Saturday is cooking shows.  Back when I was The Boss and worked M-F (with weekends and holidays off) we would start early and catch all the shows on KQED in San Francisco.  They would always be on in the background as we did our daily chores.  There was Brother Whomever who baked bread, Ciao Italia, and a score of other shows, ending with Lidia at 4pm.  Sometimes some great dinners came out of it.

Fast-forward almost 11 years, now, and I’m working on Saturday – but Victor still has the cooking shows on TV.  The players have changed, but the concept has not.

Yesterday, he saw someone (Giada?!?) make a savory blackberry jam and when I got home, commented on it and said I should think about creating a tomato jam.  He had just picked another million cherry tomatoes and they were sitting on the island in a lovely basket.  I hadn’t made one before, but that usually doesn’t stop me.

The wheels started turning.

I did a google-search for tomato jam and found plenty – but none of them were really what I wanted.   I decided to take the best of what I was seeing – and just create my own. I’m horrible at following recipes, anyway.

I had about 2 pounds of cherry tomatoes and a couple of perfectly-ripe heirlooms from the garden – maybe 2 1/2 pounds, total.  I started playing.

Dr Frankenstein’s Tomato Jam

  • 2 1/2 pounds tomatoes
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 fresh cayenne pepper, minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil, minced

Keep cherry tomatoes whole and roughly-chop large tomatoes.

Place all ingredients into a medium saucepan and bring to boil.  Continue boiling and stirring regularly until jam is thick – about 90 minutes.  Place in a sterile jar and refrigerate after cooling.

This really was easy to make – and W-O-W it is good!  The secret is boiling/stirring/boiling/stirring to keep it from scorching on the bottom.

Use a heavy pot and if you’re lucky yo have a diffuser (Thank you Ann & Julie!) it makes it all the better.  The steam just didn’t allow for a very good picture, here, but it started off as more than half the pot and cooked down.

It is the perfect balance of sweet and savory.  There’s just a hint of spice from the pepper, and the basil plays off the sweetness of the sugar perfectly.  The lemon and lime add the tartness… Dr Frankenstein did good.

I made just under a pint of jam so I didn’t bother actually canning it.  For half-pint jars I’d probably do about a 20 minute water bath.

And speaking of tomatoes…

Last night was a Caprese that Victor made – with homemade pesto!

This really rocked!  We ate it atop slices of crusty baguette.

The tomatoes are just so fresh, so ripe. So totally flavorful!

And we have weeks to go with even more to come!