Archives for posts with tag: tomato

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 realize i haven’t posted in quite some time. honestly, i have been working and busy, which is good, but leaves little time to blog. well, last week i was working on a tv show and talking with one of my co-workers about my love of tomatoes, and how i’d love to eventually jar them for the off season. much to my surprise, the next time i worked with him he brought me a tomato plant.

this is very exciting! i planted him today, and placed him in my parking spot on the roof of my garage where i live in downtown los angeles.

i will continue to post on his progress, and hopefully down the line be able to post my first recipe with tomatoes from the plant. i am thinking about names for the plant, and open to suggestions. tom seems too obvious. dave jr. has a ring to it, since it was a dave that gave me the plant. mostly just hoping i don’t kill him.

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