Ok, so this was maybe the lowest day for me in terms of canning-addiction…I made 3 kinds of jam today, and it made my month!
First up was Pear Cinnamon Jam. The recipe was from Marissa McClellan’s blog, Food in Jars. The pears my friend Sam acquired from a friend who is involved with an Not far from the Tree, urban fruit picking organization in Toronto. The pears were magical and packed with flavour. When I added the cinnamon I had a whiff of our amazing jam and just about singed my nose-hairs off because the cinnamon was so strong, I almost wept because I had thought I had ruined our amazing pears…little did I know that the cinnamon would mellow over the next 10 minutes to produce a deliciously balanced jam.
Nest up was Apple Ginger Jam. Again this was one of Marissa McClellan’s recipes and the apples were from Not far from the Tree. The interesting part of this recipe is that apples don’t really cook down well into jam, and we had to make “Ginger juice”. The apples we peeled and chopped in the food processor (saved us a TON of time!). The ginger process was strange but very satisfying, washed and cut the ginger into slices, tossed into a blender. Added a cup of water and puréed it all together. Then you pour it all through cheesecloth, squeezing every last drop of moisture through the cheese cloth. The result was a yellow juicy liquid that PACKED a gingery punch.
Project 3 was another batch of Nectarine Lime Jam, this is one from the cookbook Food In Jars that started my whole obsession. Nectarines are just at the end of their season here in Ontario, so I got them both cheap, and at the height of their flavour. This jam is easy peasy as you don’t even have to peel the fruit. It was a lovely night as I enjoyed a glass of wine while cooking…and I had Ken Burn’s History of Prohibition playing in the background . 😛
Chopping the pears.
Blending up the ginger purée.
Nectarines and Limes.
The Lime zest eagerly awaiting it’s turn to join the jam.
Hmmmm, 6 full days of preserving and blog posts…I think this is becoming an addiction…..
Oh well, day 6 was an experiment in 2 very different types of preserves being made at the same time. Jam and Salsa…made with Tomatoes and Peaches…no…not another batch of peach jam…it was Tomato Jam and Peach Salsa!!!!!
Amy’s Tomato Jam from Food in Jars, was made with Fresh Local Ontario Tomatoes (Sadly, my yard can barely grow grass, so the tomatoes came from an Ontario farm rather than my backyard.) The result, a delicious red jam that can replace ketchup or liven up eggs, grilled cheese…or any food really!
Peach Salsa, also from Food in Jars was also made from fresh local Ontario Peaches. They were a bit hard and therefore a nuisance to peel, but it made for a perfectly chunky salsa rather than soft peaches that cooked down into a mushy mess.
The smell of the 2 recipes cooking was enough to fill whole house and I couldn’t get over how amazing they were…the jam and salsa, looked, smelled, and tasted AMAZING!
Local tomatoes ready to become jam!
Tomato Jam all set to simmer for 2 hours…no pectin required for this jam!
Peaches pre-blanching…they were a nightmare to peel but the firmness made for great texture in the salsa.
Red Pepper, Garlic and Jalapeño peppers ready for salsa.
Peach Salsa prior to cooking…all the pretty colours!
Tomato Jam (top), Peach Salsa (bottom)
Ridiculous amounts of jars…we had about 18 pints of jam and salsa combined….very successful day of canning.
It’s here…it is finally peach season!!!! I am on a 2 day mission to “jam” as many peaches as I can get my hands on. With the help of my trusty sidekick Sam, we started the peach party last week…
Day 1: Peach “Marmalade”, and Nectarine-Lime Jam. (Both from Food in Jars by Marisa McClellan.)
OK, so marmalade is in quotes because we lost track of cooking time and *cough* overcooked our jam…no big deal, it ended up being a gooey thick marmalade texture so…we pretended that we intended that outcome and went for the term “marmalade” instead of the more refined “jam”.
After dinner we went on a nectarine binge and made Nectarine-Lime Jam…the tart and juicy flavour of the nectarines is paired with the yummy zip of limes to create a fun, bright delicious jam. (this one was jam-consistency!)
Christmas may seem like it is months and months away, but for those who like to plan ahead and make presents, time is starting to run away from us!!!! *Spoiler Alert* Today’s project was the little teensy adorable 125mL jars of Peach Jam. This recipe tastes like Christmas because of the infusion of cinnamon and nutmeg, but it has a surprising reminiscence of Summer because of the peaches. Delicious on it’s own or on toast, it also pairs well with a soft cheese or buttery pastries!
All set for giving!!!!! We ended up with 27 jars of jam!!!!!! 24 teensy ones (125 mL), 1 regular size (250mL) and 2 big ones (500mL)!!!
Yummy, yummy, local Ontario peaches. They were sooooooo tasty and juicy!
Peaches, peeled and starting to cook down.
Peaches bubbling and stewing into delicious jam!
Almost ready, the peaches are cooking down into a yummy gloopy mess.
So, after a busy week at home to reflect on the International Double Reed Society Conference, I am still speechless…
I went to ridiculously specific seminars like “Octave keys, Flicking, and Clarity of Articulations Demystified” by Arlen Fast, contrabassoonist of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and re-inventor of the Fox contrabassoon key system. Saw a masterclass with William Short, one of the principal bassoonists with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. Went to a seminar that was entitled “Finding your Niche: Identifying and Creating Opportunities” by Lynne Marie Mangan, that explored the various ways one can fill a need in a community while doing what they are most passionate about…the key take away? People who are successful and happy – whether they realized the fact or only did so after prompting – tend to do things that they enjoyed as a child.
The performances were numerous and unbelievably great. The ones that really blew me away were:
A jazz show in an underground club called Subculture that featured Paul Hanson, Mike Rabinowitz and Alexandre Silverio, three amazing jazz bassoonists plus a rhythm section. The show was both incredible and inspiring, afterwards I got to talk to all three of them and it was the bassoon version of meeting celebrities.
Sebastian Stevensson, the winner of the Fernand Gillet-Hugo Fox Bassoon Competition. He performed the Hummel concerto at the final gala concert. His performance was flawless and he makes the bassoon seem like the easiest instrument in the world. He coaxed the most incredibly musical phrases out of the instrument, had an incredible dynamic range and masterfully used articulations that would terrify even the most seasoned professional!
Pascal Gallois performing Sequenza VII by Luciano Berio. The work was written for him in 1995 and embodies all the extended technique and party tricks up the bassoonist’s sleeve. The work is 20 minutes of circular breathing plus glissandi, trills, multiphonics, harmonics and more. The work sounds like exploratory digital processing, but is actually completely acoustic. His stage performance was also entrancing as he stood in the centre of a single spotlight hardly moving at all until the climax of the piece when he used his extreme body movements to change the acoustics of the trill he was playing, then moved right back to where he started the work. For me this was one of the performances I will remember my entire life!
Ok, enough nerdy bassoon talk…here are some pictures from the conference!
Radio City Music Hall…one day I’ll be on stage! 🙂
Jeff Koons sculpture outside Rockefeller Center.
Hey there NYC!
Sisters having fun at the top of Rockefeller Center.
Apparently the 90s aren’t dead…sanitizing a payphone in NYC.
Washington Square Park was the perfect backdrop for IDRS.
Relaxing in Washington Square Park between sessions.
One of the 2 vendor halls at IDRS, “Bassoons and Oboes and Reeds, oh my!”
Trying out a baby bassoon at IDRS.
Bassoon particles used in a lecture on acoustics.
Some of the cool art at Subculture.
More cool art at Subculture.
The “brassy” entrance to Subculture.
A crazy electronics set up including foot rollers for integration of oboe and live electronics.
Alexandre Sivlerio, Mike Rabinowitz and Paul Hanson setting up for their performance.