Sunday, February 13, 2011

Tomato-Orange Marmalade

I love this time of year when the yard comes alive...bees are alert and active, hummingbirds swoop along side my head letting me know I've gotten a little close to their nests,  rosebushes resemble ballerinas with their skirts of new red leaves, and citrus trees are heavy with ripe fruit.

Yesterday I filled a bag with sweet, juicy oranges. I made a citrus marinade for a pork tenderloin that will be tonight's dinner.  And, I put up a batch of Tomato-Orange Marmalade.  The marmalade is delicious on toast or a cracker or  even a chunk of cheese. My friends have layered it on sandwiches and I'm thinking it would be a tasty accompaniment to tonight's tenderloin. 

Be forewarned, it takes a long time to make this marmalade. If you choose to invest the time it will be worth it!  Use your imagination...there are so many possibilities. Can't wait to hear your results and how you choose to enjoy it!

Tomato Orange Marmalade
This recipe makes only a small amount so it’s not necessary to sterilize or process the jars.  Marmalade keeps in the refrigerator for 3 week.

Delicious as an accompaniment to beef, poultry, fish, pork and even warm toast

3 pounds ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped, reserving juices
3 cups sugar
2 juice oranges, quartered, seeds removed, and sliced crosswise 1/8 inch thick
1 lemon, quartered, seeds removed, and sliced crosswise 1/8 inch thick
1/8 teaspoon salt

Place two small plates in the refrigerator to chill. They will be used for testing marmalade.

Place all ingredients, including reserved juices from tomatoes, in a pot.  Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until sugar is dissolved, about 6 minutes.  Simmer, stirring often to prevent scorching.  Continue to cook, adjusting heat as necessary, and check for doneness after 1 ½ hours.  Drop a spoonful of marmalade onto a chilled plate, the marmalade should remain in a mound and not run when the plate is tilted.

When marmalade has thickened and is done, remove from heat and cool, uncovered.  Chill in glass airtight container.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I Love Super Bowl Sunday!

I love Super Bowl Sunday.  Not because of all the sinful, high-fat, delicious snacks and beer that are a Super Bowl tradition.  It’s not because we finally get to see all of the amazing commercials that we’re promised.  It’s not because of the incredibly talented musicians that perform at the pre-game and half time shows. And it certainly isn’t for the football…

It’s for the peace and quiet that comes with it.  Since the game started I’ve have received very few emails other than advertisements. The phone hasn’t rung.  One by one, everyone in the family said goodbye and went off to a Super Bowl party at someone else’s house.  The neighbors are all inside in front of their televisions.   My world is practically silent and the only sounds I hear are bees and birds and squirrels enjoying the warm afternoon.

My garden is in a state of in-between. It’s been very warm in Los Angeles lately. Today the temperature climbed to almost 80 degrees.  The lettuces growing in the garden have bolted. Arugula stands four feet high and the flavor is much too sharp. However, evenings still get quite chilly. Temperatures dip too low for summer vegetables.   

 I know myself well enough to know that I must have something growing and producing in my garden at all times.  It’s a physical need.  I also know that it’s better to keep the garden soil active so it will be healthier when it is time to plant my summer crops. So, on this quiet afternoon, while all of the cheering went on inside, in front of the television, I embraced the silence and got to work. Out went the giant arugula and spinach. Sugar snaps peas have succumbed to the heat so they went, too.   I turned the soil, gave it a healthy dose of amendment and began again.  I planted row after row of lettuce, spinach, peas and more, leaving plenty of room in between for tomato plants that will go in the ground in another month or two. I hung a layer of shade cloth over the seedlings, hoping it will be enough to protect them from the heat.  Now, it’s a game of wait and see. The weather has been fickle and who knows what it will bring?  At least I know that, once again, the garden is alive and growing, and so am I.