There’s nothing like bread and jam. Homemade. I was recently inspired by a plum preserves recipe I found in an old issue of Food Network Magazine. I’m not typically a huuuuuuge fan of this magazine, but when I travel, I seem to indulge in more entertainment-like magazines. While doing some spring cleaning I came across this recipe, and with the plethora of plums available in my town at this time, I got super excited and inspired to create my own plum jam, which in the end, I called Spiced Plum Jam, mainly because it’s quite different from this original recipe.
Aaaaaaaand, With the lack of good, whole grain breads here in Costa Rica, I have taken to making my own. I wanted something beyond the typical whole wheat sorta flatbread bread that I always fall back on. I was craaaaaaaving a rustic, crusty-on-the-outside, holy-and-light-on-the-inside kinda bread. So I went with Ciabatta. Ciabatta is often called “Italian Slipper Bread” because it is a fairly wet dough and hence why it creates a slipper-like shape. I did not realize that making ciabatta took so many steps, but it did, and in the end it was completely worth it. Crispy, artisan bread and homemade sweet, fresh spiced plum jam. Pure, simple goodness.
Spiced Plum Jam
6 cups sliced plums
1 cup sugar
3 cinnamon sticks
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp allspice
Juice of one lime
Place the plums, sugar, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg and allspice in a large, wide saucepan. Squeeze the lime through a strainer into the pan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves, and the mixture boils, about 10 minutes.
Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until a candy thermometer registers 220˚F, about 25 minutes. (To be sure that the mixture has reached the gel point, spoon some onto a chilled plate and put in the freezer until cool. The liquid should set; if not, continue to cook and retest after a few more minutes.) Remove the pan from the heat and let cool 30 minutes.
Enjoy fresh, and store in the refrigerator up to 10 days (if it lasts that long)! Otherwise, prepare for canning procedures, which can be found here.
As for the bread recipe, I used this one, and the only difference I did was substitute the last 25 ounces of bread flour for whole wheat bread flour. The rest I followed to a T. And it turned out great.
Enjoy the bread toasted with cream cheese and jam, or butter and jam! Also sliced bananas on it tastes great also!
……wheat, that is. Buckwheat.
Buckwheat and I are very much in love.
It’s a new grain for me. I have my usual favorites…couscous, bulgur, barley, quinoa. And because breakfast is my most favorite meal in the whole wide world, I love to explore different ways of creating deliciousness to wake up to in the morning. I’ve done the oatmeal, the smoothies, the scones, the pancakes, the quinoa hot cereal and so on. But I recently discovered this grain – called Kasha for hot cereal – that makes for a verrrry delicious bowl of hot cereal! Mixed with mashed banana, warm milk, cinnamon, almonds, raisins, a drizzle of honey, marmalade, and banana slices on top, it is a breakfast lover’s dream.
After doing a little investigating, I learned that buckwheat, or kasha, is a traditional Eastern European meal. Furthermore, it is high in fiber, is wheat and gluten-free, contains eight essential amino acids, and a large number of important minerals.
As with any grain, it’s extremely versatile! A few weeks ago I cooked up a nice buckwheat pilaf with fresh herbs, peppers, leeks, lemon juice and white wine. Savory or sweet, it’s my new fave! Any other ways/recommendations for using buckwheat/kasha!?