Thursday, July 1, 2010

In My Picnic Basket - Tomato Jam for I Heart Cooking Clubs

When I think of picnics, obviously I think of the basket with the checkerboard blanket and the deli sandwiches and fruit. What I also think of is summer produce like jams and jellies to spread on biscuits and crusty bread. When I came across this recipe, it was a magnetic force that I couldn’t resist. I believe this recipe may have originated from Bittman’s Minimalist column, as I wasn’t able to find a reference to it anywhere else.

This is my submission for the I Heart Cooking Clubs theme this week - Picnic Basket!

Tomato Jam
Recipe courtesy of Mark Bittman

1 ½ lb good ripe tomatoes (roma are best), cored and coarsely chopped
1 cup sugar
2 TB freshly squeezed lime juice
1 TB freshly grated ginger
1 tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp salt
1 jalapeƱo, stemmed seeded and minced

1. Combine all ingredients in a heavy medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often.
2. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture has the consistency of thick jam, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
3. Taste and adjust seasoning, then cool and refrigerate until ready to use; this will keep at least a week.

Yield about 1 pint.NOTES: This took WAY longer than the recommended 1 hour and 15 minutes to simmer down for me. I actually let it go nearly 2 and a half hours....the first night. We were going to bed, so I poured it into a container and left it in the fridge. When I got home from work the next day, I put it back on the stove and continued to simmer it another hour or so until it came to the right consistency. Not sure if it was user error or a mistake in the recipe, but it did take awhile. That being said, I’m really glad I didn’t give up on it. This is one of those foods that when you first take a bite, it gives you that feeling that you’ve tasted it somewhere before, but it’s a very strange taste combination that you can’t quite place. Then you take another bite...and it grows on you. And another bite...and you’re in love. It’s a very unusual flavor that you will either love or hate. I, personally, will be making it again, but with more heat. I used two jalapeƱos, compared to Bittman’s one, but I think I would almost double that or add some red pepper to amp up the heat a bit. I think this would be absolutely fabulous on a juicy burger or pureed a bit more and used as a dipping sauce.

REMINDER!!! There is only one week left to enter my giveaway! If you look closely (okay, not that closely.... there is a hint in this post as to what the prize will be!)


girlichef said...

This looks unusual and delicious all at the same time! I be it'd be awesome on a burger, especially w/ extra heat added in! I'm glad you made this so I could see what it looked like and get your opinion...I'm totally gonna try it!

...and my guess is still canning supplies ;)

David said...

Hmmm ... it's like a cross between Bruschetta and salsa. It will be a tasty addition to my condiment repertoire. Kudos to Mr. Mark Bittman.

Thanks Beth!

Krista said...

This made for a really pretty jam.

I think that it sounds delicious! With the added jalapeno it might be a little like the sweet pepper jelly that I adore on crackers.

I'm thinking canning supplies for the giveaway too! If I'm right, do I get bonus points? They'd be right up my alley. I'm even heading home for a week at the end of the month for a canning and freezing marathon!

Debinhawaii said...

Mmm...a perfect choice for the picnic basket! I can think of some many things in would be good on or in.