Category Archives: Fruit

Tomato Peach Balsamic Jam

Tomato Peach Balsamic Jam

The upside of seasonal eating has gotten enough play.  Today we turn to its darker side.  To the part of eating seasonally where summer ends and I am supposed to set aside perfect peaches for pumpkin soup and root vegetables.  What kind of solace is that, I ask?

In the coming weeks I’ll settle in, I know, remembering the unexpected heights that Brussels sprouts can reach and that miso-roasted squash and kale salad.  I’ll even delight in planning our vegetarian Thanksgiving menu.  Eventually.

But for today, let’s talk about holding onto those peaches for as long as we can.

This recipe is the love child of this sweet tomato jam and this savory peach jam.  It was inspired by a tomato and peach salad we ate all summer and a tomato and peach gazpacho served in the cafe of my favorite bookstore.  And like all my good jam ideas, I later learned that Marisa had it first.

This jam is equal parts peaches and tomatoes by weight, but the result is more sweet than savory; the umami notes of tomato and balsamic add just a whisper of intrigue.  As you’d expect, it’s most at home alongside a soft cheese or spooned over a piece of salmon, but it’s no slouch in a sandwich or vinaigrette either.

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One-Ingredient Oven Baked Apple Chips

Each summer, I fill my freezer and pantry shelves with jam and pickles and applesauce and roasted tomatoes and pesto and all the tastes of summer that I think I’ll need to make it through the Seattle winter.  And each year, right about this time, I either start wondering where it all went or wondering how we’re ever going to get through it all.  This year it’s the latter.

So here we are: the chickens are laying again, green rows are peeking up in the garden, and although even the rhubarb is a few weeks off, all signs indicate that spring will come again.  Which means that it’s time to be working through our winter stores.One-Ingredient Baked Apple ChipsIt was in that spirit that I hauled the last of our apple harvest out from the back of the fridge today.  Last fall we borrowed two dehydrators from a friend and dried a few gallons of apples that lasted, oh, right until whenever the girls found them.  They loved them.  So today when the counter was piled high with apples and I started talking sauce, an intense lobbying campaign was launched from around the height of my bellybutton.  Who could resist?

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Winter Salad with Oranges and Oil-Cured Olives

I always find a brightly-colored salad to be uplifting in wintertime.  Lettuce may not be not a winter crop, but I like to overlook that fact and focus instead on salad as an opportunity to let winter citrus shine.  And at this time of year fresh herbs are starting to peek up in the garden, which is a perfect excuse to supplement your salad greens with generous handfuls of parsley.  The play of flavors and textures here—sweet, salty, bitter, crisp—will brighten any winter day.Green Salad with Oranges and Olives Continue reading

Tiny Grilled Brie and Apple Panini

By “panini,” as you’ll see from the photo below, I mean the American usage (any toasted or grilled sandwich) rather than the Italian original (referring specifically to a small bread roll, the panino).  (At least if you believe what Wikipedia has to say, which, of course, I do.)  And by “grilled brie and apple panini” I mean sweet and salty, gooey and crisp, crunchy, savory, wow, that’s good.  Go ahead, have another.  They’re tiny. Continue reading

Overnight Oats with Peanut Butter and Banana (and Chocolate)

You guys are the best!  All day today, I felt like we were all standing around in the kitchen together, chatting about how to pull off a last-minute Thanksgiving dinner.  It’s easy, you reminded me.  Stuff a winter squash, roast some veggies, make a soup or a good salad, put out cheese or olives. Easy is perfect.  And just as perfect were the reminders that it’s not the food that makes a holiday special; it’s the excuse to gather as a family and enjoy each others’ company.

And…that’s good.  Because we arrived to find our rental-with-kitchen unsavory, and decamped to a hotel suite with only a mini-bar fridge instead.  So no kitchen, no Thanksgiving cooking.  We’re going to have our Thanksgiving dinner this weekend instead, back in Seattle.  Which I already have planned now, days in advance—I’m so uncharacteristically organized!  But seriously, thank you–I am so lucky to have met so many wonderful cooks and epicures and readers and writers in this little place called the internet (interwebs?) and I’m thankful to know you all.In celebration of life with a mini-fridge, and especially for those of you on the road this weekend, I’m sharing my favorite hotel-room breakfast today.  Continue reading

Caramelized Apples with Cinnamon

After all five of us have eaten an apple a day, and we’ve made gallons of applesauce, tray after tray of dried apple rings, yards of apple-based fruit leathers, and an apple pie—our fridge is still full of apples.  So here’s a nice way to celebrate a fridge full of apples.  Especially on a pancake day or when you have guests for breakfast over a long holiday weekend. Continue reading

Rustic Apple Pie with Walnut Streusel Topping

I always make at least one apple pie a year, on Thanksgiving, with the last of the apples from our trees that are tucked away in the fridge.  I always use this recipe.Today, Election Day here in the U.S., seemed to call for an extra apple pie.  There’s the Americana kitch of apple pie, of course, and there’s the fact that a pie is always welcome at a potluck.  But making a pie is also meditative, soothing, distracting.  By the time I arrived at our usual Election Day party with three little girls and a warm pie in my hands, I was calm and confident and I had stopped obsessively refreshing polling data on my phone.  This was our fourth Presidential election in a row with the same savvy, snarky, deeply caring group of friends, and I rather think that we all deserved an apple pie tonight.  So do you. Continue reading

Banana Bread with Bittersweet Chocolate, Whole Wheat, and Olive Oil

I’m not going to disappoint anyone by telling you that banana bread is really cake, right?  And this banana “bread” is no exception.  It has a couple of healthful flourishes, yes–whole wheat flour replaces some of the white flour, and olive oil and yogurt stand in for butter–but it remains a sweet, dense, chocolatey cake.

And to be honest, I like whole grains in sweet baked goods at least as much for their hearty flavor as for any health benefit they confer (I mean, we’re still talking about cake here).  These whole wheat chocolate chip cookies, this rye flour zucchini bread (also a cake, of course)—the whole grains add a layer of flavor and texture that leave more refined baked goods tasting rather insipid in comparison. Continue reading

Savoy Cabbage Salad with Apples and Walnuts

Today J picked the apples from our three backyard trees.  It’s been a good year for the apples, and box after box came inside.  Red, crisp, sweet.  Hundreds of apples.  The big girls posed proudly for a photo in front of the pile.  The baby held an apple in each hand and seriously applied herself to the task of trading off bites.

Our plan to make applesauce all day went out the window, the boxes went to the cool basement, and now every time I go downstairs the sweet smell of fall wraps around me.  One day soon we’ll be making a year’s worth of applesauce, but today we settled for a enjoying just a taste of the season’s bounty in our salad. Continue reading

Saffron Peach Jam

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By this time of year, our shelves are well-stocked with jam.  We’ve been making it all summer: Strawberry, raspberry, blueberry.  Rhubarb, cherry, three kinds of plum.  We eat plenty of jam–on yogurt and oatmeal, in sandwiches, with fancy cheese–and still, we will make it through the winter.  We have plenty of jam.

But it’s hard to stop.  And really, can there be too much jam?  Extra jars make welcome gifts, and I never seem to find myself with much left over when summer rolls around again.So I was happy to spend a day in the kitchen with a box of organic peaches last week.  They arrived on my doorstep courtesy of the Washington State Fruit Commission (full dislosure: the peaches were given to me at no charge, but the opinion that peaches are great is entirely my own).  We ate one after another after another.  And then it was time to make more jam.

I asked you for your peach preserving ideas.  I browsed the Sweet Preservation website.  I flipped through Mes Confitures.  I couldn’t decide.  So I made some of everything.  I made a sweet, chunky peach jam with a vanilla bean scraped in.  I made a tangy peach chutney with a lot of grated fresh ginger.  And, at Hannah’s suggestion, I made this Saffron Peach Jam.

It’s based on a recipe from The Preservation Kitchen, but it’s a good deal sweeter than the version in the book.  Some people say that saffron tastes spicy, or purfumey, or that it tastes like the sea.  Here it simply provides an earthy, savory counterpoint to the sweetness of the peaches, subtle enough that my six year old loved the jam but intriguing enough that I have gone about my days plotting uses for it.  I’m going to spoon it onto rice pudding and ricotta-topped toast.  I’m going to layer it into my next frittata sandwich in place of the tomato jam.  I’m going to serve it on a cheese plate.  But meanwhile, it’s just been going straight on toast.

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