Sunday, July 13, 2014

Tomato Jam and a New Friend

We had a great day at the Old Town Farmers Market yesterday.  It was warm, but not blazing hot, and there was a gentle breeze that helped keep it cooler.  People were enjoying the good company, the fresh food and veggies.  My daughter and I were at the Chef's Table getting ready for our cooking demo,

Often when I hit the market to demo I have very little idea of what I am going to cook.  I try to let what is available at the vendors create the recipe.  I do bring some basics, today I brought cooked Orzo and chicken....not sure as of yet what I was going to do with it.

I get to the market about an hour before the demo and walk around picking up veggies from different vendors, I found fresh basic and thyme, small sleek zucchinis, fresh green beans and glorious fresh cherry tomatoes.  The tomatoes looked like small red, yellow and black gems.  I also bought fresh Thai basil and cilantro, I am making fresh spring rolls for dinner tonight.


So, I have my idea for what I am going to cook....Pasta salad with fresh sautéed veggies and pan seared chicken.  I will also add fresh basil, thyme, lemon zest and juice, and to bring it all together cream cheese.  It seemed to be a big hit since we did run out, which is always a good thing.  There is a recipe but it can be tweaked for your personal taste, change the veggies, the meat and instead of cream cheese try goat cheese or feta cheese.  Make it your own.

Vendors I used this Saturday- Kansas Home Grown, Her Produce, La Tradition, Crumb and Crust

Where does Tomato Jam fit into all of this?  As it turns out I met an old friend that was also a new friend.  As we were cleaning up an attractive lady came up to me, excited to see me, I love that, so few people are excited to see me, lol.  She had been coming to the market for two years in hoping to see me, and well, we just missed each other.  Two year ago I had brought my homemade Tomato Jam and cooked with it and she loved it.  Cameo had made the jam but then lost the recipe and was desperate to make it again.

She found me yesterday and we hit it off.  So here is the recipe from yesterday and the Tomato Jam recipe and a couple of canning sources.

Fresh Veggie Pasta Salad

You can change out the pasta from orzo to your favorite, but give the orzo a try.  I think the orzo lends a certain flavor to the over all dish.  Orzo looks like a rice, but it is a pasta and it's name means rice like. This pasta cooks in around 5 minutes, don't over cook it, it cooks that fast.
You can use different veggies but the recipe will reflect what I did at the Market.


1 lb of orzo pasta, cooked, rinsed and cooled, so do this first
vegetable oil
2 6 inch zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 cups of fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces
1 cup of halved cherry tomatoes
1/2 brick of cream cheese, room temp
1 bunch of fresh basil, about 10 leaves, rolled into a tube and sliced into ribbons
1 t. of fresh thyme leaves
1 lemon, zested and juiced, reserve both for the salad
salt to taste
4 chicken breast, boneless and skinless


In a 10 inch cast iron skillet, heat over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium.  Add about 3 T. of oil to the pan and then cook each vegetable one at a time, once they are slightly charred or tender crisps remove to a bowl.  I cooked the zucchini for about 3 minutes, the green beans for 4 and the tomatoes about 2.  Once you have the hot veggies in the bowl add the cream cheese so that it can soften, set aside.
Add 3 T. of oil to the skillet and add the chicken breast.  Leave the chicken alone and let it brown. Keep the heat at medium.  This will take about 5 minutes.   The meat will stick to the pan until it is brown then it will release and that is when it is ready to flip.

Add the veggies to the orzo and stir to mix the cream cheese, add the lemon zest and juiced, add the fresh herbs and salt to taste.  Slice the chicken into bite size pieces and toss into the salad.

This can be served warm or cold.  Serve with crusty bread.

Amy's Tomato Jam- From Marisa McClellan and her cookbook " Food in Jars"

Ingredients
  • 5 pounds tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 3 1/2 cups sugar
  • 8 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon red chili flakes
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large, non-reactive pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce temperature to a simmer. Stirring regularly, simmer** the jam until it reduces to a sticky, jammy mess. This will take between 1 and 1 1/2 hours, depending on how high you keep your heat.
  2. When the jam has cooked down sufficiently, remove from heat and fill jars, leaving 1/4 inch of head space. Wipe rims, apply lids and twist on rings. Process in a boiling water canner for 20 minutes.
  3. When time is up, remove jars from water bath and allow them to cool. When jars are cool enough to handle, test seals. Store jars in a cool, dark place for up to one year.
Notes
*The finished yield on this recipe varies depending on the kind of tomato you use, the width of your pan and the finished thickness to which you cook it.
2010 yield: 4 1/2 pints; 2011 yield: 3 pints; 2012 yield: 2 1/2 pints
**In my kitchen, the word simmer means to cook just below a boil. There should still be a few bubbles, but it shouldn’t be splashing all over your cooktop. If you cook at lower temperatures, the cooking time will increase.
Food In Jars is a great cookbook for the first time canning experience.
Preserving by the Pint is her new book.  These two books will give you the basics and because they are small batches you will not be overwhelmed.  Any questions?  Head them my way.

Who is canning this summer?  What are you canning?  
















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