Archive for category Random Eats & Sweets
We come to the table with all our senses A great dish offers subtle variations and contrasts in taste, aroma and appearance. A dab of bright color on the side of a plate, or mixed in with more subdued ingredients, provides a focal point, much like a radiant flower in the garden suddenly catches the eye.
Jam and preserves have special attributes that make them stand apart from other, more elaborately prepared foods. This is why they make an especially striking addition to a dish and to the table.
Their color, enhanced by the glass that contains them, immediately awaken the senses. Like Pavlov’s dog, we instantly react, the body expecting the pleasure of sweetness and the vigor of nourishment it knows comes from the soil and the sun. Adding jam or preserves to a meal is like adding the sun’s own signature. It reaffirms nature’s bounty. And it’s not just for breakfast.
Add your favorite sweet jam or preserve to your next BLT. You may very well find the combination of sweet fruit and scrumptious bacon quite irresistible. Here is an idea if you happen to have children who would rather leave out the B and L. Make a BLT bar with a choice of jams. They get to assemble their own BLT. Only rule: No veggies, no jam.
Quick & Nutty Spread
This is a fun variation on peanut butter and jelly. Mix some chopped nuts into your favorite jam and spread on toast or flat bread.
Grilled Cheese Delight
Jam is great on its own or on toast, but it is even better when used in contrast with other foods and textures. Try it in a grilled cheese sandwich. You can also make attractive, layered canapés for an appetizer simply by cutting several grilled cheese sandwiches in four. Add a bit of jam in each bite after cutting.
Imagine a crisp, oven baked, slightly salty chip, dipped in sweet and colorful jam or preserve. Make a dish with jam in the center, surrounded by a ring of creamy plain yogurt dip. Add a third ring, made of an assortment of baked chips and corn chips. Mix and match.
Oatmeal with a Smile
Instead of adding sugar to oatmeal, add your favorite, colorful, homemade jam or preserve. Three dabs for eyes and a nose and a long, curved strip for a smile. This is a great way to add fruit to your breakfast on the fly.
Seven-time paralympic champion Sarah Storey (cycling) knows about providing her body with good fuel on the fly. “I can be in the saddle for six hours so what I eat is crucial,” she observes, in a recent interview with The Guardian. “I eat protein every three hours and have jam sandwiches passed out from the support vehicle.”
A final thought. Restaurant wait staff say that the most frequent response they get from breakfast guests to the question, “Do you need anything else?” is “Jam.” The second most frequent answer is, “ketchup.” Color. We want color. There is a good reason for this. Our brain recognizes nutrient sources by their color. Colorful fruit is where we typically acquire energy. Our love of jam, it turns out, is pure instinct.
How can anyone resist a recipe that goes straight to the point and lets your taste buds savor the dish at the mere mention of its ingredients? I do not think it is possible. And did I mention the ginger?
Imagine… Sweet, slightly spicy – just enough to awaken the senses – vibrantly colorful, aromatic, poured over broiled or backed chicken just before serving. A note: I have a hunch you might have to consider making extra, because you will want seconds. But, we do have to make it first, don’t we?
2 tbsp oil
5 cloves garlic, peeled
1 1/2 cup tomato purée (we make ours with a Squeezo, of course)
Salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup bitter orange marmalade (see footnote)
2 tsp fresh ginger root, chopped
Heat the oil in a heavy skillet and sauté garlic cloves for 10 minutes, until golden. Make sure you do not burn them. Stir in tomato purée, salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add marmalade and ginger. Cook for 20 minutes or until thick.
Remove garlic cloves before serving. While it may seem like an unusually large amount of garlic is used in this recipe, because they are not chopped, they will provide a mild and pleasant undertone, not overpowering.
Pour over broiled or baked chicken, as suggested above, perhaps on a bed of rice pilaf or pasta. I like mine with steamed broccoli or spinach on the side for an added touch of color, flavor and nutrition.
Footnote: Bitter orange marmalade is made from Seville oranges and will be labeled as such. If you cannot find it, use regular marmalade and add the juice of 1/2 a lemon.