Simple Rhubarb Jam

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2 pounds rhubarb
3 cups granulated sugar
Juice of 1 lemon or of ½ orange and ½ lemon

Wash, trim and dice the rhubarb. You will have about 8 cups.

In a large pot combine the rhubarb, sugar, and citrus juice and toss to mix. Bring the rhubarb mixture to a boil over medium-high heat and cook for 2 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let sit for 1 to 2 hours.

Set a stockpot on the stove and fill with enough water to cover the jars by 1 to 2 inches. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Sterilize the jars in the water bath.

For a jam with some texture, set a colander over a bowl and, using a slotted spoon, transfer the rhubarb to the colander.  Bring the juices to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until thickened.  Add the rhubarb back to the pot, along with any juices that have collected in the bowl under the colander. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, and cook about 5 minutes longer.

For the smoother jam, cook the fruit with the juices over medium-high heat for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat.

Bring the water bath back to a boil. Simmer the lids in a saucepan of hot water. Ladle the jam into the jars, leaving ¼-inch headspace. Wipe the rims clean and set the lids on the mouths of the jars. Twist on the rings.

Using a jar lifter, gently lower the jars into the pots. When the water returns to a boil, decrease the heat to an active simmer, and process the jars for 10 minutes.

Transfer the jars from the pot and let sit for at least 6 hours, until cool enough to handle. Check to be sure the jars have sealed.  Store the sealed jam for 6 months to 2 years. Once open, store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.

 

Kombu No Tsukudani (昆布の昆布)

1 big piece rehydrated kombu (from making Vegetarian Dashi)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon mirin
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1⅔ cups water
1 teaspoon sesame seeds

Cut the kombu into strips about 1½ inches wide, then julienne them. Add to a saucepan with the soy sauce, sugar, mirin, vinegar and water, and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to medium—it should be between a simmer and a boil, and cook until the liquid reduces to a thick, sticky glaze.

Taste the kombu; it should be quite soft but not mushy. If it needs more cooking, add a little water.  There should be no liquid left; it should be a glaze as opposed to a sauce. When the kombu is ready, stir in the sesame seeds. Leave to cool before using as a filling for onigiri, a topping for rice or on its own.

 

Dengaku Miso Dressing (味噌田楽)

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Dengaku miso (also known as sweetened miso) is a popular dressing used in Japan for vegetable and tofu, made with a stronger flavoured red miso.

  • 1 Tablespoon red miso
  • 1 Tablespoon sake
  • 1 Tablespoon raw sugar

To prepare the dengaku miso dressing, mix all the ingredients well and set aside.

 

Quick Aioli Cheat

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2 Cloves Garlic
2 Tablespoons Flat Leaf Parsley
2 Tablespoons Chives
2 Tablespoon Tarragon
Zest of one lemon
Juice of ½ lemon
1 Cup Mayonnaise
Salt and Pepper

Add all ingredients except mayonnaise to food processor and whirl together. Add mayonnaise and blend together so it is a consistent sauce with flecks of herbs throughout. Serve with chilled asparagus, salmon, etc.

Garlic Confit

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1 cup peeled garlic cloves (45 cloves or so)
About 2 cups canola oil

Cut off and discard the root ends of the garlic cloves. Add the cloves to a small saucepan and add enough oil to cover them by about 1 inch.

Place the saucepan over medium-low heat. The cloves should cook gently: small bubbles will come up through the oil, but the bubbles should not break the surface. Adjust the heat as necessary and move the pan to one side if it is cooking too quickly. Cook the garlic for about 40 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so, until the cloves are completely tender. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow the garlic to cool in the oil.

Refrigerate the garlic, submerged in the oil, for up to a month.