My First Jam Session – Onion Rosemary Jam

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Pregnant or not, I’ve never been much of a jam eater. I haven’t got anything against jam, but it’s usually too sweet for me (yes, the person who can shotgun a box of Nerds thinks jam is too sweet) but I am sort of fascinated by the more savory variety. They make excellent additions to any cheese plate or sandwich or even just smeared on an english muffin atop some laughing cow cheese (which is what I had for breakfast today). The recipe and idea for this one came from Serious Eats, which is a really great foodie blog with all sorts of angles on the whole food thing. The best part of this recipe is that it is relatively easy, with many ingredients we had already in the house (always appealing to us lazy folk). I followed the recipe mostly to the letter but the timing listed definitely did not work out for me. I am outlining my notes below as I went through it as this is really a great recipe and worth trying but for those of you who are jam novices like me, some things to consider.

Here is the recipe.

I used a heavy enamel pot for this so that I could fit everything in and also have a shot at not scorching the whole bit and ended up with a ruined jam and worse, a ruined pot. I also started out with probably closer to 4lbs of onions. This could have been mistake #1.

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The recipe calls for 15-20 minutes of heavy sweating in the pot for the onions, rosemary, bay leaf, olive oil and salt in the pot with the lid on. Turns out it really should have been more like 25-30 minutes to really get the onions nice and soft. We’ll call this mistake #2. I think this was probably THE key mistake as the final product was a little too chunky with the onion and while still very, very yummy, it just had too much texture to it. So then I added all the vinegars, etc:

DSC_1111As you can see from the picture the onions are still pretty raw and not as soft as perhaps the original recipe intended. I also (let’s call this mistake #3) upped the vinegar/wine content to account for the additional onions I used but didn’t increase the sugar or honey. Mostly I did that because as I said in the intro, I hate really sweet jams. But I also suspect this meant I short-changed myself in that gooey jammy consistency at the end with too much liquid and not enough sugars to convert to that texture we all associate with jam. Additionally, it took way longer than 15-20 minutes to get the liquid to reduce by half (more like 30-45 minutes) at which point the bay leaf and rosemary were removed and we got to this stage:

DSC_1112I kept going for another 40-45 minutes before the liquid was gone and we got basically down to the consistency which is in the very top photo above. I placed it in sterilized jars, closed them and allowed them to cool before I placed them in the fridge.

The end result, as I said, was still very good and I’d happily try again with some of the things I learned on this go round and it stores for a good 2 months – longer if you follow through with the full canning process of boiling the full jars.

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Update on no-Knead Bread recipe

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I know that the no-Knead Bread recipe posted by Mark Bittman on the NYTimes website has been a big hit, not only because it is easy but because it is also AWESOME. Here is the link in case you haven’t checked it out: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/08/dining/081mrex.html?_r=1 

Today my hubby attempted two variations on the original recipe. The first, pictured above, is the whole grain loaf made with the following ingredients added to the basic dough recipe:

1/4 cup steel oats

1/4 cup mix of sesame seeds (toasted), sunflower seeds, bulger wheat, lightly crushed

Place all the grains above into a bowl with boiling water and allow to sit for 1 hour. Drain well – important to get as much water out as possible – with a sieve and incorporate into original dough recipe.

The second variation is a rosemary lemon loaf, pictured below:

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For the rosemary lemon variation add the following to the basic dough recipe:

3 tablespoons dried rosemary

zest of 3 lemons

Both turned out exceptionally well, with the rosemary in the second loaf being quite strong, so you may want to scale back a little for your first try.

Enjoy!