Friday, September 21, 2012

Swapper Profile: Martine Holston + Caprese Jam Recipe

I am delighted to introduce Martine Holston in our next swapper profile! Call it kismet  or maybe just the fact that SF is a small town, and the home canning/food community even smaller  but I first met Martine at Omnivore Books while waiting to get our cookbooks signed by Marisa of Food in Jars. As we stood next to each other in line and chatted for a bit, food swapping never came up...but then she walked in the door of the August food swap, and we immediately recognized each other. Though all her jams looked and tasted like summer in a jar, we didn't trade because honestly between what I make myself and what I have traded for at past swaps, our pantry and fridge are already overflowing with jam, but I am so happy that a fleeting meeting turned into a deeper connection, and I hope she becomes a regular at the swap. Read on to find out about her "voodles" and for her fabulous twist on tomato jam.

Name: Martine Holston

Home (+ hometown swap): San Francisco

Profession: International Public Health

How did you first get involved in food swapping? How long ago? I googled it! I ran across an article about food swapping, and knew there had to be one in San Francisco. My first swap was in August.

What did you make for the last food swap and what inspired your choice? I brought a sample of different jams that I made in August  Nectarine Plum Ginger, Peach Vanilla, Peach Spice, and Pineapple. The peaches and nectarines were a gift from a friend who had 24 boxes of ripe, heirloom, organic fruit. Her company subsidizes a farm with heirloom peaches and nectarines to preserve the orchard  the farm can't sell the fruit because it ripens too fast and was going to let the orchard die. The company's employees have to harvest the fruit as part of the deal (tough life). After freezing, jamming, canning and baking dozens of pounds of fruit, my friend still had excess and needed to give some away. She gave me a box each of nectarines and peaches, and these jams were the result. I didn't trade the nectarine cilantro salsa, because it was too amazing  sorry folks.

What’s your favorite thing about swapping? Getting rid of my surplus jam! Also, seeing other people's creativity and getting inspiration.

Who or what most influences your cooking? Making things healthy and veganizing them. While I'm only "veganish" (my French blood does not allow me to give up cheese), I like the challenge of making things vegan and gluten free so everyone can enjoy them and feel good about what they eat.

What’s your favorite kitchen tool?  Cooking would not be as fun or exciting without my food processor - life would be bland (no pun intended) without flaky pie crusts, hummus, pesto, and carrot miso salad dressing. My newest kitchen toy is a julienne peeler for making "voodles" 
 noodles out of vegetables.  (There's a post on my blog about it if you're curious)

Your current flavor or ingredient obsession?  Heirloom tomatoes - they're just SO good. I just made a boozy heirloom tomato sauce on top of a polenta pizza crust.... mmmmmm.....

Biggest food surprise? My Caprese Jam. It was the first time I ever tried tomato jam, and I was not expecting how good it is  or the complex flavor is from few ingredients.

If the Rapture came tomorrow, what would your last meal on earth be? Depends on if I'm going to be "raptured" or not. If I think I'm going to heaven, then I would have a decadent meal at Millennium
  and probably get two desserts (I won't be alive the next day to deal with the tummy ache). If I think I may be stuck on earth with fire and the wrath of God to contend with, I'd carbo-load with pasta tossed with brie cheese and cherry tomatoes to survive the apocalypse.  

When I'm not in the kitchen I'm... yoga-ing, running, blogging (and I guess working).

Favorite local food experience: Food trucks (even though the veggie options are limited, I like the experience); any Farmer's Market, and the bulk bins at Rainbow Grocery.

Recipe by Martine: 

Caprese Jam
Yield: 2 half pints 

For the story of how this jam came to be, read this post.  

A complex jam compared to its relatively few ingredients. Like sweet caramelized sun dried tomatoes with a hint of spice and grassy basil. Serve with any number of cheeses (cheddar, goat, brie) or on a sandwich (roasted veggie, or grilled cheese). I even think it would be good on vanilla ice cream, or on a sweet cornbread. This recipe yields a little more than 2 half pints. Enjoy the leftovers and can the two full jars.

4 cups chopped tomato (skin and seeds in tact)
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoon bottled lemon juice
1.5 tablespoon chopped basil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
A few grinds of black pepper

Prepare jars for water bath canning.

Combine all ingredients except the basil into a large, non-reactive pot.  Bring to a boil, and then let simmer stirring occasionally at first (and then more frequently as it cooks) for 20 to 30 minutes. The jam will turn a dark maroon hue and the liquid will begin to thicken when the jam is ready. Turn off the heat and stir in the basil.
Ladle into hot, prepared jars, and process for 10 minutes.

1 comment:

  1. This is absolutely wonderful.I'm sure I'm gonna make this. Thanks.
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