Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Simple Jam, Not So Simple Thoughts
Several people have asked me about the breakfast dish I prepared during my tv interview on Us Girls (yes, not-so-little old me on tv!). I realize now, in retrospect, that I didn’t really go into full gory detail about the interview, just to say when it was coming out and where. I didn’t think much of that then, but looking back, I suspect I must have been a little shy. It’s one thing to share your photos and thoughts to the whole world on a blog, or even have a photo of your face in a magazine, it’s quite another to have yourself moving and speaking in full Technicolor-vision on a tv screen!
When I got the email requesting for the interview I almost said no – tv? Me? Not likely. But I had been thinking about the premise behind this book lately. Do I say no too often? I don’t think so. In fact, I’d like to think I’m up for anything, and I usually am! But what if that anything just happens to be a something way outside my comfort zone? Will I still grab it with two hands and fly by the seat of my pants as I claim I like to do?
So I found myself with those deep thoughts, looking at an email a lot of people would not have even blinked twice at (whether to say yes or no). And I decided to stop thinking and start doing.
And then I got really nervous and went out and bought a new dress.
See how good stuff happened almost immediately?
Then the shoot came and I had a ball! The staff of Us Girls were professional and thoughtful. The host was just this side of enchanting, and immediately put me at ease. We were shooting for an episode of the show called virtual life which featured people who, in one way or the other, were connected to the tech/cyber world. I also got to touch base with another blogger friend who I hadn’t seen in a long while (who was interviewed before me). During the segment, we talked about my blog, what it’s all about, how I started blogging and what I like about it (a lot!), and I prepared one breakfast dish. They asked for something easy to put together so I chose this yogurt parfait. It makes for a delicious, healthy breakfast that lends itself to many variations (you can use the fruits and preserves you have on hand) and a cinch to whip up...plus it looks nice.
So to those of you who were asking, you can find the method for the yogurt parfait here. Some were also asking what brand granola I use – although I don’t always have time to make my own, I urge you to try making homemade granola. It’s easy and leagues more delicious than anything you can buy in a store (plus you know for sure what goes in it). The recipe I use is here. You can make it ahead of time, store in an airtight container, and use whenever the mood strikes...which will be often, believe you me.
For the original parfait I used this blueberry syrup. For the show, however, I made some quick strawberry jam. Simple, quick jams are something I love to throw together. Let me just say here, before you think I am up to my elbows in fruits and jars and sterilization implements, I usually make small batches of jam...enough for roughly one bottle. I don’t go through the whole boiling of the bottles and sealing and what not either. I’m not storing up for the winter. I make the jam, pour it into a clean jar, and store in the fridge. It’s usually all gone after a week or so. It requires very little time and supervision, and will have you feeling like a proper domestic goddess without breaking a sweat, I promise you. Also, it goes without saying, homemade jam is a whole different world from store-bought in taste, and you have total control of what goes in and how sweet (or not) you want it.
No recipe for this, just a sort of loose method: I clean and weigh my fruits (peel, de-seed, and chop them too if needed depending on the fruit -- before weighing). I then toss the fruit in a non-reactive pot with sugar that weighs a little less. For example, for the Nectarine Plum Jam pictured here I had about 250 grams fruit (chopped and de-seeded weight) and I used about 170-180 grams sugar. Add a squeeze of lemon. Place on the hob and let cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened and setting point is reached. For this amount it will not take too long. When done, pour into a clean jar and cool. Store in the refrigerator.
I test the setting point with the old saucer-in-freezer method: Place a saucer in the freezer while you are making you jam. When your jam looks like it’s thickened, take the saucer out and put a drop of jam on its surface. Now tilt the saucer...if the jam runs down the plate it’s not ready. It should catch and droop slowly...then push the jam lightly with your finger, it should wrinkle a bit.
It’s lovely travelling out of your comfort zone to enjoy the new things that await you there :) Even if you already grab every opportunity by the horns, try something that you typically wouldn’t do. You may be happily surprised! :)