Toast Post – November Edition

As summer fades to fall, we notice a change in our morning routines: a little more lingering in bed before starting the day, a different choice of tea, and, if you’re us, a new toast + jam combination that’s seasonally appropriate.

It probably comes as no surprise that we LOVE talking deciding how to use our new favorite jam or marmalade — would it be better on sourdough or walnut bread? with or without butter? We want to share with you what Blue Chair Fruit is currently enjoying on these crisp autumn mornings.

Rachel: Early Girl Tomato Marmalade on Della Fattoria Semolina Pullman Loaf with salted Organic Valley butter. Accompanied by Kusmi Tea’s Troika with milk!

Jo: Early Girl Tomato Jam and Brie cheese and Acme’s walnut levain, yum.

Luz: English Marmalade with nutella on Firebrand’s brioche with Cafe de Olla (Mexican spiced coffee — Luz has made it with Blue Bottle’s Ethiopian washed amaro gayo with great success)

Jamie: Damson Jam on any good cinnamon-raisin bread with a little salted butter. With, as always, PG Tips black tea.

Kate: Adriatic Fig & Candied Ginger Jam with Cowgirl Creamery’s Fromage Blanc, on Alvarado Street Bakery’s California Style Complete Protein Bread. Add in even more ginger with Pukka Herbs’s Three Ginger Tea!

Just for fun, here’s a sweet little music video with stop-animation toast — apparently they used 2,430 pieces total! Hopefully at least a few of those pieces were enjoyed…


Last Leaf

OK Go | Myspace Music Videos

Jam and Ice Cream

Guess what? I learned last night that our Red Raspberry-Strawberry Jam really takes chocolate ice cream to the next level.

Two words: “Yum. Yum.” The slight tartness of the raspberries really complement each other!

This message brought to you by Kate’s Late Night Jam Adventures.

Rosemary Cornbread Recipe

After Rachel’s appearance on The Martha Stewart Show yesterday, we’ve been getting quite a few requests for Early Girl Tomato Jam! While we do not have this particular jam currently available, we do have two other delicious tomato preserves that should should make you pretty happy: Gingered Tomato-Nectarine Jam and Spiced Tomato-Bourbon Conserve. They are two of our most popular flavors right now, so if you have your heart set on them, act quickly!

The Martha Stewart Show has also posted Rachel’s recipe for Early Girl Tomato Jam, as well as Rachel’s clip from the show.*** This recipe is included in The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook, and we’re happy to send you a copy!

***ETA 10/9: Looks like Martha’s link has changed and the recipe is temporarily unavailable; you can still find Rachel’s clip from the show here. As soon as we have a new link, we’ll be sure to post it here!

Our fabulous new team member Jo was so inspired by the Spiced Bourbon-Tomato Conserve that she made a delicious savory rosemary cornbread to go with it — and then brought us our own individual jars of vegetarian chili, each complete with its own garnish! While this cornbread is extra special with the Spiced Bourbon-Tomato, we also think it’s yummy with the Tomato-Nectarine. Yum!

Rosemary Cornbread (makes a 9×9 pan)

3/4 cup cornmeal
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon fine chopped fresh rosemary
1 cup milk
1 egg
4 oz. (one stick) butter, melted
1/2 cup corn (frozen is okay)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray or butter ur 9×9 pan.

Mix all dry ingredients (cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, sea salt, and rosemary) until evenly dispersed.  Mix the milk and egg together in a different bowl with a whisk.  Add the milk and egg mixture to the dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon or spatula until almost incorporated.  Add melted butter and corn and mix until incorporated.

Pour into your prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes in the middle of your oven.  Check with a wooden skewer or toothpick, which should come out clean.

Serve with butter and your favorite tomato preserve.  (And if you’re lucky, with your boyfriend’s chili, shared with good friends!)

Beer Empanadas with Fig Jam

A delicious empanada recipe from Luz — made with beer AND fig jam. Luz says:

I remember this was the very first dessert recipe I tried making when I was little!  We have a fig tree outside my parents’ home and I would always want to make fig jam with it.  Plus, there was always beer in the fridge … so, one plus two equals fig-beer empanadas!  No wonder why family friends kept asking my parents if I wanted to make fig empanadas soon… they just wanted the leftover beer.

These empanadas are DELICIOUS, and the perfect use for one of our favorite late-summer jams. Warm, slightly earthy, and delicately sweet, they make an excellent light dessert. Some of us may have eaten them for breakfast this morning. With creme fraiche.

Beer empanadas with fig
3 cups flour, sifted
1/4 cup lard or shortening
3 Tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 – 3/4 cup beer (Luz used Anchor Steam)
1 jar of fig jam (your mileage may vary)
1 egg (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mix flour, sugar, and salt together. Break in the lard with your hands until the mixture resembles small breadcrumbs.

Begin adding about two-thirds of the beer — you might not need all of it. Knead lightly, about a minute, or until all ingredients have come together. You want to finish with a malleable dough.

On a slightly floured table, roll out the dough into about an 1/8-inch thick disk.

With the mouth of a cup or a cookie cutter, cut out disks no smaller than 3 inches. You can reuse and roll any leftover dough.

Place about 1 leveled Tablespoon of fig jam to each disk. You want to be able to close them easily as you over-flap each one, and not have the jam squeeze out as you join the flaps together. (The dough is a bit elastic, so you will see you can also stretch it a bit with both hands as you are joining one flap to the other.)

Press the corners with the end of a fork to seal them and prevent the jam from spreading out.

If you like, brush lightly with a whisked egg. Either way, bake for 12-15 minutes (depending on size) or until golden brown.

Note: These freeze quite well (before baking).

Eat Real Wrap-Up

Phew! It feels like, two days later, we’re just recovering from the Eat Real Festival — but what a great time!

We had so much fun on Saturday and Sunday talking jam with people and sharing our Craft Collaborations.
Saturday brought us a bread, cheese, and jam trio — three different breads, each with a different cheese and jam. The gorgeous bread (pictured below) was from our new friend Mike, and the cheese was from Bohemian Creamery. Cheese flavors were: Capriago, Boho Bel, and Bodacious; jam flavors were Black Mission Fig Jam, Spiced Bourbon-Tomato Conserve, and Strawberry-Pink Peppercorn Jam.
On Sunday, we had the same cheeses, this time baked into delicious savory cookies by our friend Robyn. It was fun to experience  the same flavors in new ways! Each cookie was a little different: a whole wheat cookie, a graham cookie, and an oat cookie. Yet another way to enjoy cheese and jam together!

Thanks again to everyone who came by to say hello over the weekend. We can’t wait until next year’s Eat Real Festival!

Toast Post

Hello jam fiends. Kate here.

Last week, Rachel came to me in a flurry of excitement. She had just read Molly Wizenberg’s most recent blog post on Orangette, wherein Molly describes her new love of toast. “I love toast!” Rachel said. “I totally understand and agree with everything Molly says in her blog. I love toast. We have to blog about toast.”

A few days have passed, and we all talked excitedly about toast: when we like to eat it, what kind of bread we like, what kind of jam or marmalade is best on toast (a heated debate, as you may well imagine). And, well, Rachel’s been a little bit busy making jam out of thousands of berries every day, so I thought I’d hop in and share our conclusions about toast. It may not be quite as elegant an articulation as Molly’s, but I do think it gives a peek into how fanatical we at Blue Chair are about perfect jam pairings.

Rachel’s favorite: Irish brown bread with English Marmalade is right up there. With strong black tea, of course!

Jamie’s favorite: English muffin (from Arizmendi, or Lori’s at the pop-up market), with lots of butter and East Cost Blueberry Jam. Paired with PG Tips black tea (with honey and milk).

Kate’s favorite: Walnut bread, spread with Black Plum Jam with Candied Citrus & Bay. A cup of red chai to drink.

Luz’s favorite: Elderberry-Orange Marmalade, with salted butter, on Firebrand bread.

The great toast debate was so much fun that we’re thinking it will be a monthly feature for Blue Chair Fruit. What jam and toast (and, apparently, tea) pairings are your favorite? What should we try?

The Great Beer Bread Experiment

Turns out it’s International Beer Day tomorrow (August 5). We love any excuse to bake, and thus The Great Beer Bread Experiment was born: bake a loaf of beer bread, and pair it with some of our favorite jams and marmalades.

We used this recipe, and the beer of choice was Scrimshaw. Before we knew it, a fresh-baked loaf of delicious (albeit slightly sweet*) bread was in our little hands.

The candidates for perfect match with beer bread: Red Raspberry-Strawberry Jam, Golden Sweet Apricot Jam, Nightfall Blackberry Jam, Lemon-Pink Grapefruit Marmalade, Seville Orange Marmalade with Vanilla and Muscovado, and English Marmalade. We chose the widest flavor variety possible. We’re very scientific like that.

Our results indicate that marmalade is an excellent match for beer bread. While the Seville Orange Marmalade was a little too intense for this batch of beer bread, we want to try it with bread made with a stronger beer — maybe Guinness. The Lemon-Pink Grapefruit was a little too light for the Scrimshaw. If we make a Stella Artois beer bread, Lemon-Pink Grapefruit will be our choice.

Jam, it turns out, is better suited for a lighter bread that does not taste like beer. However, we did think the Nightfall Blackberry jam was pretty delicious with this bread — it was a close second for the favorite pairing. We’d recommend using Nightfall Blackberry to accentuate a blackberry or other berry ale.

The clear first-place winner was the Seville Orange Marmalade with Vanilla and Muscovado. The strong notes in this marmalade — molasses-y muscovado sugar, rum, and vanilla — held up against the beer flavor, while simultaneously accentuating the different notes in the beer. Some of us may have gone back for a second helping. In order to verify our results.

Happy International Beer Day!

*This recipe recommends a bit too much sugar for our taste.

Oooh… our jams in a pop tart!

Love this blog post from Blame it on the Food; check it out!