Tomato Jam

Ever had that craving for tomatoes in the dead of winter and all that is in the grocery store is orange ping pong balls? Have no fear, gentle reader, there is a way to have the best of both worlds.

Tomato jam captures summer in a jar and is wonderful on toast with a bit of bacon or on grilled cheese or just to brighten dishes that have tomatoes in them.

Tomato Jam

4.5 pounds good ripe tomatoes, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
2 1/2 cups sugar
6 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
3 teaspoons ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/8 teaspoon ground cloves
3 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Combine all ingredients in a heavy medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often.

Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture has the consistency of thick jam, about 2 hours and 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.

For canning: During the cooking of the tomato jam, boil 6 half pint jars for twenty minutes. Leave the jars in the simmering water until ready for use. In a separate saucepan, heat to near boiling new lids. Turn off heat to the saucepan and let lids sit while the jam reduces.

Once the jam is ready, fill jars, leaving about 1/2 inch of space at the top of the jars. Wipe tops and put on lids. Lightly tighten rings and put back into water. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Test each lid to make sure they are sealed. Any unsealed jars should be put in the refrigerator and used within a month. The sealed jars will last about a year, maybe more with careful storage.

Black and Blue Pie

Celebrating summer means enjoying the best of the fruits of the season. This delicious pie uses fresh blackberries and blueberries to make the pie as addicting as crack cocaine. You just can’t stop eating and, if you’re like me, you will lick the plate clean afterwards.

Black and Blue Pie

Frozen pie crust – you’ll need enough for the shell and top
3 cups fresh blueberries
2 cups fresh blackberries
1 cup sugar
4 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 T fresh lemon juice, plus zest from one lemon
1/4 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Put one of the pie dough pieces in a 9 inch pie place.

In a large bowl, combine the berries with sugar, corn starch, lemon juice and zest. Toss gentle to coat the berries. Spoon filling into pie shell.

Cover the berries with the pie dough and cut an ‘X’ in the center. Fold back the points from center and seal triangle points to the pastry with water. Using more water, crimp edges together to form a seal.

Bake for 15 minutes. Lower the temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for 30 minutes. Pull pie out of oven and carefully pour cream into center of the pie. Return to the oven and bake for 20 minutes – juices should be bubbling and top should be golden brown. If crust is getting too brown, cover with foil.

Cool completely and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Camellia Grill

Stopped off at Camellia Grill on Carrollton today after picking some friends up at the airport. It was almost 2:30 when we got there and the place was still pretty packed. We waited about ten minutes outside before coming in to sit on the benches along the wall. About ten minutes later, we were sitting on stools in front of the counter.

I ordered the 6oz cheeseburger, dressed with fries and a chocolate shake. The patty isn’t particularly thick but is all meat and the buttered bun is a nice touch. Consider ordering an extra patty for an additional $2.39. Gillian got the red beans and rice with a hot sausage patty. She told me it was flavorful but without too much heat. Steve got the Chef’s Special Omelette with bacon, ham, potato, onion, American and Swiss cheese, topped with chili and a side of fries. He called it a heart attack on a plate but that didn’t stop him from eating every bite.

Open from 8am to 12am (except on Friday and Saturday when it is open to 2am), this place is a quintessential greasy spoon. The prices are good, the waiters are friendly and the food sticks to your ribs.