It’s that time of year again…I feel like I say this a lot. But, I guess “there is a season, turn turn turn” holds pretty true, and summer seems to be a time chock full of purposes. First there’s the plethora of fresh fruit and veg at their ultimate sweetness and perfection that demands to be eaten immediately, then theres the grilling, then there’s dusting off the ice cream machine, and then, finally, there’s the canning. I inexplicably love canning. Jars clutter the top shelf of my fridge from last year, and yet, like some crazy lady from Hoarders, here I go again adding to the pile. Even worse, I’ve since picked up pickling, so there’s double the amount of jars fighting for space. My new strategy is to gift these little jars to all of my favorite people: friends, bartenders, baristas, kindly strangers. Anyone who wouldn’t be creeped out by my offering of post-summertime cheer. Hoping you get bitten by the produce loving bug too, here are the recipes I’ve been messing around with recently: Burnt Apricot, Yellow Peach and Orange Peel Jam; A Glazed Pork Chop With Sautéed Leeks; Savory Pickles; and Homemade Ketchup. These bright flavors are wonderful in unexpected ways. Enjoy!
BURNT APRICOT, YELLOW PEACH + ORANGE PEEL PRESERVES
1 pound apricots
1 pound yellow peaches
1 large orange, peeled
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 lemons, juiced
Slice the apricots and peel and slice the peaches (to make this easier, I boil the peaches for a minute or two and the skin peels right off); cover with the sugar and lemon and let them sit for an hour or two, or overnight if you can.
Meanwhile, sanitize clean, dry jars by placing them on a sheet tray in the oven set to 250F for at least an hour. Sanitize the heat-seal caps by boiling them in water for at least 12 minutes, and use immediately afterwards.
In a large pan over medium heat, pour out the juices from the apricots and peaches, add the orange peels, and heat until it forms a syrup. Add the rest of the fruit and continue cooking for about 30 minutes. The “burnt” thing turned out to be a happy accident where I didn’t stir often enough and burnt the bottom of the jam. Luckily, it tasted awesome, so I went with it. Allow the jam to toast a little on the bottom once, and then keep stirring diligently. Once the mixture clings to the back of a spoon and takes a second or two to ooze together after you stir through it, the mixture is ready to jam. You don’t want to overcook it, so remember, it should like melted…jam.
Pour it into the jars which have come right from the oven (be sure to use potholders!), seal tight, and turn upside down. Once the jar as come to room temperature, store the jars in the fridge.
APRICOT GLAZED PORK CHOP WITH SAUTÉED LEEKS
4 (3/4-inch-thick) center-cut pork chops (about 2 pounds total)
salt and pepper to seasons
2 tablespoons olive oil
2/3 cup apricot jam (mentioned above)
1 large leek, cleaned and chopped into 1/4 inch slices
Pat pork dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then cook pork (in 2 batches if necessary) along with leeks, turning pork over once and stirring leeks occasionally, until pork is browned, about 5 minutes total.
Transfer pork with tongs to a plate and add the jam and a pinch of salt and pepper to the skillet with the leeks. Cook, stirring for about 1 minute.
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 star anise
1 teaspoon black pepper corns
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 cup rice vinegar
1 cup water
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 pound vegetables
in this case, thinly sliced fennel
Combine the hot water, vinegar and salt and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Meanwhile, sanitize clean, dry jars by placing them on a sheet tray in the oven set to 250F for at least an hour. Sanitize the heat-seal caps by boiling them in water for at least 12 minutes, and use immediately afterwards. Add the spices to the hot mixture.
Fill the jars with vegetables (don’t pack them in too much, give them a little room to float around) and pour the mixture over it. Divide up the spices evenly among the jars. Let them come to room temperature and then pop in the fridge. These pickles are best in the first week or two.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound red peppers, roughly chopped
1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 pounds tomatoes, cut in half or canned
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1/4 cup water
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon allspice, ground
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 tablespoon peppercorns, ground
1 tablespoon cumin, ground
1 tablespoon coriander, ground
1 teaspoon smoked paprika, ground
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, ground
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons salt
lemon juice to taste
In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat up the olive oil and add the peppers and onions, sautéing until sweating (about 5 minutes). Add the tomatoes, onions, ginger, water, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then return to a simmer for 20 mins, partially covered, until tomatoes are very soft. Toast the spices in a little pan over a low flame and add to the tomato mixture. Cook for 5 minutes to incorporate the flavors.
Puree contents of pot until uniform (an immersion blender makes this super easy). Return to pot and add the vinegar and brown sugar over medium low heat. Reduce for about 20 minutes and then add the salt and lemon juice to taste. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate when done. As is it will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.