Results tagged confiture from David Lebovitz

Black Currant Jam

blackcurrant jam recipe

Someone recently asked me why I do what I do. More specifically, what compelled me. They were particularly focused on how I was likely most concerned with the finished product, asking me if that was my goal when I cooked and baked. I thought about it for a bit, and realized that the goal has very little to do with it; I like picking through lugs of fruits and berries with my hands, melting chocolate and butter until the mixture is smooth, the smell of folding toasted nuts into a cake batter, and lifting a batch of just-churned ice cream out of the machine and alternating the layers with ribbons of glossy chocolate swirl.

black currant jam

I do, however, have a rather particular thing for scoping out fruit and berries whenever I find them growing and using them to their best advantage. Most of the time, they end up in jams and jellies, especially since I recently returned to the trees which I found overloaded with wild plums a few years ago (which the owners had hacked down to their nubs the following year), which were now gloriously heavy with multicolored fruits of unbelievable goodness. And I spent a good afternoon plucking out the pits and making jam, and a nice tart out of them. Fait accompli!

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Red Currant Jam

made in francered currant jam recipe
red currants in potfrench country

I’ve been feeling a little removed for just about everything lately. Mired in administrative stuff, I’ve been swamped with paperwork and technical issues – neither of which are really my thing – and haven’t been able to spend all that much time cooking or baking, except for regular meals. (And, er, copious snacking in between.) I’ve really missed sticking my hands in doughs and batters and was happy when I took a break from technology and the staggering amount of paperwork that seems to arrive faster than I can process it, and headed out to the countryside.

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Scratchy-Backside Jam

confiture de grattes culs

I’ve sometimes been surprised by how cavalier bodily functions are discussed in France. I consider myself a pretty open person, but sometimes things get discussed that make me a little uncomfortable. And I’ve learned that being undressed in front of others is no big deal. I’ve always been fine with public nudity—well…as long as it wasn’t me—but I’ve had to modify that stance a little since I moved here.

Last week I went back to my sock store and they had a man come and measure my legs. (That may be because my last visit probably sent the elderly salesclerk into her early retirement.) I stripped down to my euro-briefs and he ran that tape measure up and down my legs and around my calves, at one point using his thumb to firmly hold the end of the tape measure down on the end of, um…somewhere relatively private…that would not have made me all that uncomfortable except he did it with all the care of someone trying with great purpose to jam a thumbtack into a concrete wall.

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Apple Jelly

apple jelly

I wasn’t really planning on posting about this. But last weekend, when about four crisis were swirling around me, threatening to make my head implode, I did something rash: I took an unplanned trip out of town.

Yes, I know. What a concept. I didn’t freak out for weeks searching train or plane tickets, or researching hotels or restaurants. I just called up Romain, we got in the car, and split. We made it about an hour outside of town and then settled in for the weekend, warming up the house with a raging fire and stocking the refrigerator with my new love, Vinho Verde, a light Portuguese wine that invites leisurely weekend drinking.

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Apricot Jam

apricots.jpg

A lot of out-of-towners who visit France are always surprised to wake up in the morning and find themselves with a few pieces of baguette or a single croissant for breakfast. Those are in contrast to our breakfasts, which can be groaning-board sized, featuring some—or in more extreme cases, all of the following: eggs, sausages, pancakes, bacon, oatmeal, cereal, toast, orange juice, and waffles.

cafe au lait

Tartines are the popular breakfast in France, a word which comes from the verb tartiner—”to spread”. So along with the basket of bread offered, there’ll be lots of butter (which is one of the few times you’ll see most French people spreading that on their bread) and generally some sort of confiture in a pot alongside.

jam

Instead of deciding between fluffy cheese-and-spinach stuffed omelettes with a side of smoked bacon strips, a New York bagel piled with cream cheese, lox, capers, and thinly-sliced red onions, char-broiled steak with three fried eggs and golden hash browns, a big stack of hot bluberry flapjacks flowing with maple syrup and dripping with melted butter, spicy huevos rancheros, or a mound of crisp-fried corned beef hash (hmmm…can someone remind me why I threw away that return ticket?) the choice in the morning here boils down to which flavor of jam to offer.

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Rhubarb-Strawberry Jam Recipe

strawberries

Do you know what media training is? If you don’t, it’s when they teach people to behave on television and radio. They work with politicians, business executives, and, of course, in this day and age, they work with a lot people (and I mean, a lot…) that are involved in corporate and celebrity crisis control. But there’s a special group of media trainers that teach you how to cook on television, which is trickier than just sitting there getting grilled by Stephen Colbert, I’m sure of that.

Cooking on tv is much harder, because instead of just sitting there having a casual chat, you need to be fielding all sorts of goofy questions at the same time as measuring out and explaining fourteen different ingredients to the weatherman, wondering where that damn spatula is and how you’re going to fold egg whites without one, cursing yourself because you forgot to turn off your cell which is vibrating like mad in your back pocket, trying to get the name of the book you’re supposed to be promoting into the conversation when the seriously-skinny host only wants to talk about her diet, and watching out of the corner of your eye because the camera crew is impatiently waiting for you to finish so they can pounce on your brownies.

About ten years ago I had media training, a one-on-one weekend where it was just me and the media trainer—who basically yelled at me for 48 hours, non-stop.

In fact, I think he blew out my left eardrum.

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Easy Jam Tart

eating jam tart

I’ve had a lone jar of quince marmalade sitting in the back of my refrigerator for about a year now, and thought it was about time I humanely dealt with it.

Personally, I love quince.

I like them poached, stewed, roasted and make into jam. But judging from the still-to-the-brim jar that’s been relegated to the back corner of my fridge, it’s not as popular with others as it is with me. So I decided to kill two birds with one great recipe.

jam in tart

I’d flagged a lovely tart that Luisa at Wednesday Chef made a while back which featured—get this, a no-roll crust! I’m not a fan of cleaning up my counter (or my refrigerator, for that matter) especially when my housecleaner is on her annual eleven-week vacation. So the idea of a crust you just press into a tart mold, fill with jam, and top with the remaining bits, appealed to be more than you can imagine. It doesn’t take much to please me, does it?

dough in pan

Never content to rest on my laurels—or in this case, someone else’s, I tweaked the original recipe, swapping out some of the flour and mixing in stone-ground cornmeal, because frankly, anytime I can add cornmeal to something, I will.

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Christine Ferber Jam

her jam

Many times I’ve been with friends and family in Paris and we’ll go into a food shop. Now I’m not picking on anyone in particular, so if you think I’m talking about you, I’m not. Think of this as a composite of lots and lots of people.

And I’m sure I’m guilty too, so I’ll toss myself in that mix.

I’ll show people something, say…the display of jams made by Alsatian Christine Ferber. She makes lots of different flavors from all sorts of fruits and they’re supposed to be wonderful; the best in the world some say.

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