"Perhaps the most impressive of all the cookbook blogs are the three devoted to the 2004 edition of Gourmet magazine's "The Gourmet Cookbook" -- all 5¼ pounds and 1,300-odd recipes of it. Befitting this culinary Everest, all three writers are overachievers in their professional lives."

--Lee Gomes, The Wall Street Journal, May 28, 2008
"I should have told you before how much I've been enjoying reading your thoughts. You seem like such a great cook."

--Ruth Reichl, Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet Magazine, June 8 2008, comment on "Chocolate Velvet Ice Cream".

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Meyer Lemon Marmalade and Artichoke Bottoms Braised in Olive Oil and Mint

Wow, these were two spectacular successes.

The Meyer Lemon Marmalade was a big adventure for me on a couple of fronts. The first was using Meyer lemons--a new fruit to me. The second was the process of canning, which I think I have done maybe twice in my life, possibly in high school. I remember it being a tremendous pain in the ass, fraught with peril.

I remembered correctly.

There is the boiling of the jars and the lids (actually don't boil the lids, just heat them. Oh, and the lids have to be NEW--no re-using.) And then after you fill the jars you have to boil them again. I was quite surprised and dismayed to have the bottom fall off my biggest jar of marmalade--the glass cracked and the marmalade seeped into the boiling water. That's when I went back and read the directions CAREFULLY and saw that the jars were not supposed to have direct contact with heat, thus a rack or some dish towels in the bottom of your pot. Yeesh.

I still came out with two and a half jars of beautiful, yellow marmalade (which tastes mighty fine with butter on toast made out of Portuguese Cornmeal Bread.) And the process yielded a fun, amazing and previously-unknown-to-me fact about lemon seeds, which is that they naturally contain pectin. Instead of buying a pouch of the stuff, you gather all the seeds from the sliced lemons and put them in a cheesecloth pouch (I put them in a tea ball) and cook them with the lemons. Isn't that cool?

And if you've never seen or heard of Meyer lemons--they are a cross between an orange and a lemon--so they're tart, but they smell amazing. The Fruitful Basket sells them in Beverly Farms, but other than that good luck finding them in normal stores. I'm sure you could find them online.

The artichoke bottoms had spectacular flavor, and Dr. and Mrs. S. were tremendously impressed with them. I had a hard time parting with all those leaves (the prep involves snapping them off) since I was raised to pay loving gustatory attention to all parts of the artichoke. I would never have thought to put these three ingredients together (artichokes, mint, garlic) but it works. Do yourself a favor and try this sometime.

No comments: