Monthly Archives: August 2012

Tomato & Olive Marmalade- Chèvre, Anyone?

Tomato Marmalade

Tomato Marmalade

Books, it seems, take a lot of time. Writing them, sure. But then there’s the promoting and marketing of them too, which requires one to plan writing, events, classes, and parties, all hopefully to be published or take place around the time the book comes out. My oh my, have I been doing a heck of a lot of that this month. Since my book comes out in November, I’m organizing it now. Thankfully, Perigee/Penguin has supplied me with a top-notch publicist to help, because, oh lordy, I had no idea how much work it was!

So whenever I have a chance to relax, I do a little cooking. As the summer heat forges on ahead, I’ve been thinking about ways to bring seasonal produce to the cheese plate. Tomatoes, I’m looking at you.

Cheese has a wide circle of friends. An extremely social animal, it loves hanging out with seasonal produce, honey, olives, salami, sugary tidbits, and pretty much anything preserved. One of the cheese’s closest friends is marmalade. A sweet-savory concoction, marmalade provides that extra bite that a jam lacks. Although traditionally made from citrus fruit, modern marmalade can be made from vegetables (or fruits that taste like vegetables, hey there, sneaky tomato fruit!). One of my favorite types of marmalade for cheeses- goat cheeses especially- is in a tomato marmalade. I make mine with heirlooms, a little butter for richness, herbs, vinegar, brown sugar, and oil-cured black olives.

Make a large batch and give out in the height of tomato season, or refrigerate and use within a week or two. Chevre, crottins, fromage blanc, teleme, ricotta, crencenza, …. imagine any of these slathered with sweet, punchy, tomato-olive marmalade over toasted focaccia or crostini. Mmm Hmmm.

 

Tomato & Olive Marmalade Recipe

Ingredients

2 ¼ pound multi-colored heirloom tomatoes

2 small green tomatoes

½ teaspoon salt

freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons salted butter

3 tablespoons brown sugar

3 tablespoons balsamic or pomegranate vinegar

15 sprigs thyme

1 cup black oil-cured olives, pitted

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 275 degrees

 

Core the tomatoes and cut into halves and quarters. Place skin side down on a roasting pan and season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Top the tomatoes with thin slices of butter, sprinkle evenly with sugar and vinegar, and scatter whole thyme sprigs over the dish. Roast in the oven for 45 to 55 minutes until the tomato skins are slightly wrinkly and the tomatoes have lost a fair amount of water and sweetened considerably.  Let cool.

Once cool, chop the tomatoes into small and medium sized pieces, remove the whole sprigs of thyme, and save any excess cooking liquid. Put the tomatoes in a large mixing bowl. Roughly chop the olives and add to the bowl. Add as much cooking liquid to the bowl as you’d like- I like a juicier marmalade, many like it drier. Keep in the fridge and bring to room temperature before eating.

 

 

Cheese-Con: Like Comic-Con without Capes, and about Cheese.

ProdigalFarmBus1 (1 of 1)

One of my favorite parts of visit- staying at Prodigal Farm and waking up to see the goats emerge from their bus-bed.

Have I mentioned before that when one returns from the American Cheese Society Conference, they come back with a cheese baby? True story. One can earn a pound or two while having such a fabulous time. I’ve decided to to name mine “Fromage Hush-puppy Jackson.” The middle name is a loving reference to the baskets of the southern treat I downed after eating slice after slice of fromage at the North Carolina conference (and no, I wasn’t hungry, but that wasn’t the point). Am also considering giving it the double last name of “Ribs-Jackson” in honor the meat cut (pork and beef, in case you’re curious) I consumed quite frequently, with vinegar, a la mode North Carolina.

Oh, the things I do and eat for my job… Taking one for Team Cheese! God bless Team Cheese for letting me play.

The kids waking up at Prodigal Farms.

The kids waking up at Prodigal Farms.

So my plans were to come back and show pictures of my time spent in North Carolina and of some of the awesome people with whom I got to hang out. Turns out though that all my pictures were of animals, cheese, and regional food. No people. But I swear, I did hang out with people! While eating. And drinking. I just, got distracted by all the food and local beer, I guess.

North Carolina Beer, nope haven't found them in the Bay.

North Carolina Beer, nope haven't found them in the Bay.

Here is a photo tour of what I did while at ACS. Or, mainly, what I ate, a couple restaurant recs, and some shots from one of my favorite Southern dairies, Prodigal Farm. Which reminds me, if you have a chance to try Southern Cheese, good god, do it! I was so happy to have the conference in Raleigh this year because it allowed us to taste some regional beauties that don’t often make it to the west coast. I love you, southern cheese! Xoxoxo.

Prodigal Farm's Hunkadora, acidifying.

Prodigal Farm's Hunkadora, acidifying.

Morning Light on Chevy, Prodigal Farm.

Morning Light on Chevy, Prodigal Farm.

Lastly, congratulations to the ACS winners!

Some great southern cheesemakers won- was so happy! Just three were: Sequatchie Cove for Dancing Ferm (1st for farmstead- SUCH a big accomplishment for this newer dairy), Looking Glass Creamery, and Nature’s Harmony Farm. More than 1,700 cheeses were entered in this competition. Full list of ACS winners here.

Fermented Foods class. Lardo, prosciutto, Southern cheeses and beer.

Fermented Foods class. Lardo, prosciutto, Southern cheeses and beer.

Lardo (1 of 1)

Lardo, by Zuke's Charcuterie. Prob shouldn't mention that I ate 12 pieces of this.

Bonnie Blue Tomme

Bonnie Blue Tomme- a newbie for me

North Carolina Vermentino. Yup. Not bad, not bad.

North Carolina Vermentino. Yup. Not bad, not bad.

ClydeCoopers1 (1 of 1)

Great, down-home BBQ. Also loved The Pit- another local BBQ joint. P.S. order your tea unsweetened in NC if you don't like sugar bombs.

ClydeCoopersPIgSkin (1 of 1)

Mmm hmmm..... Yes, that is fried pig skin from the basket of chicarones & hush puppies you get when seated at Clyde Coopers.

Soo… North Carolina was pretty awesome….

Want to read more about ACS? Cheese and Champagne updated A LOT (skills), and Cheese Underground, well, still prolific. The House Mouse on Meet the Cheesemaker. Gordonzola on Judging and Beyond. And I’m sure there’s more.