condiment

Kumquat Marmalade

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When you are deep into citrus season you need to take advantage of everything that you have, and next to Meyer lemons, kumquats are on the top of the list for must haves during the winter months. This recipe will require a little bit of your time but the finished results is a sweet and tart marmalade with the perfect amount of rind. Kumquats can be eaten fresh, and whole, some have large seeds and others have very small seeds. They have a tart flesh and a very sweet skin and rind, when cooked together they create a perfectly balanced marmalade.

Kumquat Marmalade

1# 4oz Kumquats

1#  Orange Juice

1C  Water

1/2#  Sugar

1/2T  Apple Pectin

The most tedious part about making a marmalade is peeling the oranges and cleaning the pith to ensure that you will not get a bitter product in the end. Kumquats are beneficial in that area as they can be eaten whole and they balance very nicely. They still need to be cleaned of all the seeds and cut into smaller pieces to make a palatable marmalade.

  • Begin by washing your kumquats and quartering them, you can either remove the seeds as you do this or quarter all of them first and then remove the seeds, regardless, it will take a little time.
  • Once they have been cleaned of the seeds, rough chop the kumquats.
  • Combine half of your sugar and all of the apple pectin, set aside.
  • Combine the orange juice, kumquats, water, and the remaining sugar in a large pot, turn the heat on to medium.
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  • Once the marmalade begins to simmer, cook for roughly five minutes, turn down the heat if necessary to maintain a simmer.
  • Check to see if the kumquats are soft, if not continue to simmer until they are.
    Once softened, whisk in the sugar and pectin mix.
  • Simmer for another five minutes and check the consistency on frozen plate. It will set up semi-firm on the plate when ready.
You can draw a line with the spatula and it holds, even when hot, this is how you can tell that your marmalade is ready

You can draw a line with the spatula and it holds, even when hot, this is how you can tell that your marmalade is ready

This plate test shows that the marmalade is ready to come off of the heat.

This plate test shows that the marmalade is ready to come off of the heat.

This marmalade will go great on toast, foie gras, or served on a charcuterie board.

Meyer Lemon Gribiche

 

This sauce is a great accompaniment to fish and if done right it can go with almost any other protein.  It is similar to a remoulade, except your eggs are hard-cooked rather than raw.

 

Meyer Lemon Gribiche

 

3ea  Eggs

 

3t  Stone Ground Mustard

 

1C  Canola Oil

 

1ea  Meyer Lemon

 

2t  Rice Vinegar

 

1T  Chives

 

2t  Tarragon

 

1t  Pink Peppercorns

 

AN  Salt

 

  • Start by boiling some water and cooking the eggs for 10 minutes, this will give you a nice soft-boiled egg.
  • After the 10 minutes of boiling s hock the eggs in ice water to stop them from cooking.
  • Meanwhile, chop the tarragon and chives and set aside.  if you have whole pink peppercorns smash them with a meat mallet or roughly chop them in a spice grinder.  Zest and juice the Meyer lemon and set aside.
  • Once the eggs are cooled, peel and remove the yolk, place the yolk in a bowl and set the whites aside.
  • Chop the whites into small pieces and set aside.

 

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  • Combine the mustard, herbs, egg yolks, and the pink pepper.

 

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  • Mix with a fork until smooth then add the rice vinegar, Meyer lemon zest and juice, continue mixing.

 

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  • Stream in the oil while mixing, you may need someones help so you can hold the bowl and mix while they pour.  The goal here is to emulsify the oil with the egg mixture.
  • Once all of the oil is added, add the egg whites and adjust seasoning with more rice vinegar if needed.

 

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Replace mayo with this gribiche on a sandwich with fresh greens and thin sliced pork, or serve with 72 hour short ribs.

 

Fig Jam

The end of fig season is near and it is time to start drying the last of the fresh figs, currently, in November, brown turkey figs are available fresh for another month. My favorite figs to use for this jam are mission figs.

Fig Jam

2ea Shallots

3/4C Brown Sugar

1# Dried Black Mission Figs

1/2C White Balsamic

3ea Small Thyme Sprigs

1/2C Water

  • Slice the shallots and remove the tops of the figs
  • Remove the thyme from the stem and set aside
  • Sweat out the shallots in a little bit of bacon fat until tender

  • Once they are tender, add the brown sugar and cook until the sugar begins to darken.

Liquefied brown sugar beginning to darken.

  • Add the figs and stir vigorously for one minute, then add the balsamic vinegar and the thyme.

  • Simmer for about 5 minutes then transfer to a food processor and pulse a few times to chop up the figs.
  • Return the figs to the stove if need be to thicken slightly.

  • Once the figs are at the consistency that you would like, transfer to a pan and cool overnight.
  • The final product will the thick and spreadable and goes great with pork, fish, and cheese.  I have not checked the acidity level yet for canning purposes so store under refrigeration.

Huckleberry Confiture

With huckleberries in full season it is time to make some preserves! Huckleberries have such a nice tart and savory flavor to them that you do not want to hide it with too many ingredients. This recipe is a very simple and straight forward confiture(preserve) that uses palm sugar for its subtle sweetness and the hint of fruit that it lends.

Huckleberry Confiture

3C Fresh Huckleberries

1.5T Palm Sugar

1/2T White Sugar

1t Apple Pectin

12ea Stems of Lemon Thyme tied in a bundle

1T Sherry Vinegar

  • Tie your thyme in a bundle to make it easier to remove when the confiture is done.
  • Combine the huckleberries and the palm sugar, place over low heat and let simmer for 30 minutes.

  • Combine the white sugar with the pectin and mix well, the combination will allow the pectin to dissolve and not clump.
  • Add the sugar and pectin mix as well as the bundle of lemon thyme and simmer for another 30 minutes on very low heat.
  • Add sherry vinegar and simmer a few minutes more.

  • Check the consistency by spooning a small amount onto a frozen plate, if the confiture is not firm then continue to cook. Check consistency regularly until thick.
  • Refrigerate until cool before use or keep warm for ice cream.

The finished confiture will hold its shape and still be soft and spreadable, this recipe yields a tart jam and you can certainly add more sugar to your liking.  When used warm it creates a wonderful sauce on corn cakes.

Creme Fraiche

Creme fraiche is an expensive cream similar to sour cream but a little richer. I have been eager to make creme fraiche since I have read about how easy it is to make. The problems I ran into had to do with keeping the milk mixture at a consistent temperature for twelve hours to allow the bacteria to form. After building the immersion circulator, I have had to start testing it by making yogurt and creme fraiche, due to the lack of a foodsaver/vacuum chambers to pack food in for Sous Vide cooking. Like yogurt, creme fraiche is very easy to make yourself and once you have the culture started (from your first batch of creme fraiche), it is very inexpensive to make.

Creme Fraiche

2C Heavy Cream (aka Heavy Whipping Cream)

1/4C Buttermilk

  • Combine both ingredients and mix.
  • Place the mixture in a quart sized mason jar and submerge in a water bath to the height of the milk in the jar. I used a pan in my water bath to get the jar where it needed to be.
  • Cook at 95°F for 8-12 hours.
  • The longer it cooks, the more sour it will taste.
  • After the time is up, place the jar in an ice bath to cool, then refrigerate.

Pistachio Oil

Pistachios are by far my favorite nut, and buying pistachio oil can get very expensive. I use a small handful of parsley to get a vibrant green color into the oil and then let the  pistachios do the rest.

Pistachio Oil

2C Pistachios (shelled)

3C Grapeseed oil or another mild oil

2C Parsley (stems and leaves)

  • Combine the oil and pistachios in a pot and heat to 150°F. This will help the pistachios release their natural oils and flavors. Oil heats very quickly so be careful and watch your thermometer.
  • Prepare an ice bath and a metal container to pour the hot oil into.
  • Place parsley in a high-speed blender such as a Vita-mix, food processors work but they need to run longer.
  • Pour the hot oil and pistachios over the parsley and blend until very smooth and the oil turns green. Be very careful when blending hot liquids in a high-speed blender! The heat can cause the liquid to shoot the top off of a blender if not used properly. Variable speed blenders are recommended so you can start slow and step up to high-speed.
  • Once the oil is green, immediately pour it into a metal container in the ice bath. This will prevent the parsley from turning black and in turn ruining the oil.
  • Prepare a strainer or china cap with a coffee filter and once the oil has cooled, pour it carefully through the coffee filter. This may need to be done in multiple steps depending on the size of your filters.
  • Place the oil in the refrigerator over night while it strains. Infused oils should always be stored in the refrigerator to prevent bacteria from forming. The straining process can take 1-2 days but let it strain at its own speed for optimal flavor.

The strained pistachio oil looks very similar to freshly pressed olive oil.

Tomato and Fennel Jam

I love a good tomato jam to go with a beef carpaccio or a nice fat smoked pork chop, but a lot of the tomato jam recipes have the same spices as ketchup, thus you end up with a similar product that might be a little thicker, sweeter, and meatier. I decided to winterize it a little more and got a nice anise flavor by using fennel and tried to make it a little richer with some red wine.

Tomato and Fennel Jam

10# Roma Tomatoes

2C Novelty Hill “Royal Slope Red”

6C Sugar

2ea Fennel bulbs

1T Black Peppercorns

6ea Bay Leaves

1T Cardamom Pods (crushed)

1T Crushed Red Pepper

2T Salt

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1/4C  Sherry Vinegar

  • Place a pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil, have a pan with ice water ready to hold all of the tomatoes.
  • Cut an “X” in the bottom of each tomato, and drop them into the water until the skin can easily be removed, for Roma tomatoes it takes about 4 minutes.
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  • Place the tomatoes directly into the ice water to stop them from cooking, and begin peeling them.
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  • Remove the tops and rough chop the tomatoes. Weighing them again, you should get about 7# 12oz of peeled and crushed tomatoes.
  • Clean the fennel and dice it small; place half the fennel into a high speed blender with enough water to come half way up the fennel. Puree the fennel until smooth.
  • Strain the fennel puree to get 1 cup of fennel juice through a chinois or a very fine strainer.
  • Place the black pepper, cardamom, and bay leaves into a piece of cheesecloth or a coffee filter and tie it closed.
  • Place all ingredients except for the vinegar into a large pot and simmer for 1.5 to 2 hours. The wider the pot, the faster it will reduce.
  • While the jam is reducing, be sure to skim the top of any foam to get a clean flavored product. Make sure that you skim the lighter colored foam as these are the impurities, because of the tomato pulp you will also have a deeper red foam floating up for the first twenty minutes of cooking. The red will subside a little and you will be left with the lighter colored foam to skim.
  • Once it is the consistency of jam, which you can check by dropping a little onto a plate in the freezer, add the sherry vinegar.  The purpose of the vinegar is to balance the jam, it will be very sweet by the time it has reduced so the vinegar brings back some acidity.