I had every intention of moving some flowers in one of my 8 raised flower beds and start a vegetable garden. My vision was about enjoying some major production from my tomato plants, summer squash, cukes, etc. in August………….ok, stop – reality check – the garden never came to fruition and I will not be harvesting any vegetables from my garden of good intentions. Instead I will be doing what many of you do and hit the local farmers markets or my local Plumb’s Market to get my vegetables. This is ok because I really enjoy listening to the venders and it’s a time to catch up with long lost friends. It’s been fun for me at the markets this year because many of them know what I’m doing now and ask me what creations I’m working on. Some even copy my recipes and put them up to show people what can be done with locally grown fruits and vegetables. I found people were amazed there were a great deal more things you can do with summer squash other than frying it or making numerous loaves of bread! Another thing I have noticed over the past couple of years is the amount of people who are getting back into canning (like jams and salsa). I remember my mom canned a great deal when I was a child, everything from fruits to meats (this is another area where I didn’t pay a great deal of attention when she wanted me to learn).
One day on a whim I decided to give canning a try and I knew exactly what I was going to try and create. I went out and found 7 pounds of tomatoes and headed to the “test kitchen”. Eventually my mom stopped laughing hysterically when I told her what I was doing and she gave me some good pointers about tomatoes. It only took 3 attempts for me to develop the recipe that I’m going to share with you this month. I have to say when you make this Tomato Jam and try it on your bacon, lettuce sandwich your tastebuds will be doing the happy dance (my taste testers liked this so much they were eating it off the spoons)!
So the next time someone at work or a friend offers you some vegetables from their garden don’t cringe, just head to lowfatdiva.wordpress.com to find some interesting new recipes and ideas for vegetables!
Spicy Tomato Jam
1 ½ pounds of Roma tomatoes, cored and chopped coarsely (you can use other tomatoes for this recipe but be sure to peel them first and you will find the consistency will also be a bit different)
2 T. fresh lemon juice
2 T. brandy (optional)
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ tsp. ground cumin
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
¼ tsp red chile flakes (more if you want is zestier)
1 tsp. salt
Combine all ingredients in a medium sized heavy bottom pot. Cook over medium high heat until bubbling. Reduce heat to low and gently simmer, stirring occasionally until mixture is thick and syrupy (this will take quite some time, at least 1 hour). Cool the jam, season with more salt & pepper or chile flakes if necessary. Store in frig or you may opt to can to keep it longer.
NOTE: Here is a tip for you on making the most delectable sandwich you have ever tasted. In ½ cup lowfat mayo add 1 tsp fresh lemon juice. Toast 2 slices of ciabatta bread, spread each half with lemon mayo, top with tomato jam, place 3 slices of turkey bacon and a some field greens on one half. Place other piece of bread on top. Take a bite and enjoy pure blistfulness!!!!!