Oh my gosh! Guess what I did today. No, really, guess. 🙂 I made… JAM! For the first time ever! Can I just tell you that it really was easier than I thought it would be. I had built up the process in my head until I was kind of scared of it, and now I just feel silly. It turned out so good! At first I thought I hadn’t let it boil long enough, but now that it’s completely cool, I can see that it’s setting up nicely. The best part about this discovery is that I am super excited to make more in all sorts of different flavors. My friend Shelly told me about this gorgeous cookbook called Mes Confitures, by Christine Ferber, and I ordered a copy today. Here’s an excerpt from the description on Amazon…
“In Mes Confitures, Ferber opens her personal recipe book, sharing such treasures as Black Cherry with Pinot Noir, Apricot and Spiced Apple, and Rosehip and Vanilla. Organized seasonally, uncommon recipes like Rhubarb with Acacia Honey and Rosemary, or Banana, Orange, and Chocolate jams raise the craft of confiture to a new level. Ferber also divulges her secrets, identifying the proper tools and equipment for foolproof, exciting, and unusual creations.”
Seriously, how awesome does that sound? I feel like a whole new world has been opened up to me.
Besides dreaming of new jam flavors, I’ve been dabbling with delicious ideas for ice creams and playing with pizza recipes. I love delicious food with a twist. I adore adding ingredients that are unexpected and a pleasant surprise to those who partake.
This pizza turned out fantastic. It’s spicy and those grapes add just a touch of sweetness that goes so good with the pungent garlic, the kicky pepperoni, and the tart, pickled pepperoncini.
for 1 (10 inch) deep dish, pan pizza :
~ preheat oven to 400 degrees F. ~
for the crust:
cornmeal for coating pan
1/2 lb. of your favorite, homemade pizza dough
Oil your 10 inch, cast iron skillet. Sprinkle bottom with about 2 Tablespoons of cornmeal. Spread the pizza dough evenly into the bottom of the skillet and about 1 and 1/2 inches up the sides of the pan. Bake in preheated oven for 6 minutes.
for the pizza sauce:
In a large stock pot:
Brown 1/2 cup finely chopped onion in 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil. Once onion is browned and soft, add two cloves minced garlic and cook until golden brown.
2 (28 oz. cans) tomato puree (not sauce.)
1/4 cup red wine
2 Tablespoons Italian seasoning (dry)
1 Tablespoon onion powder
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
1 Tablespoon salt
1 Tablespoon fennel seed
2 teaspoons garlic powder
Cook uncovered, over low heat until thick and reduced somewhat (about 30 minutes.) Stir occasionally, and watch closely so the sauce doesn’t burn.
Remove crust from oven and top with the following ingredients in the order given:
3/4 cup pizza sauce
15-20 slices good quality pepperoni (I love this kind)
2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts or almonds
3 large cloves garlic, minced
2 fried green onions
3 pickled pepperoncini peppers, sliced
a handful of fresh arugula
2 Tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped fine
2 Tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped fine
a sprinkle of cayenne pepper or ghost pepper flakes (optional)
1 cup sweet red grapes
sprinkle of sea salt
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until pizza is very hot all the way through, cheese is bubbly and melted, and crust is golden brown.
Cool for 2 minutes in the skillet. Carefully remove pizza from skillet and transfer it to a large cutting board. Slice with a pizza cutter.