Archives for posts with tag: hot tomato jam

my dad was a great cook. i have a lot of memories of him in the kitchen whistling while listening to music (emmylou harris, bob dylan, lucinda williams, et al.) while concocting whatever dish was to be placed in front of us. even though hot tomato jam wasn’t a meal, it is a component of one of my favorite food memories to date. this is definitely the family recipe i would like to see passed down, and along to as many other families as possible.

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at one point he created a recipe book of favorites, and of course in danny dries fashion gifted us them for christmas one year. the first recipe listed under ‘appetizers & oddments’ was danny’s hot tomato jam. he was a writer, as well as an artist, but he did not mince words while creating a recipe, so the instructions were left up to your own interpretation. thankfully my sister kate did some R+D on this one with some edits prior to my attempt at making my first jam. i must say her choices were pretty spot on and (gasp!) might have even improved upon pops version.

let’s hope mine fairs well…

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yield: 6 cups

ingredients:

  • 6 lbs tomatoes
  • 12 cups of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of white vinegar
  • 1-2 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1-2 lemons, juiced, rind slivered thinly
  • 2 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1 stick of cinnamon

directions:

bring a large pot of water to a boil, tall and wide enough for the amount of jars you will need. have an ice bath ready in a large bowl to cool the tomatoes in once blanched. cut Xs in the bottom of the tomatoes, and a circle around the stem hole.

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put tomatoes into the boiling water for 30-60 seconds. remove and place into the ice bath to stop them from cooking. peel the tomato skins off, and remove the stem tops. crush them with your hands into a large pot. cover with the sugar, add the pepper flakes, cinnamon, lemon, vinegar, and grated ginger. mix well.

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let stand in the fridge for 8-10 hrs, or overnight.

stir well and separate the juice from the pulp through at strainer.

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bring the juice to a boil, reduce to a decent simmer until it thickens and cooks down by about half, for about an hour. (NOTE: kate let hers reduce by half, but i only reduced by maybe 1/4, so i might have been at too slow of a simmer? she ended up only yielding 6 cups, and i ended up with 12 cups, and after opening a jar, mine was so thick it was almost un-spreadable…like an adhesive you could bond metal objects for years.)

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add the pulp, and simmer until the jam begins to pearl and thicken. continue to stir frequently to make sure it doesn’t burn. this can take 2-3 hours, but don’t overcook. (NOTE: i think this is where i went wrong. since i didn’t initially reduce down the juice, it may have taken longer to reduce the pulp and whatever happens when sugar cooks too long happened and became cement.)

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while cooking prepare the jars and lids. (kate used the technique in the serious eats jam recipe and slightly edited here):

place jars (on a rack, if you have one. if not, mine were fine without) in a large pot. cover the jars with water, and bring to a boil over high heat. let boil for 10 minutes, and then turn off the heat. let the jars rest in the hot water. meanwhile, put the bands and tops in a saucepan and cover with water. bring to a simmer, and remove the pan from the heat until ready to use.

once the jam is ready, ladle the hot jam into the sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch space at the top. warning: this can be messy, and hot, so use caution. wipe the rims and jars clean with clean paper towels or dishrags. cover with lids and screw on bands until just barely tight. (you will fully tighten them later.)

place jars back in the pot covered in water. cover pot, and bring to a boil over high heat for 15 minutes. turn off heat, uncover pot, and allow jars to rest undisturbed on cooling racks for at least 6 hrs or overnight. when they have cooled completely, seal them tight.

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my dad died in 2010. shortly there after, i came to his loft in nyc after a cross country flight, little sleep, and very hungry. my sister kate was there. she made me a grilled cheese sandwich in his toaster oven, and spread his hot tomato jam on it. it was the best tasting thing i could imagine…still is.

i know it’s only day 10, out of i don’t know how many, but i haven’t killed him…yet. yay for me!

i had to clip one flower off the first week, and was worried the rain we got a few days ago would drown him, but he’s doing really well. actually, i think he may have grown an inch since taking this photo yesterday. seriously.

he looks healthy and green and strong. i’m going to bed in hopes to dream of blts, gazpacho, and hot tomato jam.

is this what it’s like to have a child? probably not in the least huh?

my sister kate made me one of the best grilled cheese sandwiches i have ever had, and i’ve been trying to repeat it since. i have reason to believe it didn’t really have anything to do with her sandwich making skills, though they do run in our family, but more because of our dad’s toaster oven. it also helped that she used good bread, and extra sharp cheddar cheese. i found some of my dad’s hot tomato jam in the refrigerator and slathered some of that on it as well. for today’s meatless monday lunch, this was my attempt to recreate it:

good rustic sourdough bread from two bits market

sliced.

slice sharp cheddar and gruyère thin.

brush or spray a little olive oil on the outside of the bread, and layer with cheese on the inside.

carefully place on a rack in a 350º oven for 5 minutes. turn over for another 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

remove from the oven. open up the sandwich, and spread some tomato jam on the inside.

i like to have a little extra to dip it in too.

it was close, but still not as good at the one kate made me. damn it.

danny’s hot tomato jam:

  • x pounds of tomatoes and equal amount of sugar (out of season this may be made with large cans of plain whole tomatoes)
  • crushed red pepper flakes (to degree of hot)
  • 1-2 lemon juice and rind slivered
  • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1 stick of cinnamon

scald the skin the tomatoes in a large heavy pan. cut tomatoes into small pieces and crush fine. cover with the sugar, stir. add 1 tsp pepper flakes (or more to taste). add cinnamon stick, zest and juice of lemon, grated ginger to taste. let stand in the fridge overnight 8-10 hours. Drain juice from pulp and cook down. add pulp and cook down until jam begins to pearl and thicken. while cooking prepare jars and lids by boiling them for 10 minutes. let jars cool. if you use paraffin, fill jars to within 1/4″ with hot jam and let cool a bit. then cover with paraffin and seal with lids. or, fill jars close to full, cover with lids and tighten slightly. when jars have cooled seal them tight.

(wf+t notes: i found a whole clove in the jar i just opened, so they may have been mistakenly omitted from his recipe. personally, i wouldn’t mind a little more heat, but because he doesn’t state the amount of tomatoes he used for the 1 tsp of red pepper flakes, that will have to be experimented with. also, even though i would have liked to talk to him about his recipe while he was still alive, because there are a few things left unclear, they will have to be left up for interpretation, which is how he liked to cook anyway, so it seems fitting.)

thanks pops! miss you + love you.

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