Sunday, July 8, 2012

{ Pancakes with Fig Balsamic Jam + Food Blogger "Jamming" Party Highlights }



What is one of your passions in life? Mine is food. I have an adoration for the blending of flavors, the various preparations and the joy it brings to people when they enjoy something truly wonderful. A few years ago I checked off the bucket list – making jam along with learning the process of canning.


One of the first jams I made was Fig Balsamic Jam. It was truly one of those mouth dropping flavors and quickly became a staple in my house along with a favorite gift to give to friends. It has the perfect balance of sweet, acid and texture. Works well with both sweet and savory dishes. It is quite simple to prepare and the result is just magnificent.


Yesterday I had the pleasure of getting together with five other food bloggers to make jam. It was not only the opportunity to see fellow food bloggers, but friends that I have made through this blogging journey. It was a day filled with great food, discussions about food, trying new flavors of jam and just generally having a great day.


Azmina of Lawyers Loves Lunch was kind enough to host the event at her lovely home. She set the tone of the day by her cleaver evite titled – “It’s Jammer Time” – which is sung to the tune of “It’s Hammer Time”. We coordinated through email what each person would bring. Gina of SPCookieQueen has access to the best fruit in the Bay Area and brought 30 pounds of nectarines and Santa Rosa plums along with her jam making prowess. Stephanie of The Baking Barrister brought lots of luscious lemons and sugar. Jean of Lemons and Anchovies shared the most flavorful blueberries along with assorted canning accoutrements. Liren of Kitchen Confidante brought beautiful canning jars along with other goodies. I brought a ton of fresh figs, large canning pot and other pots.

{ Left to right: Gina, Stephanie, Azmina, Me, Jean and Liren }

It would not be a foodie event if there wasn’t an abundance of delicious foods. No one disappointed. From divine salads, to supreme cookies and tasty appetizers – we did not lack for an array of sublime delights. We started the fig jam before diving into the snacks to get one jam going. Typically it takes me over an hour to simply trim and cut the figs – what a terrific treat to have so many hands working at once. This task was a snap!



Along with the Fig Balsamic Jam, we made Vanilla Santa Rosa Plum Jam, Blueberry and Nectarine Jam and Strawberry Lemon Jam.  It was great to have so many hands to help with the endevour.  We went home with lots of jam to enjoy for months ahead and will have fond memories of making it with everyone.


I shared my knowledge of jam by making with the Fig Balsamic Jam along with general things I have learned through the years. Gina is a master jam maker and I learned some new tricks from her. Love the art of continual learning. Here are a few tips from Gina and myself for mastering the art of jam making:
  • A small batch of jam is 3 pounds of fruit with 19 ounces of sugar and 2 ounces of lemon juice. Use a scale to measure the ingredients. This will yield four to five 8 ounce jars.
  • The key to great jam making is the perfect balance of sugar to acid. As the jam begins to thicken, taste to see if acid slightly takes the sweetness of the sugar away. You should still taste sugar but it will be balanced by the acid.
  • An alternative to sterilizing your jars is to do this in the oven. Wash the jars first, then place onto a baking sheet with sides and heat at 225 degrees for 15 minutes. Sterilize the lid with the rubber portion in boiling hot water for 10 minutes.
  • The basic equipment for canning includes: large pot, rack to hold jars, tongs to remove hot jars and towels to cool the jams on the counter.
  • After several batches of jam, using our senses of smell, taste, feel and taste will be your greatest tools  to making perfect jam.

Since it was Sunday, hubby loves a big breakfast and specifically asked for pancakes. He simply likes butter on top of his and that is it. I liked a bit of maple syrup on top. Today, I was inspired by our day of jam making, that I topped it with a large dollop of Fig Balsamic Jam and sliced fresh figs. Simply supreme. All in all, it was a wonderful day with wonderful friends and wonderful food. I have included my recipe for Fig Balsamic Jam. Enjoy!

Fig Balsamic Jam

Makes 12 to 14 pint jars

6 Pounds Fresh Figs – remove stem and cut into quarters
4 ½ Cups Sugar
1 ½ Cups Balsamic Vinegar

Use a large pot. Add all of the above ingredients to the large pot. Stir well to combine all of the ingredients. Place on the stove on high heat and bring to a boil. Once really bubbling lower the heat to medium. The sugar will begin to thicken and the figs will soften. Once the figs are soft, about 45 minutes to one hour. Simple test by pressing the spoon against a fig to the side of the pot. If soft and the liquid is thicker, then it is probably ready.

Remove from the heat and let cool for about 10 to 15 minutes. Using an emulsion blender, puree the jam. If you like it with chunks, then process less.

To process the jam, add to each sterilized jar and wipe around each rim to remove any of the jam that spilled. Put the lid and rim on each jar and tighten, but not too tight. Add each jar to the boiling water of the large pot with tongs and use a canning rack. Process for 10 minutes. Using tongs remove each jar and place onto a towel on the counter. This will prevent the jar from cracking if it hits a cold hard surface. Let cool.

You will hear the lids popping. The popping means the jar is sealed. After an hour, check each jar to ensure you can’t press and hear a popping sound. If you do, it means it did not seal. Simply re-process to obtain a tight seal.

Pancakes

1 C. Flour
1 T. Sugar
2 t. Baking powder
1/4 t. Salt
1 Egg
1 C. Milk
2 T. Vegetable oil

In a mixing bowl add all of the dry ingredients.  In another bowl add the egg and beat, then add the milk and vegetable oil and mix together.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix.  The batter will be lumpy.

Spoon about a 1/4 cup of batter onto a greased hot skillet.  Cook till pancakes are golden brown, turning to cook second side when pancakes have a bubbly surface and slightly dry edges.  Makes 8 to 10 standard size or 36 dollar size pancakes.  Simply double or triple the recipe if you need to make more.

*Pancake recipe from Better Homes and Garden - New Cook Book


Please enjoy these other posts from the "Jamming" bloggers! (Will update the others as they become available)
Jean from Lemon and Anchovies
Azmina from Lawyer Loves Lunch







20 comments:

  1. I am loving these recap posts! Thank you for coming out yesterday and so generously sharing your jam making talents and tools. Your fig balsamic jam is simply spectacular. So spectacular that I'm planning on eating it over ice cream very soon :)

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  2. What a great recap of such a fun afternoon. Thanks for sharing your wonderful fig balsamic jam with us--you know how obsessed I have been since my first taste of it. So nice to see everyone!

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  3. Lisa, it was wonderful to learn from you and Gina, first hand. I love jamming, but it still is with a little trepidation (at least when it comes to sterilization, as you well know by now, LOL). But better yet, it was so good to see you! I have been enjoying my Fig Balsamic Jam all day long :)

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  4. What a fun day!! These pancakes look amazing and though I have yet to make jam, it's on my to-do list. Love the fig-balsamic pairing! :)

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  5. I love this post and photos, so much fun. Wish I was close by you all. The jam and pancakes looks fabulous along with the eats you ladies had too. Thanks for recipe :)

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  6. Lisa, you really do rock at flavor combining! Every time I come here for a visit I drool over what you have in store for us. Fig Balsamic is a just-right blend of sweet, tangy, earthy goodness.
    Your jamming party looks fun!
    Have a great week,
    E

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  7. First off, I'm so jealous that you guys live in such a beautiful state, and are able to meet up! Secondly, I am jealous that you guys made jam! That's on my bucket list as well, but sadly, I have not crossed it out as of yet! Good choice with the fig balsamic. I saw some beautiful black mission figs in the market the other day...maybe this is what I want to make!

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  8. WOW, looks FUN :D
    xx
    http://abudhabifood.blogspot.com

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  9. Fig is way on the top of my favorites food and I sometimes make jam. I never thought about adding balsamic; I´m dying to try this!

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  10. This sounds like a great day! It's amazing how quickly the cooking tasks go when there's a group working together. And, the fig jam on the pancakes looks fantastic!

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  11. Seems like a load of fun! With a group of friends and fellow bloggers, jam making can be a enjoyable job too. Love the recipe!

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  12. I love that you all got together to make jam! I so wish I lived closer, how fun!! This jam sounds amazing!

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  13. sounds like a wonderful gathering of great gals! This jam seems perfect for savory dishes.

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  14. It seems like you all had a WONDERFUL time! I've never made jam before and fig balsamic jam sounds excellent for my first. Cooking is most fun when you can share the joy with others. :-)

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  15. It was so much fun, only wishing we had brought home more jam. He he. I'm going to play with adding the balsamic to some other fruits and see what I can make, thanks for inspiring me and sharing. It was a great way to spend the day.
    -Gina-

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  16. Thank you for destroying my fear of canning. I had a great time and can't wait until we all meet again!

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  17. i'm so so jealous of your jamming day adventure. How fun to get together with other wonderful blogger friends and make delicious jam.

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  18. How fun - it's wonderful that you all get together in friendship (vs. a blogger event) and jam together. One day I'm going to crash the party ;) I haven't talked to Gina in so long - heading over there to say Hi!

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  19. nice posting. thanks for sharing

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  20. Oh my goodness...would have loved to have been there :) Such fun!

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