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.
Blue Chair’s Jamie has taken her obsession with English Marmalade even further…
Oh, Hello Summer/Coffee-Can Vanilla Ice Cream with a Marmalade Swirl
There was one thing that got me through my first Bay Area winter: Blue Chair’s English Marmalade. Each morning the intensity of this preserve’s Seville oranges, bourbon, and brown sugar, along with a cup of tea, shook the cold right out of my bones. Today, summer showed up and I’m too hot for toast and tea! Consequently I am pioneering a new way to get my daily marmalade fix (yes, I am addicted): ice cream.
My inspiration comes from ReadyMade Magazine: last summer they wrote an article on making vanilla ice cream in a coffee can. The process and recipe are so simple that they lend themselves to creative adaptation. To satisfy my craving, I am leaving out the lemongrass and adding 2-3 tablespoons of Seville Orange Marmalade with Vanilla & Muscovado*. In twenty minutes I can turn five ingredients into Vanilla ice cream with a marmalade swirl. I imagine myself doting on the contrast between the bitter orange rinds and sweet vanilla cream daily.
When summer ends I will continue the ritual of marmalade — on toast — starting my day. As I suspect the glory of this ice cream won’t tire by winter, it looks like marmalade will be ending my day as well.
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!
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.
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.
We frequently have farmers’ market customers ask us what to do with marmalade, beyond spreading it on toast and eating it with a spoon. Here’s an application we love, that’s a little off the beaten path but still pretty easy: use your favorite marmalade to glaze a simple cake!
The cake recipe here is simple enough — its light, sweet flavor is the perfect base for any Blue Chair Fruit marmalade. We glazed this cake with our Lemon Marmalade with Lavender and Cardamom, and we think the subtle lavender notes, along with the slightly tart bitter lemon taste, really make this simple cake sing. You can strain out the citrus rinds (they make a lovely snack while you wait for the glaze to set), but we love the extra surprise kick they give.