Community in the Kitchen by Lorri Gast

As the days grow shorter and the weather turns cool, the garden production is beginning to slow down. Today there is a canning workshop scheduled from 9 am – noon and I’m so excited.  I haven’t been able to attend any this year because most are scheduled during the week when I’m working.  The thing about our garden is many of the members are retired and have a more flexible schedule than us working stiffs. Some of our gardeners are at the garden watering and planting garlic, which is great because what garlic we’ve already harvested was wonderful.  Right now, at home I have shallots curing in a cool place and just about ready to use. If you’re curious to know how, http://www.veggiegardeningtips.com/drying-curing-shallots/

Seven of us are missing from the garden today; we’re in Joyce’s kitchen.  She has welcomed anyone interested in canning to her home and Suzanne will teach us how, and together we will can! I arrive late, although I don’t live far, sometimes the back roads of Peralta can be confusing. Everyone is working like a well-oiled machine. Patricia’s in the mud room washing tomatoes – cherries to start for the Tomato Jam.  Suzanne has done her job and has given everyone a task. There is a group measuring spices, and wrapping them in cheesecloth. ImageSomeone else is chopping lemons while another chops jalapenos.

Today we have added another layer to community and have brought the gardeners inside to work together with the season’s harvest.  Everywhere you hear ouus & awws as cell phones come out to make sure we are documenting this beautiful picture of color and radiance — jam paparazzi, who would have thought?  And the smells, yum…

Thank you to Patty Woodard for sharing your photos on Facebook

ImageTomato Jam

Prep time 15 min, cook 1 hr. 10 min – makes 4 cups

2 lemon, end trimmed              

1 med. Jalapeno, preferably red, stemmed, seeded & finely chopped

1 Tbs. cumin seeds, toasted  

3 cinnamon sticks, each about 3” long

20 juniper berries

10 whole cloves

½ tsp. Tellicherry peppercorns

4 cardamom pods, cracked

5 allspice berries

2 lb. cherry tomatoes, stemmed       

2 cups sugar      

2 Tbs. unsalted butter    

1 cup Champagne vinegar        

3 Tbs. fresh lime juice

1 Tbs. molasses    

1 piece fresh ginger, about 3″ long, peeled and cut into ¼” slices    

1 tsp. kosher salt    

Olive oil as needed

Crostini for serving & Goat Cheese

1. Cut lemons in half lengthwise. Using good processor or sharp knife, cut lemons crosswise into very thing half-moons. Place spices cumin through allspice) in piece of cheesecloth; tie to make a sachet. Set aside.

2. In large saucepan over medium-high heat, bring tomatoes, sugar and butter to a boil. Cook, stirring constantly with spatula and scraping sides and bottom of pan to prevent sugar from burning, 6 – 8 minutes; tomatoes will split and release juices.  Add lemon slices and jalapeno; boil 3 minutes more.

3. Stir in vinegar, lime juice, molasses and ginger. Add spice sachet; return mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened,  10 – 20 minutes more.  Cool to room temperature. Discard spice sachet. Transfer jam to jar; top with 1/3″ layer of olive oil. Cover with lid. Refrigerate up to 1 month. to serve, spread crostini with goat cheese; top with tomato jam.

 

-Adapted from Mourad: New Morroccan,

by Mourad lahlou (Artisan, 2011)

 

 

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One thought on “Community in the Kitchen by Lorri Gast

  1. Great article, Lorri. I wish we could get this going with more people but when I try to add a comment I have to keep signing up. Is that the way it works? jjh

    On Monday, October 14, 2013, valenciacommunitygardensblog wrote: > valenciacommunitygarden posted: “As the days grow shorter and the weather turns cool, the garden production is beginning to slow down. Today there is a canning workshop scheduled from 9 am noon and Im so excited. I havent been able to attend any this year because most are scheduled ” >

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