Friends-with-Figs, Lemon Grass and Orange Marmalade

It’s great to have “friends-with-figs” I always say. Friends who go away on vacation leaving a tree laden with figs and share are even better. Having a friend who bakes great bread is “icing on the cake”.

Finishing a photo shoot and having lots of fresh oranges left over is another good thing.

 

Very ripe figs, juicy oranges and lemon grass paste cooked down with sugar and lemon juice makes a mighty tasty batch of marmalade.

Yes, it is hot work. The kitchen gets all steamy, as do I, but as I’m stirring I think of my Grandmother Kenny Mae, who canned all summer with hardly a window fan to cool her down and she managed without complaint. She loved the process more than the discomfort I suppose. Jars of jam and preserves made in the summer were all the more tasty during the winter months.

Random glass jars with new lids and rings gathered from my stash. Everything sterilized…jars filled…lids on. This marmalade can be refrigerated or even frozen. I can a few jars and give most away to friends who don’t have figs, some who do, some who just love marmalade like I do, and I save a few jars for later. This is such as easy recipe that I make it often throughout the year.

With so much citric acid I also oven-canned some jars. For a how-to on this method check out an earlier marmalade post here.

Friends-with-Figs, Lemon Grass and Orange Marmalade

Ingredients:

  • 6 oranges, thinly sliced, cut into quarters, seeded
  • 2 tablespoon lemon grass paste
  • 24 small figs, or 12 larger ones – stemmed & cut in half
  • 3 1/2 cups sugar

Directions:

  1. Put all ingredients into a stainless steel or enamel stockpot. Place over medium low heat and stir to combine ingredients until sugar begins to melt. Turn heat to medium high, stirring every so often, cooking for about 30 minutes. You want the mixture to bubble and reduce and thicken, but not get scorched on the bottom.
  2. Turn heat to medium low while you get jars and lids ready. Again stir often.
  3. Wash jars and rims in hot soapy water, rinse well and let drain on a clean dish towel. Use new lids whenever you can so the rubbery rim seals well.
  4. Fill clean jars to within about 1/2 inch of the top edge. Wipe edges clean of any spills. Place new lids on top of each jar.  If giving away, or refrigerating, then tighten lids and leave to cool on a rack. This marmalade will keeps chilled for up to 2 months just fine.
  5. Oven canning method: Turn oven to 250 degrees. Spoon hot marmalade into sterilized glass jars leaving a 1/2 inch at top of each one unfilled. Wipe jar mouths clean and top with new lids.  Place filled jars, not touching, in a baking pan and put in oven for 25 minutes. Remove from oven to cool on a wire rack. Listen for the “ping” or suction sound as the lids seal tightly to the jars. Lids will go from being a bit convex to concave. Store in a cool place for up to 12 months. If any jars do not seal, then you can refrigerate for up to 2 months.

Teresa Blackburn    http://www.teresablackburnfoodstyling.com

Pomelo Marmalade for Paddington

“I came all the way in a lifeboat, and ate marmalade. Bears like marmalade.” quote:  Paddington Bear.

I, too, like marmalade. And it’s such a pretty word as well. It sounds like it tastes. I’ve posted other marmalade recipes...”Maple-Kumquat Marmalade”“Meyer Lemon Marmalade” and my most popular “Buddha’s Hand Good Luck Marmalade”. They are all tasty and I do think Paddington might like them very much.  But…..

…this week I chose the imposingly large Pomelo citrus for making marmalade. You may have seen them in the grocery. They look like a giant grapefruit, but are about the size of your head…really, truly…unless you have a very small head. They aren’t hard to find in January and February in most supermarkets or import groceries. Pomelos are tangy like a lemon mixed with the sweetness of an orange. A complex tasting citrus. Full of Vitamin C they can be juiced like most citrus of course. These Pomelos were so large I only needed two for 4 pints of marmalade! If you want to know a bit more about the Pomelo click here.

The pith is very thick and when cut away leaves a round fruit about the size of a large grapefruit…they are from the same family of citrus by the way.

Rind is cut away and into thin strips. Pith is removed. Fruit is then cut into sections. Scraps and seeds are gathered into a cheesecloth bundle to flavor the marmalade.

Cooked down for a few hours with sugar in the final stage, then poured into clean, sterilized glass jars with lids. The recipe is easy and you can substitute Grapefruits if you like.

 

A new-old trick I recently learned about is to seal jars in a low temp oven! Works like a charm and no hot water bath. This doesn’t work for all canning, but is particularly good for high pectin fruits.

Thick sliced whole grain bread toasted with a slather of softened butter, topped with “Pomelo Marmalade”. Perfect for me and perfect for Paddington!

Pomelo Marmalade for Paddington

Ingredients:

  • 2 Pomelos (or four grapefruit if you must)
  • 6 cups white sugar
  • 2 1/5 cups water

Equipment: cheesecloth and twine, enamel or stainless pot, 4 pint canning jars with new lids

Directions:

  1. Slice off the tops and bottoms of the Pomelos and discard.
  2. Peel the rind/skin away from each using a sharp knife or peeler, trying to get as little white pith as you can. Cut into thin strips. Set aside.
  3. Cut away as much of the pith from each Pomelo as you can. Discard.
  4. Slice the flesh of each Pomelo away from the center core. The center is where the seeds are. Tie the seedy cores up in cheesecloth and twine making a sachet. Set aside.
  5. Section the flesh and put into a food processor, pulsing until finely ground up. Pour all the juice and flesh into a non-reactive pot…enamel or stainless steel. Add 2 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then turn to simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove from heat.
  6. Add the sachet to the pot, submerging down into the hot liquid. Refrigerate this mixture overnight. (The seeds are soft and contain pectin which will help the marmalade set up naturally.)
  7. The next day, squeeze the sachet out very well into the Pomelo mixture. Discard sachet.
  8. Add 6 cups of sugar to the mix and while stirring, bring the mixture to a boil over high heat.
  9. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook, stirring often for about 1 hr. until reduced and thickened.
  10. Turn oven to 250 degrees.
  11. Spoon hot marmalade into sterilized glass jars leaving 1/2 inch at top of each unfilled. Wipe mouths of jars clean and top with lids.
  12. Place filled jars, not touching, in a baking pan and put in oven for about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let jars cool on a wire rack. Listen for the “ping” or suction sound as the lids seal to the jars. Lids will go from being a bit concave right out of the oven to convex after cooling. Store in a dark cabinet for up to 12 months. (If jars do not seal then refrigerate for up to 2 months or give away as gifts!)

teresablackburnfoodstyling.com

 

Maple Kumquat Marmalade E.A.T. #22

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Sometimes I see an ad for a new gadget or appliance that makes me stop and wonder. Wonder why? Wonder at the desperation to come up with the newest thing to sell to people just “because”. The novelty seems to be the thing in itself.

There is an ad for a refrigerator that is showing up everywhere right now that has a camera(s) inside that connects to your phone.  If you have one of these you can always know what you have, or do not have, on hand to eat. Personally this is just too much information for me. One thing I wonder is if when you open this refrigerator does it take pics of you as well? Could this be another social media app- InstaRefrigerator? Has it come to this? You heard it here first!

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Most days I just open the door of my refrigerator and improvise. Improvised recipes can be the best. Finding “hidden food” in the back of the fridge might even lead to a blog post. I happily found a few cartons of kumquats at the back of my “no-camera” fridge a few days ago. I bought them over the holidays, forgot about them, rediscovered them and made marmalade. Part of the fun was the unexpected discovery of these orange orbs still just as plump as the day I bought them.

A marmalade with three ingredients…seeded kumquats, maple syrup and a pinch of sea salt. It’s as “easy-as-this”.

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Seeding is simple. Cut kumquats in half and seed with a spoon or your fingers. It takes a little time, but can be meditative.

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Thick syrup, softened sweet-tart kumquat marmalade smeared on hearty crusty bread toasted, or not!

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Maple Kumquat Marmalade

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Ingredients:

  • 3 pints of fresh kumquats, rinsed, cut in half and seeded
  • 1 cup real maple syrup
  • pinch of sea salt

Directions:

  1. Place kumquats and maple syrup in non-reactive pan and bring to a low boil. Turn heat to simmer, stirring often. Cook for about 30 minutes or until kumquats are softened to marmalade consistency and juice has thickened. If necessary add a bit of water to mixture as it cooks down.
  2. Ladle marmalade into glass jars. Store chilled for up to 2 months.

Teresa Blackburn     http://www.teresablackburnfoodstyling.com

A Sweet + A Savory Irish Soda Bread – One Recipe, Two Loaves

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“You are the bread and the knife….You are the white apron of the baker…..” Billy Collins “Litany” (excerpt)

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There is little more satisfying than making my own bread….warm, crusty loaves brought forth by my own hands.  The ingredients readied, measured and mixed appeals to the organized part of me. The physical contact of floured hands to soft dough is uniquely seductive as any baker of bread will tell you.

For St. Patrick’s Day week I share two recipes for breads that are simple and quick and delicious. I enjoy making yeast breads, but Irish Soda Breads are my fall-back when time is limited and my attention span runs short whilst the desire for making a good crusty loaf is all that will suffice.

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A bit of sifting and mixing….

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 …….just a few ingredients with little prep time and a beautiful dough is achieved.

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Gently formed into a round loaf with an “X” cut into the top, this sweet loaf is ready for the oven within about 10 to 15 minutes!

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One loaf baked and smeared with marmalade and one without…one sweet and one savory, both warm and ready for a slathering of Irish butter within an hour.

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A Sweet + A Savory Irish Soda Bread - One Recipe, Two Loaves

  • Servings: 2 loaves
  • Print

Ingredients for Loaf #1 – Plain and Simple

  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups buttermilk

Ingredients for Loaf #2 – Marmalade Loaf

  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cups plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup orange marmalade, divided in half

Directions for Loaf #1 –

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray or cover with parchment paper.
  2. Sift the flour, salt & soda together into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Make a “well” in the center and pour in 1 1/2 cup buttermilk and mix gently. Add more buttermilk if dough seems too dry. This dough should be soft and somewhat wet. Using your hands scrape dough out onto a lightly floured work surface.
  4. Knead dough until smooth and shape into an 8 inch round, slightly flattened disk. Place dough on prepared baking sheet and using a sharp knife dipped in water, make an “X” in the top. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until bread is golden brown and crusty. When you remove loaf from the oven and tap on the bottom it should sound hollow. Serve warm in slices with some softened Irish butter.

Directions for Loaf #2 – The process is exactly the same as the above loaf. This one uses yogurt and cream and marmalade.

  1. Preheat oven to 425 and prepared baking sheet.
  2. Sift flour, salt and soda together…make a well in the center….add yogurt, cream and half the marmalade. Stir together quickly. Scrape dough onto a floured work surface and knead a few times.
  3. Shape into a disk & place on a baking sheet. Smear outside of dough with remaining marmalade and cut an “X” in the top.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and crusty.

These breads keep well for a few days and are fantastic toasted.

Teresa Blackburn      www.teresablackburnfoodstyling.com      www.foodonfifth.com

“Buddha’s Hand Good Luck Marmalade”

  “Buddha’s Hand Citron

Tis the season for citrus…Rio Star Grapefruits, Honey Bells, Clementines, Kumquats…markets have piles & piles of seasonal citrus from all over the world so when I brought my grocery cart to a screeching halt in front of a pile of these fascinating “creatures” earlier this week I knew it was the time to take some Buddha’s Hand Citron home to my kitchen. Upon arriving home I was greeted by our “front porch Buddha” ….I went into the kitchen where there is a photo of a Buddha statue over the sink…(see photo gallery below)…hmmmm..this is  food for thought.

I am very drawn to objects/foods that have an “unearthly” quality…in fact Buddha’s Hands look  like much sea life I have encountered while snorkeling in the Caribbean…they could just as easily be attached to a coral reef as be sitting on my kitchen counter.  What to do with these beauties? For a couple of days I just left them sitting around…they are beautiful in shape & made an interesting centerpiece…they smelled good. They are very popular in China and Japan at New Year’s as they are believed to bestow good fortune on a household. This nugget I learned yesterday so was even more happy to have them just sitting around!

After a bit of surfing I found little in the way of recipes on the internet…uses in salads & a few recipes for preserving…lots of info about the history, origin (China/Japan/India now grown in California as well) folklore & beliefs attached to these hands, but little in the way of recipes….so lack of information led me to …citrus = marmalade.

“Buddha’s Hand Good Luck Marmalade”

A rich caramel colored marmalade with hints of cardamom & balsamic vinegar.

Recipe/Ingredients (this recipe would also work with any fresh, seasonal citrus):

1 Buddha Hand Citron(rinsed & wiped dry)

3 cups raw/or white sugar

1/4 cup of your local honey

4 cups water

1 cardamom pod slightly crushed

1 cup fresh squeezed citrus juice (I use Rio Star Grapefruit & Clementine juice)

2 TBSP Balsamic Vinegar Syrup/Reduction

Instructions:

1. With a vegetable peeler cut the peel & most of the pith (it is not bitter like most citrus) from the Buddha Hand.

2. Into a large enamel or stainless steel pan add the peel-pith, sugar, honey, water, cardamom pod & juice. Stir to mix well. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat to low & simmer mixture for about 45 minutes until liquid is reduced by a bit more than half. Stir frequently as liquid is reduced & thickens.

3. Remove cardamom pod & stir in balsamic syrup/reduction. Simmer for another 10 minutes or until a candy thermometer reads 220 degrees.

4. While marmalade is cooking sterilize two glass canning jars in hot water or hot oven for a few minutes. Remove from water & dry with a clean towel. Fill jars with rich caramel colored hot marmalade mixture & seal with lids. Let jars cool completely & store in refrigerator until ready to use (keeps for weeks or give away a jar for more good luck).

My “Buddha’s Hand Good Luck Marmalade” ready for my “tea & toast test”.

 Hot buttered toast with marmalade & Chia tea…cozy & yummy..I am feeling lucky with every bite…

Thematic Gallery of Buddhas & Hands:

Food on Fifth front porch Buddha head.
Over the sink Buddha photo.
Dizzy Buddha heads.
Buddha Hand diptych.
Bedside Buddhas - brown wooden Buddha I have had since I was a child...from Uncle James, in Japan.
Not-a-Buddha Hand with rings.
Little Buddha head in a box.
Buddha Hand citron on photo of a hand.
Buddha with serving platter, Malaysia.
Three Buddha Hands on platter.
Two Buddhist monks, Malaysia.
Buddha Head ashtray sighted at an antique mall in Nashville this week. Who knew?

I will end this last post of 2011 with this “Buddha Bar” story that was online this week on NPR:

http://www.npr.org/2011/12/29/143804448/the-real-buddha-bar-tended-by-tokyo-monks

Have a healthy, happy & kind new year….see you in 2012 my friends.