Final Countdown!

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Final Countdown!

I am down to the final 24 hours of the kickstarter!  Thanks very much to all those who have backed it so far!  I'm super excited to see it complete, then start the process of fullfilling the rewards to all the backers.  

By the end of the week, all backers will receive a survey from me to confirm their addresses (if needed) for the orders as well as their ability to provide input on the finalists for the first batch of jams that I produce for sale!

If you haven't backed yet, now's your chance!  Please consider visiting my kickstarter page and backing the campaign!  Thanks again!

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Weekend Project - Smoked Pears & Glogg

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Weekend Project - Smoked Pears & Glogg

Last weekend I had two more very distinct experiments I wanted to try out.  The first was to capture the flavor of smoke in a jam and the other was to recreate a holiday drink I enjoy.

Finished Jam - Smoked Pear & Vanilla

Finished Jam - Smoked Pear & Vanilla

For the first I used pears.  I felt like they had a texture that would soak up smoke nicely.  At the same time however, I didn't want to cook the pears, causing them to get mushy and over cooked by the time i was ready to make jam, so i used a cold smoking technique.  Rather than heating the fruit over a grill, I put them in a bag and used a smoke gun (small device with a fan that can force smoke through a tube).  I did a few rounds of this smoke treatment, then sugared the pears, added vanilla beans and cooked it down.  The smoke held up surprisingly well, but this is one of those you love it or hate it jams i think.

The second was a my first grape jelly of the year with the juice from a few weeks ago.  I adapted a recipe for Glogg - a swedish mulled wine from the holidays.  I infused the base spices (citrus peel, cardomon, cinnamon, clove, & cinnamon) with a small amount of vodka overnight.  The next day I strained this mixture in with my grape juice, sugar, port wine, dried figs, & raisins, then cooked down to a jelly.  This one is more appealing to w ide audience i think, though the mulled spice flavor will surprise those expecting a normal grape jelly.

 

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Andy's Beef Stew - Cooking with Jam

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Andy's Beef Stew - Cooking with Jam

Finished Sample of the Stew

Finished Sample of the Stew

Last month as part of an experiment (and a chance to use up some extra goodies from our farm share) I made up a batch of tomato, plum, & pepper jam.  My comment then was it was so savory it was much more likely to find its way into z recipe than my breakfast toast.  I decided to use some this weekend in my first stew of the fall.

For this stew, I wanted something more like Ethiopian beef stew, called key wat, not the soupy stew of meat and potatoes from my youth.  I didn’t want it to be too spicy though, and instead of being heavy on the peppers, looked for other spices that would combine nicely and help make a rich sauce. To match the jam, I decided to use another local Portland product, Eliot's Nut Butters.  In this case, I was using their Garam Masala peanut butter.  IF you don’t have access to Eliots, well first I feel sorry for you because they are awesome, but you can approximate it by using fresh ground peanut butter plus a heaping tablespoon of garam masala.

Stew with salad, and lentils on injera. I should have snapped a picture sooner, but we were so hungry we dug right in!

Stew with salad, and lentils on injera. I should have snapped a picture sooner, but we were so hungry we dug right in!

We served this up with a fresh tomato and onion salad and a side dish of daal - red lentils cooked in garlic and coconut milk.  We also served it all on injera - traditional Ethiopian bread, however it would go just as well with big pieces of crusty bread or some rice.

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 4-5 hours in slow cooker

Ingredients

  • 2lbs of stew meat
  • 1 Onion sliced into thick pieces
  • 5 stalks of Celery, chopped into chunks
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 8 oz of Jammly Tomato, Plum, & Pepper Jam
  • 5 Tbsp of Eliot's Garam Masala Peanut Butter
  • 1/2 Tbsp of peanut oil
  • 3 Tbsp Fish Sauce
  • 3 Tbsp of Mirin
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Steps

  1. In a bowl, combine the jam with the peanut butter, mixing with a spoon.  Once thoroughly  mixed, add the stew meat and stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. The next day, pull the meat mixture out and add the chopped garlic and stir.  Allow to sit at room temp while you prep the remainder.
  3. Add the onions and celery as a layer in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  4. Add the oil, fish sauce and mirin to the slow cooker.
  5. Pour the meat into the slow cooker onto the veggies, taking care to scrape as much of the marinade from the bowl (a cake spatula is great for this).
  6. Cover and set to high and let cook for 2 hours
  7. Uncover and stir stew.  Cover and cook for additional 2-3 hours.
  8. Uncover and check flavor - salt and pepper as need for taste.
  9. If your stew meat for very large chunks, you may want to use a spoon and break them up slightly (don’t overdo it however, you want some chunks of meat, not a pulled beef)
  10. Turn off cooker and serve immediately or drop to low/warm setting and keep warn until ready to serve.

Serve with crusty bread or on top of a scoop of rice. Leftovers make an excellent filling in a sandwich with some pickles and a hearty mustard!

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Weekend Project - Grape Edition

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Weekend Project - Grape Edition

This weekend is slightly different from some of my past experiments I have posted about.  This weekend I got a call from a friend and old officemate, Leslie Peterson.  She has a beautiful home in Southeast Portland that was built by her grandparents (Italian immagrants) in the early 1900s.  

They planted a concord grape vine in the back yard which they used to use to make wine every year.  This produces tons of grapes (okay, not tons, but hindreds of pounds, for sure) and Leslie has struggled to figure out what to do with them all - I mean, you can really only eat so many grapes.  When she found out a few years ago I liked to make jams, she offered as many grapes as I could carry away.  The first time, two years ago, this wound up being just over a hudred pounds of grapes that I made, jelly, flavored syrup, and juice with - like a lot (in fact if i look around, i bet i still have a half pint of that jelly still floating around).

Well, Leslie was calling to let me know it was another bumper crop this year and I was welcome to head over this weekend to harvest.  Davy (my daughter) and I went over this morning and were able to get what wound up being 60 pounds of grapes!  And best of all, there is easily another 60 pounds there that arent quite ready.  Most likely I can go back in about 2 weeks and get another big load.

So I've spent the rest of the day progressing these grapes into a grape juice.  Rather than making jelly right now, I want to get this all processed and canned so that when i am ready to begin full production, I can pull these out and do grape jelly in large quantities!  After a long process of straining, then refiltering the juice, I know have 6 gallons of finished juice - I saved out half a gallon for drinink (which I sweetened with honey) and the rest has been stowed away, ready for jelly when I'm good and ready.

 

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Better Know A Farmer

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Better Know A Farmer

I wanted to call out one of the local places I get produce from to make Jammly.  And it only made sense (to me, anyway) to start with the No Zucchini Garden & Share.  This is the CSA our family belongs to and is run by our good friends Liz & Carl Radavich! 

No Zucchini is a small urban farm and orchard based here in Portland, Oregon.  They moved into this home a few years ago, in part because they were so taken with the enormous yard and the many neglected fruit trees and plants.  Liz set about slowly reviving everything in the yard that she could and Carl built a variety of giant planter boxes to add additional space for specific things (the one thing they avoid is, surprise, zucchini, which liz feels shows up way, way too much in many CSAs.

The result now is a wide variety of fruits, veggies, herbs, and flowers that they collect and share through their year round CSA.  Best of all, they also process what they are growing, creating a variety of vinegars, sauces, and yes, jams and jellies too. I check in regularly with Liz for ideas of what's coming up and she's always happy to share ideas.  Both she and Carl also love to try out the variety of thing I'm creating for Jammly and provide lots of feedback on what works and what doesn’t.

I love having fresh stuf from them every week and the surprise of what its going to be from week to week as we move through the year!  If you want to learn more about No Zucchini, please go like them of facebook.  They're readying for winter now and looking towards next spring when they'll be taking on new families interested a share of the goods. 

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Weekend Projects - Labor Day Weekend Edition

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Weekend Projects - Labor Day Weekend Edition

First off a quick update on the kickstarter progress - I am now 48% back and have 25 days to go!  Thanks again for all the support and please continue to tell your friends who might be interested in my project about the campaign.  The short URL to get to the kickstarter page is www.bit.ly/jammly.

Weekend Jammin'

With the Kickstarter in progress, I'm talking to lots of folks about jam ideas, as you can imagine.  All of the conversations have given me some great ideas for jams and I wanted to do some mini experiments!  I was so excited to get started, I couldn't even wait for Saturday and got started Friday night right after work.

Hatch Chile & Lime Marmalade

Hatch Chile & Lime Marmalade

Hatch Chile & Lime Marmalade

First up was a Hatch Chile & Lime Marmalade.  This one came from Tony Morales - friend of mine and backer (Hi Tony!).  He wanted to know if I had done any pepper jams and specifically called out hatches, as its that time of year. Hatches are a thick skinned southwestern chile.  People tell me they range in heat, but anytime I have had them, they are fairly spicy. To play off the southwestern nature of them, i decided to basically make a sort of margarita jam - limes, peppers, and a bit of cilantro. I went with white sugar, but i was thinking if i do them again to try brown sugar for a exatra little bit of flavor.

Banana Butter

Another challenge I was made this week was to come up with something very low sugar and not a traditional jam.  My friend Julie Williams is not really a jam fan, but was interested in the idea of a low or no sugar spread.  So I came up with a Banana Butter.

Banana Butter

Banana Butter

A fruit butter is a slow cooked fruit and sugar combo that comes out in a smooth and opaque consistency.  To make this one, i rehydrated raisins with maple syrup and a little dark rum.  As they were looking nice and plump again, I added chopped bananas, lime juice, and a small amount of brown sugar.  I stirred it completely, coating all the bananas, then used my chefs wand to blend down to a smooth texture.  I let this cook over low, stirring often until it stuck to the spoon.  I'll admit, it looks like baby food, but it is glossier and thicker than that and spreads nicely.  I havent dont it yet, but i'm having this with peanut butter soon!  Given the tropical taste the lime provides, I also may stir in a little coconut cream today to see how this sits with it all.  If I like it, I might remake a whole batch and include the coconut as well and drop the brown sugar altogether.

Saturday morning I decided to go back to my roots a bit and remake some jams I've made int he poast that were big hits. But I still had one final new idea to try out as well!  I had small amounts of each fruit that needed using up, so it made sense to knock these out.

Raspberry & Prosseco Jam

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The first one was a Raspeberry Prosseco jam. Our CSA (which I'll write more about soon) always has a ton of raspberries and I noticed while cleaning out the fridge that we somehow had a bottle of sparkling wine leftover from some party ages ago.  I combined the berries, sugar, lemon and let sit for an hour while i was working on other stuff.  Then I added it and the prosseco to the pot with pectin and brought it to a rolling boil.  I let it cook for quite awhile.  I'll be honest i lost track of time because our friends Liz and Carl (who own the CSA I mentioned) came over and we were chatting, but more important than time was the consistency.  I kept stirring the jam until i felt the resistance againt the spopn as i stirred, then i began lift and pouring it off the sppon looking for it to be a thicker stream, teling me enough liquid had cooked off for the gelling to occur.

That jam came together so fast and with our frinds here, I didnt do as good a job of documenting the steps as I'd have liked - next time.  I have made this jam several times and am always happy with it - It's especially good with golden raspberries.

Green Fig & Absinthe Jam 

Green Fig & Absinthe Jam

Green Fig & Absinthe Jam

Liz and Carl brought me a big container of green figs, which they have a ton of from their orchard. The past two years I've made batches of green fig and absinthe jam with it.  Fig and port (or even sherry) is pretty common, but I've not seen many people use absinthe, but I think the combo of figs with the sweet licorice flavor of the liquor is spot on.  It's not for everyone, I admit, but those who love it, love it a lot.  

Gin & Tonic Jelly  

Gin & Tonic Jelly

Gin & Tonic Jelly

Ok, bear with me.  I know I cook with a lot of booze, but this is a booze free jelly I have planned.  Gin is ultimately just a neutral spirit (like vodka) that is flavored with botanicals like juniper berries, corriander, etc.  To start, I cooked down green grapes with the same botanicals I would flavor gin.  Then, I strained this mixture and add sugar, pectin, and make a jelly - being way more patient than I was with my Apple Jelly so that it came out clear.  I could have stopped there, but I also have a syrup for making tonic water.  I added this as well and let the entire mixture cook down.  It was still quite loose as I jarred it, but happily about 6 hours later I had a very nice yellowish jelly that tastes just like a gin and tonic to me - without a drop of booze.  I'm not going to lie - i was quite pleased with this one!

I love talking to peope about jam!  Find me on social media or contact me here if you have an idea you want to talk about!

Jammly online:

 

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Apple & Rosemary Jelly

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Apple & Rosemary Jelly

Finished Product

Finished Product

This past weekend I was puttering around the house and had some apples to use up.  I decided to do a small batch of my Apple & Rosemary jelly, something I have made several times int he past. This is one of my favorites and after the Kickstarter funds, it will almost assuredly be one of the ones I make in the first rounds.

Like a regular apple jelly i add some cinnamon to give it a touch of an apple pie flavor, but rather than adding vanilla to it, I add loads of fresh rosemary and a splash of bourbon. The result is a very bright and herbally verison of apple jelly.  In addition, it comes out this amazing red color if you are using red apples (i cook peels and all for the extra pectin).

All in all I used about 8-10 apples, lots of rosemary ( i want to say about 8 big sprigs), two lemons worth of juice (and the yellow part of the peel and the seeds - again, free pectin) and wound up with 12 half pints of jelly.  I put a little video together as well talking a little about the process - hope you enjoy!



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Spiced Blueberry and Tomato, Plum, & Pepper Jams

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Spiced Blueberry and Tomato, Plum, & Pepper Jams

This weekend I had two projects to complete.  The first was the last of a batch of jam specifically for a friends wedding.  Erika and Susan are tying the not this week in Portland and I was excited they asked me earlier this summer if i'd make jam they could give to the guests.  I had already made two batched - Strawberry, Rosewater, & Vanilla Bean and a Marionberry & Lemon Marmalade.  This weekend, I made one more batch for them - a Spiced Blueberry.  It was fresh blueberries along with cinnamon, star anise, clove, nutmeg, and some New Deal Distillary Mud Puddle Vodka. For those curious, the vodka cooks out, but does impact the overall flavor of the jam (especially the chocolatey notes). The flavor was a touch murky, so i wound up adidng some orange peel and chopped up valencia oranges to the mix as well to brighten up and sweetened it just a touch.

My second one was using up some CSA products.  Liz & Carl, who provide our CSA (called No Zuchinni) had lots of extra plums for us this week, as well as tomatoes and peppers.  Rather than just doing a plum jam, i thought i'd try a tomato and plum combo.  Since I was already going savory, I added the peppers too.  The result is super interesting.  I wound up adding some brown sugar along with some spices and the result is almost like a fresh tasting sweet BBQ sauce.  I plan to let it sit and age out a bit, but i'm expecting i'll use it to brais or slow cook some meat this winter.

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Stuff Goes Here

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Stuff Goes Here

Hi Folks,

I'm just launching the site.  Look for more to come, for now the plan is to post updates about kickstarter here, along with photos and examples of the jam im making regularly.  If you are interested in something particular (like recipes, etc) please feel free to contact me or leave a comment.  

 

Thanks!

 

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