There’s this feeling I’ve been having a lot lately—during that perfect moment when the sun is setting behind me, the air is warm, and the light is beautiful. I get it when I’m wrapped up in tight embrace with someone I really like, whom I know I’m not going to see for a while. And I get it when James jumps onto my lap for hugs and kisses. It’s a simultaneous realization that wonderful things are happening, yet time is not slowing down for them. It’s a strong desire to hold onto the specialness of each moment for just a little bit longer, before it slips away.
Never was there a food that captured this feeling like the tomato. Though, in this modern world, we have access to imported ones all year round, the local ones only really ripen to the full extent of their deliciousness in the summertime. We drizzle them with olive oil, tuck them into sandwiches with buffalo mozzarella and fresh basil, or just pop the tiny ones, whole, into our mouths.
And then summer ends and they go away, and we are left with flavorless supermarket imports until the following year. So, in an effort hold on to the gloriousness of ripe summer tomatoes for just a little while longer, I am making this spicy jam. Jam is called “preserves,” after all—the idea being that it preserves fruit, long after its season.
Try this on grilled cheese (OMG), with french or sweet potato fries, dabbed on crostini with a thick smear of goat cheese, or drizzled over grilled meats. Do as I’m doing and make a big batch to eat year-round, and a little touch of summer magic will be right there in your refrigerator until next June.
Ingredients 2 pounds ripe tomatoes $3.50
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped 50 cents
2/3 cup honey pantry
1 tablespoon balsamic pantry
3 teaspoons (or more, to taste) Sriracha or other chili sauce $2.50 for 16 oz.
1/2 teaspoon salt pantry
several grinds fresh black pepper pantry
Total Cost of Ingredients: $6.50
Directions Fill a large pot with water, and bring it to a boil. Drop the tomatoes into boiling water for 12-14 seconds, then remove with a slotted spoon. Rinse under cool water, then slip their skins off. (They should come right off.) Let cool, then core and chop.
Dump the water out of the pot and return it to the stove. Add the chopped tomatoes, onion, honey, balsamic, Sriracha, salt, and pepper. Turn the heat up and bring to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer for 55-65 minutes.
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