Put It In a Jar: Peach Jam

Editor’s Note: Please welcome new contributor Jessica Alter, who joins ES as our resident canner/jammer/pickler/all-around put-it-in-a-jar-er.

Welcome to “Put it in Jar,” your go-to guide for must-make jams, plump pickles and anything else that can be stored in or served in…well, a jar. READERS BEWARE: I am not an expert in the field of canning or preserving. For the most part, I’m going down this rabbit hole because A) I enjoy topping my carbohydrates with sweet goodness in the form of gooey fruit and B) I love jars.

This past weekend I decided to start off by making a simple batch of peach jam. When looking for the perfect recipe, I wanted to make something so easy that I couldn’t possibly screw it up. (I’m encouraged by positive reinforcement. Failure makes me give up.) This recipe from Food & Wine was just the ticket. Peaches. Sugar. Lemon Juice. ‘Nuff said.

Begin by peeling and pitting the peaches into 1/2 inch wedges. So far, so good…

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The Legend of Umami

I first heard about the concept of umami when I was helping to open a Japanese restaurant a few years back. During our training, the chef was telling us about the Japanese word umami, which is the “fifth taste.” After sweet, salty, sour, and bitter, what is left? What is the taste that will truly satiate? Apparently it is umami, which loosely translates to “pleasantly savory.” Fair enough.

Umami seems to be a rather intangible concept. If you so desire, take a look at its Wikipedia article, which has all sorts of tips on what foods contain “high amounts of umami” and uses a lot of science-y terms that overwhelm me. To me, umami is my unicorn of the food world. It has a mystical appeal, only made more desirable by the fact that I don’t know if I fully understand or believe in it. But am intrigued by its powers.

A small restaurant chain in LA, unsurprisingly named Umami Burger, has attempted to harness the power of umami. Many of my California friends rave about it. On the cover of the June issue of Food & Wine there is an amazing-looking burger; Patrick and I decided we had to make it, and upon inspection of the recipe, discovered it was an Umami Burger with Port and Stilton. Perfect!


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Endless Questions: Chef R.J. Cooper on Iron Chef America and Magical Food Rides


You’d think since leaving Washington’s swanky, Southern restaurant Vidalia earlier this year, Chef R.J. Cooper would have plenty of time on his hands, but he’ll tell you that’s not the case. Over the past six months Cooper has been overseeing the construction of his new restaurant, Rogue 24, working with Chefs as Parents and throwing in a little reality TV. Cooper kicks off season 9 of Food Network’s Iron Chef America, challenging the newly minted winner of The Next Iron Chef America, Marc Forgione.

I chatted with Cooper about the pressures of Iron Chef America and the magical ride that is his new venture.

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Open Thread: Thanksgiving Eats


Good god. Thanksgiving is a week away and I’ve yet to come up with some fresh ideas. Dad Gansie will take care of the bird, but I need to thrill our guests with sides.

Here are some recipes I’ve spied and might try. Please add in your favorites or new recipes you’re giving a spin around the stove this year.

Thanksgiving 2010 – Tryouts

Beet Carpaccio
Would make for a fab presentation.

Carrot, Olive and Feta Salad
[Make It Naked]

Cauliflower and Parmesan Cake
I needed one egg dish in there.
[Smitten Kitchen]

Fried Brussel Sprouts
At least one dish wouldn’t use butter.
[The Food in my Beard]

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