Monday, February 8, 2010

Dark Days Challenge: Week 12. The Homestretch.

We're in the homestretch. It's a good thing, too. Things are starting to get a little crazy at work. Pretty soon, Jeremy will be subsisting on frozen pizzas as my work days get longer and longer until March 13th.

This week, I was planning to make Winter Squash Carbonara. But a number of things came up over the weekend, and the only meal I actually cooked was breakfast on Saturday morning. That's okay, though. It was delicious and it was local.

Eggs, sunnyside up, from Breezy Knoll Farm in Gap Mills, WV.
Bacon from White Oak Ridge Farm in Phillippi, WV.
Whole wheat toast from Krogers. Boo.
Butter from Homestead Creamery in Wirtz, VA.
"B3" jam I made last summer with blackberries picked in Prenter, WV.

"B3" Jam (Balsamic Basil Blackberry Jam)

6 cups crushed blackberries
1 box powdered pectin
8 1/2 cups of sugar
4 Tbsp finely chopped fresh basil
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

Add crushed berries, balsamic vinegar and basil to a deep stock pot on high heat. Add pectin and stir well. Stir mixture constantly until it comes to a full rolling boil (one that does not stop when stirred). Add sugar all at once and return to a full rolling boil. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and skim away any foam. Fill prepared jars immediately, leaving 1/4 inch of head space. Place two-piece lids on jars and process in a boiling water canner for 5 minutes (under 1,000 feet) or 10 minutes (1,000 to 5,000 feet elevation). For further canning instructions, go to the National Center for Home Canning's website. Yield 11 to 12 pints.

I got the idea for adding balsamic vinegar and basil to the jam after trying the cobbler recipe in Barbara Kingsolver's Animal Vegetable Miracle. The cobbler didn't turn out. There wasn't enough crust. But the taste was so interesting, I decided to throw some basil and balsamic vinegar into the jam I was making. It's subtle, and I don't think you could identify the taste if you didn't know what it was, but it definitely tastes different.

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