Biscuits are faster and don't require pre work.  Frozen yeast roll dough is richer and is great for premaking the night before.  
I used canned biscuits for this one and turns out that the 4 pack of 7.4 oz cans was just right to fit in a bundt pan.  
I pulled each small biscuit into 2 pieces and then rolled it in the sugar mixture.

2. The Sugar Mixture. I used 1 cup of brown sugar, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1 package butterscotch pudding mix.  Mixed all of these together in a plastic bag & dropped each of the dough balls into it before placing into a greased tube pan.

3. The Glaze.  Mix remaining sugar mixture with 1 cup melted butter and 2 T of milk.  Pour over sugar covered dough in tube pan.  

THE LESSONS. Again, don't use instant pudding mix, it makes it gummy.  Increase the milk for better coverage.  Layer the glaze & dough in the tube pan to make sure glaze gets all the way to bottom (which becomes the top when inverted onto plate). 

4. Baking.  Baked at 350 for 30 mins which was perfect.  Let cool for about 5 mins and invert onto serving plate.

So, the recipe is technically in the notes above.  But, realistically I think you could add a box of butterscotch pudding (not instant) to your favorite recipe and it would work.  Next time, I will be using slow cook pudding, frozen roll dough, layering, and who knows, I might just go nuts and add nuts!