This details the preserved goods i've cranked out to give to friends. My landlord once sneered that i give all this stuff away to curry favor, but actually i give it only to folks who already smiled at me.
Let's start the report out right with a large bell pepper Gloria bought for fifty cents when we were shopping at this great bargain grocery outlet in Santa Rosa. I made two vertical incisions to remove one quarter of it and was blown away by the spectacle. No trick carving or nothing. It grew that corkscrew all by itself:
This year i'm going to try to track the batches of chocolate sauce i make, just for fun. What triggered this? Well, Sybil recently called to my attention the Cook's Illustrated review (back in 2005) of cocoa powders in which Callebaut just trampled the competition, which included the premium brands Droste, Scharffen Berger, Schokinag, and Valrhona. And to be fair, little could be more subjective than cocoa. When Dagoba first appeared, critics were falling all over themselves raving about it but it never really impressed me. On the other hand, i quite like the cut-rate Dutch cocoa, Blooker, which is €0,99 for 250 grams in Albert Heijn.
Anyhow, i was intrigued by the idea of trying that Callebaut cocoa, which i had never seen in a shop even though i've bought the solid Callebaut chocolate many places. So i went online and found it at Chocolate Source for $85/5kg. bag. Of course they stung me $13 for the shipping, so i got out for $98, which sounds like a lot of money for cocoa powder, but when i did the math it turned out that i was getting 8 oz. for less than i pay for any of the good cocoas in the stores here in SF....well, except for the great deal i get on Guittard at my little 14th Street shop San Francisco Herb Co. that also has such a good bargain on the best vanilla beans i ever bought anywhere. Those vanilla beans are so good that i throw one in my coffee grinder every now and then. Folks exclaim, "My, what delicious coffee!" I just smile and say thank you. Well hey, i push my recipes on people but it's alright to occasionally hold out.
Chocolate Sauce - 7 January (Dagoba, and yes, after bad-mouthing Dagoba, i had to give it another chance. Not bad but not at the top, either, mainly because they don't grind it quite fine enough and i can feel the damn grains in it on my tongue.), 22 January (Callebaut. This is good stuff.), OK, i kept forgetting to record batches, but on 6 July i made a batch with the Callebaut to which i added a precisely measured half teaspoon of red pepper powder. Brightens it up.
KPJAAL - Kiwi Pasilla Jalapeño Ancho Jam - 17 January. I made a version of this without the Ancho chile last January, and nobody seemed to notice. And then suddenly in the past couple of weeks there's been a run on it. Thus, this year's batch. The mixture of peppers heightens the chile flavor without making the jam actually hot. OUT OF STOCK
MLM - Meyer Lemon Marmalade - 17 January. This went over well last year, so i tried it again.
BOM - Blood Orange Marmalade - 25 January. Gloria's tree is on strike this year, so i used blood oranges from Schletewitz at the Heart of the City Farmers' Market.
JRAL - Raspberry Jalapeño Jelly - 5 July. OK, this one is labeled 4-5-10, but it was really made on 7-5-10. And the J comes first not because there's more pepper than raspberry but because i ramped the pepper flavor up on this one. Warning: the berry jellies are not setting well this year.
CLBOM - Carol's Little Bitter Orange Marmalade. 21 April. 21 July. Sweet Carol came through again this year with bags of her little bitter oranges that make up into a marmalade that everyone loves.
CRC - Candied Rainier Cherries - 22 May. Yeah, yeah, i admit it. This was supposed to be Rainier Cherry Jam, but i turned my back briefly and then discovered it had gone past jam to candy. Didn't make but four jars, but the folks who got them approved. OUT OF STOCK
CL - Cherry Jam - 25 May. I didn't mash on the cherries in this one and managed to keep most of them discrete, so it's really more like a cherry conserve.
CPK - Cherry Jam with a hint of Indian lime relish. 31 May/ 11 June. The first of the season of this favorite of my retinologist.
RAL - Raspberry Jam. 3 June, 11 June, 26 August, 16 October.
BCPK - Burlat Cherry jam with Indian relish. 4 June. These Burlats were pricy but too gorgeous to pass up.
CNPK - Cherry Nectarine Jam with Indian relish. 5 June.
TJAL - Tayberry Jalapeño Jelly. 13 June. The only tayberry jelly this year as i was sick through their season.
NJAL - Nectarine Jalapeño Jam. 14 June, 6 July, 11 August. I upped the chiles after the 14 June one.
BNJAL - Blackberry Nectarine Jalapeño Jam. 21 June
CC - Cherry Chutney. 3 July. My first chutney this year and made because it's Gloria's favorite.
RBV - Raspberry Vinegar. 5 July, 16 October. I steeped the seeds and pulp from a batch of raspberry jelly in white vinegar for five weeks in the refrigerator and ended up with a well flavored vinegar.
Pickled peppers. The season's Thai peppers are turning yellow in mid-July, so i've made five bottles of these. All i do is wash the peppers, cut off the excess stem, put them in the bottles, and pour boiling vinegar in. 12 and 19 July. OUT OF STOCK
NPJAL - Nectarine Plum Jalapeño Jam. 19 July. Only three plums in this, but there's truth in labeling. One of my vendors threw 'em in free, and i'd rather eat fresh nectarines. Put four seeded and deveined jalapeños plus a teaspoon of mild Hatch chile powder, so there's a pleasant chile taste without being actually hot.
Chocolate Sauce with Hatch Chile Powder. 20 July. I put a teaspoon of mild Hatch chile powder from New Mexico into a batch of chocolate sauce made with Guittard 24% fat cocoa powder. It's good in hot chocolate, but it's superb over vanilla ice cream. Either the ice-coldness of the ice cream or the fat content pushes back any chile "burn" and just amplifies flavors. I did this one again on the 15th of August using Arriba cocoa powder and a teaspoon of the Hatch chile powder, and apparently i'd used a heaping teaspoon last time because this time i could barely taste the chile powder. Made it 20 August with Callebaut cocoa and one and a half teaspoons of Mild Hatch chile powder, and the chile was still barely detectable. Tried again on 27 August with Callebaut and two teaspoons of Hatch, and got only a very mild chile aftertaste. I'm gonna push this one until it works. Tried it on 24 September with the Guittard cocoa powder and four teaspoons of that mild Hatch chile powder - Better. Made it again on 3 October with the last can of Dagoba, and since i was assembling a care package for Allen's mother, i filled three bottles plain. Then i stirred in four teaspoons of the mild Hatch chile powder since there were four-sevenths of the batch remaining in the pot. All i can say is i promise you that there is an enormous leap between what they call "mild" and what they call "medium".
TBJ - Tayberry Jalapeño Vinegar. 22 July. 17 September. Steeped for five weeks and strongly flavored with both components.
BB - Blackberry Jelly. Nothing in this except the juice of a lemon and the pulp of an apple....and they barely made it set. OUT OF STOCK
NJAL - Nectarine Jalapeño Jam 31 July. Got enough peppers into this one to brighten up the flavor. And we're having a great nectarine year.
RJAL - Raspberry Jalapeño Jelly. 7 August, 18 August. These set well and also have a nice light pepper flavor.
Raspberry Jalapeño Vinegar - 9 August....from the 5 July JRAL jelly, 15 September, 12 October (Labeled "RBJ" in the later batches because you can see it's a flavored vinegar.)
N4JAL - Nectarine Jalapeño Jam. 16 August. I put four seeded quite hot red jalapeños into this one, and it's very pleasantly spicy.
FPAL - French Prune Jam. 17 August. Prunes are the traditional French plums, which are smaller than modern American plums and more ovoid. They are also meaty and delicious, and i eat a lot of them during their short season. This is the first time i've made jam from them.
NAL & NALC - Nectarine Jam. 30 August. Charmazel is visiting from Albuquerque and she brought bags of chile powder, two medium and one hot. After i'd jarred the first two of NAL, the devil, or perhaps it was Charmazel alone, made me throw a couple of teaspoons of the mild chile powder into the batch. Pretty mild stuff, actually.
FPJAL - French Prune Jalapeño Jam. 30 August. Well, the little French plums are still in season and i had some nice red jalapeños in the refrigerator so i seeded one and threw it in.,,and then decided, why let well enough alone, so i threw another one in.
BBV - Blackberry Vinegar - 31 August
BBAAL - Blackberry Anaheim Chile Jelly. 15 September. There were gorgeous red Anaheim chiles in the market, so i chopped a couple of those in, just enough to brighten the flavor. And used limes instead of lemon.
RBAAL - Raspberry Anaheim Chile Jelly. 16 September. Same as above but with raspberries.
RBAAAL - Raspberry Anaheim Chile Jelly. 16 September. Same as above but i threw in three chiles. Better.
NFPWGPAFAL (just labeled "NFP" on the jars:-). 1 October. I bought Nectarines last week even though i knew the chance of getting good ones was near zero since the quality had dropped quite a bit the previous week. These were mealy, and i had some French Plums that needed to be used, some White Grapes that a vendor had given me, a small bottle of Pomegranate juice, some gorgeous red Anaheim peppers, some key Limes, and four Feijoas from the bush at Safeway on Market. I figure you never had this jam before....and it won't be made again, so get it while you can:-)
BBAA - Blackberry Anaheim Chile Vinegar. 27 October. This is the vinegar in which the pulp and seeds from the Blackberry Anaheim Chile Jelly has been steeping since 15 September. A pleasant chile flavor without too much piquancy.
RBAA -Raspberry Anaheim Chile Vinegar. 5 November. Vinegar from the Raspberry Anaheim Chile Jelly on 16 September.
WFC -Whole Baby Feijoa Chutney. 4 November. Feijoas are in season, so i got a big bag of the little tiny ones. Got a little heavy-handed with the cardamom powder owing to this being the first time i'd used it instead of the whole pods, and the little feijoas were a little on the green and bitter side. So this is definitely an adult chutney, as it'll take the hide off yer tongue. In a loving way, of course.
FC - Feijoa Chutney - 8 November. Bought some medium size, riper feijoas and mixed them half and half with the little green ones. Also cut back on the cardamom, so this is a kinder, gentler chutney. Well, it's still a chutney, so it's not for kids.
FPC - Feijoa Plum Chutney - 17 November, 30 November. Didn't have enough feijoas left for a full batch so i threw in a double handful of plums. Still not for kids, but this is definitely a gentler chutney. I'll do it again next year on purpose. Oh, and finally, a note on Feijoas: Here in San Francisco we are so totally influenced by the Mexican/Central American tradition that they have corrupted our pronunciations. Ain't nobody here speaks Brazilian, so everybody pronounces "feijoa" as if it were Spanish. Still, i try very hard to pronounce words the way the majority does, wherever i am, so i guess i'll keep on saying FAY HO AH.
RBAAA - Raspberry Anaheim Chile Vinegar. 25 November. This is from the Raspberry Anaheim Chile Jelly with three chiles on 16 September.
FMC - Feijoa Mango Chutney. 6 December. One more feijoa chutney, this one with green mangoes and plenty of red jalapeño.
MLM - Meyer Lemon Marmalade. 22 December. Meyer lemons from my feijoa vendor at the Heart of the City Farmers' Market. Little ones. Tasty but tedious.