January 9th, 2014
Earlier this week I mentioned small steps. Getting back on the horse. A slow and steady return to healthy eating. But, man, is it hard! I still want pie.
I know. It’s out of control. It shouldn’t be possible, but it is!
I. Still. Want. Pie!!
Everything in moderation, so don’t be surprised when you see a pie up in this joint at some point soon. Plus, I have yet to try a recipe from my new Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book and I have to do that soon. In the meantime, I’m trying to moderate myself back to moderation.
I’ve been rocking these detox smoothies for breakfast, keeping dinner light and delicious, and sticking with a light lunch. Mostly that means salad, but this week I was craving more. Salad—and only salad—felt like a shock to the system, and remember slow and steady?
My solution was to whip up this very quick and easy Balsamic Tomato Jam to pack on big flavor without—you guessed it—added fat. (The theme of the week!) It worked like a charm. I’m addicted, and so are the kids.
This rich, tangy spread makes a few slices of turkey on pita heavenly. (Who needs cheese or mayo?) It makes it easy to shake up a thick, satisfying dressing with very little oil. It makes scrambled eggs taste heavenly without added dairy. It makes me happy.
I even spread some in the kiddos’ lunch wraps today. Did you see? (I post every school lunch all year long on the One Hungry Mama Facebook page: Follow along!)
And when I have people over soon, I cannot wait to serve this as a crostini with nothing more than a dollop of homemade ricotta cheese and sprinkle of crunch sea salt. So elegant and both the jam and ricotta require all of 8 minutes of active cooking time to make from scratch.
I make (and am sharing) the recipe in a small batch that yields enough to fill one pint sized mason jar. In my house, we can eat that amount in a week, so there’s no need to go through the canning process. If you don’t think you can go through that amount in a week, half the recipe or split the yield into two jars and process one to keep for several months in your pantry. Processing one small jar is super simple. Here’s a primer on small batch canning from the queen herself, Marisa, of Food In Jars.)
Balsamic Tomato Jam
(Can be shared with kids 6+ mos)*
Makes about 1 pint
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes (note need to crush by hand)
1/2 a tart apple, such as Granny Smith, cored and grated
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1. Empty tomatoes into a medium pot, along with their juices, and crush with your hands. Remove any super tough bits or pieces of skin.
2. Add all other ingredients to the pot and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce to medium low and allow the mixture to simmer for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until thickened to the consistency of jam. Be sure to cool completely before sealing in a container to store in the fridge for up to a week.
*Note: This is a safe—great, even!—spread to share in small quantities with your early eater. Give flavor to steamed rice or quinoa by stirring some in or spread on a piece of small cheese to lend a tangy flavor that will activate your little one’s taste buds!