Category Archives: News & Events

Aunt Jenny’s Jam

aunt jenny jam smallThis is a story of family and food and love.  My father’s mother, my grandma Julia, had five sisters; my great aunts Jenny, Anna, Helen, Mimi, and Lulu. My Dad learned to cook, bake and preserve from the wonderful women in his family and from my grandfather, who was a butcher.

As a very young girl, I spent the early mornings while my mom and brother slept, with my daddy. In this quiet time he shared the secrets of the kitchen; separating eggs, mixing the lightest batter, transforming ordinary berries into glistening preserves and syrups, or stuffing a sausage and corning a beef brisket. I was enchanted and have never wanted to leave this magical world.

Dad told me that my Aunt Jenny taught herself to make pickles because my Uncle Bill hated garlic and all of the pickles at the market had garlic. Also Jenny made an amazing spread that everyone loved from simple ingredients of dried and canned fruit.

At some point years later we noticed that Dad’s hand began to shake. Idad blademan (164x250) remember the awful day when my mom and dad told me that dad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. We all spoke of treatments and how we were sure that it would all be OK. However over time this cruel  disease robbed dad of his joys of working in my parents antique business, roller blading, photography, and cooking.

As dad’s health declined, we spent a lot of time talking about family stories and recipes. There was something very calming and familiar for him to talk about things like his mother’s huckleberry pie (it was so good that it made him come home early from vacation when he heard she was baking one) and my Aunt Jenny’s delicious apricot and pineapple jam. When I asked him for the recipe for the jam he was not sure how to make it but said he would know it when he tasted it.
Experimentation and tidbits of information; “they must be California sun dried apricots” he remembered her saying, helped us recreate the recipe. I made a few jars and dad took one bite and declared it a success. We recruited my cousins, Aunt Jenny’s children as taste testers and got a rousing approval.

My Dad, Sidney Cohen, was taken from us a little over a year ago and I miss him terribly. He was not the sort for a big fuss and would not have liked any kind of grand celebration or some award done in his name but I wanted honor his memory.

We have made a special vintage recipe version of our Aunt Jenny’s Jam for sale online and at our markets. I will be contributing 10% of the total sales for this jam for the rest of the year to Parkinson’s research. I hope this bright sunny spread will be a delight for my family to share with yours and the money raised with help in some small part to reduce suffering and lead to a cure.
Purchase  Aunt Jenny’s Jam

 

 

 

Purim Pie or HamenTARTshen

purim pieI love the holiday of Purim with its exciting stories of heroic princesses, colorful costumes, and jam-filled cookies called Hamentashen.  A few months ago we were invited to an event called Beyond Bubbies Kitchen and asked to make a dish that was a twist on traditional Jewish food. I glanced at the calendar and saw that the event was being held days before Purim and I am a jam maker, so naturally I decided to make Hamentashen (you just knew there had to be jam involved somewhere).  However, we still needed a twist!

We decided to make a savory Hamentashen with our Evil Apple, spicy apple chipotle jam and a mustard, olive oil crust.  (recipe posted here) and also a cheddar cheese crust Hamentashen with our Falling Leaves jam (apple, fig, cranberry). (recipe posted here)

Our little jam team baked about 1000 cookies for the event but we also had one jam ladies purim (250x217)more idea up our flour-covered sleeves. With a nod to my current favorite television program The Great British Baking Show, we made a showstopper which we called Purim Pie (my hubby renamed it The HamenTARTshen).

Taking my favorite simple pie crust recipe for a double crust 9″ pie (a mix of butter and shortening), I filled a 10″ loose bottom tart pan with the crust. I then made a rope of dough into about a 6″ circle and placed in the pan. I made more ropes of dough and cut them into 5″ pieces, bending and pinching them into a triangle shape. I fit the triangles into the space between the edges of the tart and the circle. when all the spaces were filled, I made another smaller circle and fit more dough triangles in between the two circles.

20150301_185722 (300x262)When all the triangles were placed I started to fill them with jams. I only filled the spaces about 2/3 full so the jam would not overflow. Being a jam company, we had lots of flavors to choose from in our pantry but I think the tart would also be lovely with only three or four flavors alternating in the spaces. Finally, we added a Jewish star cut from pie dough to the middle of the tart and baked the tart for about 30 minutes until lightly browned with bubbly jams.

Happy Purim! Boo Hamen! Horray Brave Esther! Vashti-rock your girl power!

 

 

Spreading the Local Jam Love

Fall product line 2I started this blog to share recipes from my kitchen and mostly that is what I will still be doing here. Once in a while I will share news about my little jam company, Doves and Figs and perhaps a few other places and products that I love. Our website is www.dovesandfigs.com and I would love to have you visit anytime but it will be even more exciting in a month or so when we add our online shop! We have been getting wonderful notices in the press most recently from the Arlington Advocate and the Improper Bostonian. In the meantime, you can order jam by emailing or calling us and check out our Jam Nest for prices, flavors, and contact info.

This June we will be exhibiting at the Fancy Food Show in NYC for the first time. I attended this huge food business show last year and so I know what we are in for and will be bringing plenty of delicious jams for buyers to sample.

In July it will be just two years since we sold our first jar of jam at the Winchester Farmers Market. I made a big  stack of 12-jar cases (much more jam then I had ever made at one time before) and hoped to sell them over the course of the summer at Winchester and Arlington markets. I remember saying to my hubby that I hoped to sell a least 6 jars at that first market. He advised me to bring every single jar I had made; I advised him that he was nuts.  We did not bring any jars home!

A great market season led to getting a wholesale license and selling in wonderful stores from cheese and gourmet shops to produce shops to boutiques and gift stores with more exciting places coming on all the time.

I would love to know any ideas you have for places that should carry our jam, flavors that we should make, or recipes you have made with our jam that you would like to share. Please leave us a comment here or on Twitter @dovesandfigs or on our facebook page. Thanks and keeping on spreading the local jam love!

We now return to our regularly scheduled blogging from my kitchen for more recipes…

Cold Summer Pudding

summer puddingI love deserts that are simple to make but look wonderful and are layered with delightful surprises; ice cream bombs, trifles, parfaits, etc.  When I heard  Linda Wertheimer interview cookbook author Sophie Grigson on WBUR link here  there was much discussion about the delights of English Summer Pudding.  This was my kind of dessert and all that is needed to make it is bread, summer berries, and a bit of sugar.
I ran out and bought a big loaf of farmhouse style bread and, well, if you know me or read my blog you will know there is never a shortage of fruit around here.  Instead of making one big pudding, I decided to make little ones in custard cups.  I added a bit of Cointreau and a layer of jam to the basic recipe but these are optional. The tiny puddings were so easy and delicious and light that this recipe will become a summer favorite in my house.

To make Summer Pudding:
Chop up about a pound of  berries-strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, etc. (I used a quart of fall strawberries and a handful of black raspberries and red currants from my garden.
Put all the fruit and a  1/3 cup sugar and a splash of Cointreau in a big skillet and cook for about 5 minutes until the juices run freely and the fruit begins to soften.  Strain some of the juice off into a shallow bowl. Let cool slightly.
Cut 5 rounds of bread (about 1 inch thick) to fit tightly in the bottom each of the custard cups and another 5 rounds to fit the bottom.
Dip the top round in the fruit juice and place in the custard cup juice side down.
Spread a layer of raspberry jam on the bread and then spoon in about a heaping tablespoon of cooked fruit.
Dip the bottom layer in fruit juice and place in the cup juice side up this time.
Cover with plastic wrap and weight down with a can or heavy jar.  Place in the refrigerator overnight.
To unmold, run a knife gently around the edge of the pudding.  Invert onto a plate or shallow bowl and lift the custard cup.
Serve with whipped cream and fresh sliced berries or just plain.

Brews & Ewes-Boston Lamb Jam 2012

lamb dishI  admit that I am completely addicted to food television; every chef contest from honoring the best to teaching (and laughing at) the worst captures my attention.  I watch as chefs and foodies discover and judge the greatest dishes, drinks, food trucks, and hidden dining treasures.   Lest you think I am only a competition spectator, a few months back I entered the American Lamb Pro-Am and teamed up with Chef Michael Scelfo of Russell House Tavern to win first prize!

Imagine how excited I was when the The American Lamb Board and BostonChefs.com invited me to be a judge for the Boston “leg” of the Lamb Jam tour.  The contest was held February 19, 2012 at The Charles Hotel in Cambridge, MA. Eighteen chefs competed and the judging panel tasted all eighteen dishes comparing factors such as flavor, presentation,  and originality.  We also sipped some wine, beer, snapped photos, laughed, and argued over mystery spices and the perfect level of salt in a dish.  There was a lot of food and it was interesting how some of the judges deconstructed each morsel and others just ate it all.
In the end we pushed through some hot debates and winners were chosen.  In addition to the winning dishes which I will detail in a moment there were two stellar bites for me; a lamb and pasta dish and a lamb donut!

Chef Tyson Podolski of Summer Winter Burlington, MA brought a Chiang Mia summer winter greensBraised Lamb with Winter Squash Cavatelli, Mint & Cilantro and their table was decorated with a flat of greens from their on-site greenhouse.  The lamb in the dish was tender and well seasoned but the cavatelli was the main attraction.  Perfectly cooked with a hint of sweetness and a sauce that was creamy but with light lemony and green notes.  I hope this cavatelli will show up on their menu this spring.

The other standout dish for me was the Smoked Bone Marrow Beignet made by Toby Hill of Pain D’Avingnon the charming bakery and bistro on Cape Cod. This lamb beignetdonut had a perfect light cake crumb and managed to be both airy and very rich.  The beignet was filled with melting soft lamb shank and a blood orange mostarda along with Vermont Shepard cheese.  Some of the judges found the orange filling too sweet but I loved the way this dish could almost be called a lamb dessert while remaining balanced and focused on the flavor of the meat.

And now for the winners!
There were several meatball dishes in the competition but Brian Alberg of the Red Lion Inn combined kale with the lamb shoulder to make the most delicate kale meatballsand satisfying little bite.  He surrounded it with a swirl of smoked tomato puree and finished the dish with crispy parmesan crustade.  By the time this dish came out, served in a cute mini covered cassarole dish, we were well into the tasting.  Our judging panel had eaten quite a bit of food.  It was all many of us could do not to eat every scrap of this dish rather than just taste (a few could not resist).  I am hoping this will be on their menu which by itself would make it well worth a visit to this historic inn.
Each category had a winner as well.  Chef Michael Scelfo of Russell House Tavern was the shank category winner with a small bite that nearly exploded with flavor.  The braised lamb shank terrine was served on a round of caraway brioche with horseradish and lamb bacon.
The winner of the leg category was Chef Brian Reyelt of Citizen with a lamb leg and bone marrow polpettone with bourbon cherries served in a bone.  This dish was fun to eat and generated an amazing amount of buzz for looks alone but the rich and sophisticated taste showed more than just clever packaging.
Chef Matt Jennings of La Laiterie won the loin category with a Korean Lamb Reuben with red miso cured lamb served on a semolina and lamb fat roll.  I could have eaten a whole plate of that lamb and the bun was fluffy and filled with flavor.
Finally the people’s choice award went to Chef Cassie Piuma of Oleana for her Lebanese Style Lamb Crepe with harra sauce, crushed walnuts, cucumber, and pomegranate.  This was a beautiful dish that blended fresh and exotic flavors folded into a delicate crepe.lamb cookie
The event also featured craft beers from local breweries, wine from J. Lohr vineyars cheese from Cabot, and adorable cartoon-like lamb cookies from Harvard Sweet Boutique.  These were so cute I could hardly bring myself to eat one.  Luckily they also had delicious caramels to munch on too and yes I ate some even after sampling 18 amazing lamb dishes.  Hey, I am always ready to take one for the team-as long as it is tasty!

Sunshine for Supper

doves and figsLast weekend was the opening day for the winter market at Mahoney’s Garden Center in Winchester.  Our Doves and Figs booth was set between some sweeping potted palms and a large display of citrus trees. I remember vacationing in Florida as a child and driving through orange groves.  The heavenly scent of white blossoms and the cheery round orange fruit.  It was a great day with lots of people tasting and buying jam and local friends stopping in to shop and say hello.  When I got home I could not stop thinking about oranges.  I planned several new citrus jam and marmalade recipes and then I bought a big bag of navel oranges and brought my orange obsession to dinner.

I roasted some carrots, turnips, and beets that I bought at the market.  When the vegetables were tender, I let them cool slightly and then splashed them with a mix of fresh orange juice, a bit of orange zest, some fig jam, white balsamic vinegar, and a dash of black pepper.   

The main course was orange sesame salmon. I dusted the salmon fillets with sesame salmonflour and paprika.  The fish was then seared on both sides in a hot pan lightly coated with olive oil.  I added a blend of orange juice, rice wine, minced garlic, minced ginger, and a drop of sesame oil to the pan.  As the salmon cooked the sauce reduced and thickened almost to a glaze.  Just before serving, I sprinkled the fish with toasted white and black sesame seeds. 

I served the sesame salmon and the roasted root vegetables with a simple green salad, and jasmine rice into which I mixed caramelized onions. It was a sunny supper for a winter night.

     

Autumn American Lamb Supper

lamb jam winUPDATE-We won! Teamed up with Chef Michael Scelfo of Russell House Tavern, my lamb roast was transformed into a roulade of lamb belly stuffed with lamb sausage and sous vide overnide until it was meltingly tender.  It was served with a dollop of Doves and Figs Winter Carnival conserve, a brush of cranberry mustard and a sprinkle of micro greens.

A number of years ago at Passover, I arrived at my parent’s new home in Floridalamb supper to find out some terrible news.  My mom had decided that since it was a much smaller holiday crowd then in the past, she would just make a nice roast chicken or
perhaps a small brisket.  “No lamb?” I asked, concern rising in my voice.  As my  mother explained how she was simplifying many things now, tears started to run down my face.  My feelings were sparked in part by longing for my favorite dish, by losing a holiday tradition, and perhaps mostly by the realization that my parents and I were growing older.   Five minutes later Mom and I  were in the car heading to the store to buy a leg of lamb and a big head of garlic and the holiday was restored for me.  The miracles of parting the sea and freeing the slaves from Egypt paled in comparison to the wonders of that lamb dinner.

When I was invited by Boston Chefs, to participate in the American Lamb ProAm, (information and a chance to vote for this recipe) I jumped at the chance.  My first thought was to make the typical spring lamb dinner that I enjoyed so much as a child.  The beautiful crimson-tipped trees and the bounty of fall fruits and vegetables at the farmers market convinced me instead to give my lamb a local autumn flavor.  I have also been following the adventures of  a group learning blog founded by Cathy Barrow called Charcutepalooza which inspired me (and provided excellent help technical advice) to make sausage as part of my dish.

With the exception of salt, sugar, and a few spices, I used all New England local and farm-grown ingredients in my dish.  The lamb that was generously supplied by the American Lamb folks came from Superior Farms I was pleased to read that they are  committed to sustainable farming and their website states that “All lamb livestock are raised outdoors with healthy diets of natural grasses, crops and grains.”

The local ingredients featured in my dish include:
Corn meal grown and ground by Mainstone Farm, Wayland MA
Roxbury and Cortland apples, Bosc Pears-Kimball Fruit Farm, Pepperell MA
Eggs-Golden Egg Farm, Hardwick MA
Cranberries-PJs Cranberries, Sandwich MA
Brussells Sprouts-Grateful Farm, Franklin, MA
White Wine-Hardwick Winery in Hardwick MA
Harpoon Hard Apple Cider from Boston, MA and Vermont
Cabot Sharp Cheddar from Vermont
Kate’s Buttermilk from Maine
King Arthur Flour from Vermont

I hope you will enjoy this delicious fall lamb supper and please vote for my dish starting on Monday at www.bostonchefs.com and show your love of lamb and local farm-grown food!

Autumn American Lamb Roast Stuffed with Lamb Apple Sausage lamb roastBoneless leg of  lamb
Lamb Apple sausage (recipe below) or store-bought lamb sausage
Cape Cod Cranberry Marinade (recipe below)

Prepare the marinade
Place the boneless lamb leg in a large plastic bag and pour in marinade
Refrigerate the lamb for two hours, turning several times to make sure the marinade covers the meat fully
After two hours remove the meat from the bag and discard the marinade
Roll open the leg of lamb gently
Cut part way through meat from the inside, if needed, to
make the roast lay as flat as possible-be careful to not cut too deeply
Spread the sausage mixture over the inside of the lamb leg
leaving a small border around the edges
Roll the roast from the short end like a jelly roll
Truss the roll with butcher’s twine
Roast at 425 degrees for 15 minutes and then at 325 degrees until meat reaches desired doneness.
For a medium rare roast, cook about 25 minutes per pound to 145 degrees.
Let roast rest for about ten minutes before slicing

Lamb Apple Sausagelamb sausage meat
1 ¾ lb pounds of lamb meat (leg or shoulder)
1/3 lb lamb fat
2 cups peeled, cored, chopped firm baking apples
½ cup fine ground cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 tsp black pepper
2 ½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground allspice

Equipment needed-food processor or meat grinder and large bowl
of ice

Cut meat and fat into cubes and place in freezer for 30 minutes
Meanwhile peel, core, and chop apples finely in food
processor or with a knife and set aside
After the meat has chilled, grind in three batches in food
processor fitted with steel blade or run through meat grinder
Place the ground meat in a bowl over the ice bowl to keep it
chilled through the process
When all the meat has been ground, mix the cornmeal, spices
and apples into the meat with your clean hands, blending well
The stuffed lamb roast will need about half of the sausage, you can shape the remaining sausage into patties to freeze and cook later.

Cape Cod Cranberry Marinade
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup cranberries (chopped in food processor)
3 tablespoons sugar
1 ½ tablespoons cracked brown mustard seed (whole seeds can
be cracked in a coffee grinder)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
3-4 garlic cloves crushed
1 sprig of fresh rosemary

Place all  ingredients in a large bowl
Stir well to combine

Side Dishes

apple cranberry conserveApple Pear Cranberry Conserve
6 cups apples (measure after peeling, coring, and cutting into ½ inch chunks)
2 cups of pears (measure after peeling, coring, and cutting into ½ inch chunks)
3 cups cranberries
3 1/2 cups water
5 cups sugar
1 cinnamon stick

Cook cranberries in sugar, water, and spices until cranberries begin to soften
slightly and pop (about 10 minutes)
Add apples and pears
Cook gently until apples and pears soften and mixture begins to thicken
Boil until mixture gels (will be a softer spread than a traditional jam)
Remove cinnamon sticks and refrigerate, can, or freeze

Cheddar Lamb Fat Cornbread
1 cup stone-ground corn meal
1 cup flour
4 tablespoons lamb fat saved from roasting pan and chilled
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
2/3 cup cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon baking powder

Heat oven to 400 degrees
Mix together flour, corn meal, and baking powder in a bowl
Stir in cold lamb fat
Whisk buttermilk and egg together
Blend buttermilk and egg into flour mixture
Stir in cheese gently
Grease  9″ cast iron pan or muffin tin
Place in oven to heat for about 5 minutes
Scoop batter into hot pan
Bake 20 minutes for pan and 15 minutes for muffin tin

Brussels Sprouts  Braised in Hard Cider
Clean sprouts and trim stems as needed
Pan sear sprouts in a small amount of olive oil
Add a generous amount of salt and pepper and cover part way
with hard apple cider
Cook on medium heat until sprouts become just tender