22 September 2008

Of Tomatoes and Deadlines

Last week was a veritable dark carnival of folly, a frenzied Mardi Gras dance performed to the thundering beat of a deadline.
Everything else suffered as a result. The icing on this particular cake was dropping my bank card at the farmers' market on Thursday. Fortunately some honest soul picked it up and called the bank to report it as lost, so no harm was done, but being without the card until the bank sends me a new one is inconvenient.
The one thing I managed to accomplish successfully (other than the Deadline Samba) was a small batch of tomato jam, following the tomato preserves recipe that appeared in the NYT magazine section a few weeks back.

Tomato Preserves

Lacking many small pear-shaped tomatoes, I chopped a few large ones up coarsely, but otherwise followed the recipe. I did opt to leave the lemon in the finished product (I sliced the lemon very thin for that reason) and I did pull the tomato chunks out once they were done so I could boil the syrup up to jelly stage on the candy thermometer. Then I packed the tomatoes into jars and ladled the syrup over. I used about 1.5 pounds of tomatoes (weighed after peeling, seeding, and chopping) and got 3 8-oz. jars of jam, with a bit of syrup left over.

The finished product is ineffable. It struts along that fine line between the sweet and the savoury; it is warm, tangy, and vegetal all at once. It is tomato, sublimated.

It might be good with ham. You could use it in place of the pepper jelly in the Official Emergency Nibblies of Southern women (pepper jelly spooned over a block of cream cheese, served with Triscuits). It would mix well with mozzerella. Or you could take the sweet route and try the ice cream recipe that the Times presented with it.

When I do this again I might try adding just the tiniest bit of finely sliced hot red pepper.

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