Posts Tagged ‘Jam’

Yay!

OK, so I’m really behind on my posts.  I’ve got a few posts hanging out in the draft section of my dashboard, just waiting for me to put the finishing touches on them.  But, I had to put this post ahead of the rest, because … IT’S TEA TIME!

???????????????????????????????I don’t know if the great minds at Knoshy actually read my blog.  I hope they do.  But, I’ve been mentioning in several box announcement posts about my desire for a tea time box.  They’ve finally given me my heart’s desire!  The theme for this month’s box is Tea Time!

So, the first thing that needs to be in a Tea Time box is tea, right?  And what better company to select a tea from for this box than Steven Smith Teamaker?  There’s a full box of Lord Bergamot (one of my very favorite Earl Grey teas – in the top three – of all time!) and even though they’re sachets – tea tastes better when it’s loose leaf! – I won’t ding ’em for going with the sachets.  I understand … I get it … not a lot of people know what to do with loose leaf tea.

They also included a package of Amsterdam Wafel cookies from Rip Van Wafels.  I’ve had these before, and they’re totally yum.  I’m glad they’re in this box.  There is also a package of my favorite shortbread cookie baker – Lark Fine Foods!  These are Sweet and Savory Olive cookies.  Interesting.

Finally, there’s a jar of You’re My Boy BLUE-berry Bourbon Jam from the Jam Stand.  This sounds like a seriously yummy jam … it would be spectacular on scones.  I might have to make some scones soon to try it out.

I’m thrilled with this month’s box!  Thank you, Knoshy!

cookies2Product Description:

These Jam Sandwich cookies will remind you of holiday baking with your family. The cookie sampler brings you four incredible flavors to try: raspberry lemon, blackberry lime, marionberry rosemary sea salt, and strawberry balsamic marjoram.

I received this sampler basket of cookies in my December Knoshbox; additional sampler baskets can be purchased for a limited time in Knoshbox’s Market.

Tea Suggestion:

I love shortbread cookies with a cup of good, hot black tea, and this English Breakfast tea from Butiki Teas proved to be just the right choice!  The richness of the tea together with the buttery, sumptuous flavor of the cookies was just heavenly!

What I Think:

Oh my goodness!  Is there anything better than a buttery shortbread cookie?  I think – other than peanut butter blossoms – that shortbread might just be my favorite kind of cookie.  And really, peanut butter blossoms are my favorite for sentimental reasons – they remind me of gramma.

But when it comes to the taste my palate craves, it’s butter shortbread cookies all the way!  I just love them.  So rich and delicious … I love the way the cookie just sort of crumbles over the palate and then seems to melt on the tongue, tasting of deliciously sweet butter.  YUM!

So, needless to say, I was thrilled when this cute little basket filled with four shortbread cookies … and because these are jam sandwich cookies that means double the shortbread pleasure.  And with a bakery name like Butter + Love, the buttery part of the shortbread is implied, isn’t it?  I knew I was in for a rich, buttery treat!

cookies
From the top, clockwise: Marionberry Rosemary Sea Salt, Raspberry Lemon, Strawberry Balsamic Marjoram, and Blackberry Lime

The first thing I notice about this sampler is that each of the four cookies are different, so, I consult the Butter + Love website to find out which one was which!  Here are my thoughts on each cookie:

Marionberry Rosemary Sea Salt:  This cookie is a culinary experience in savory and sweet.  The marionberry jam is sweet with just a hint of tartness to it.  I like that I am not noticing a lot of seeds from the marionberry jam here.  The rosemary is baked right in to the cookie, and it delivers a savory taste to the otherwise sweet, almost creamy taste of the shortbread.  Slightly resinous and woodsy tasting, I think that the rosemary gives this gourmet treat an almost rustic kind of taste.  The touch of sea salt here adds not so much of a salty taste (there is a bit of that too, though), and acts more to accentuate the flavors.  It brings out the buttery taste of the shortbread and marionberry and rosemary.

Blackberry Lime:  This was the next cookie I grabbed from the basket.  Another love at first bite!  Here I am able to notice the texture of the cookie better, I think, and I realize that these are not “golden brown” but quite pale.  They look like they might even be slightly underbaked, although they do not taste like it.  No doughy taste, they taste as though they’ve been perfectly cooked.  But what this pale color means is that there is very little crunch or crispy snap to the cookie, instead, it is soft and crumbly.  I like!  I like!  It tastes very fresh and I love the soft texture.  And the blackberry and lime is a compelling contrast of sweet and tart.  A well conceived combination of flavors.

Strawberry Balsamic Marjoram: YUM!  I love this sampler … every single cookie is like a new adventure.  The one thing in common between the four cookies is the cookie itself … the buttery shortbread.  But for the two square cookies – this and the Marionberry Rosemary Sea Salt cookie – there are other ingredients added to the shortbread.  Here, the addition is marjoram.  The marjoram gives the cookie a slightly citrus-y undertone with just a hint of woodsy flavor.  The strawberry balsamic jam is delightfully sweet and tart, and I like that the balsamic is just a hint of flavor, acting more to accentuate the strawberry rather than take on a big presence of its own… except in the aftertaste, where I notice the balsamic more.  This was a really yummy cookie.

Raspberry Lemon: I saved this one for last because I had a feeling it would be my favorite … I love lemon cookies, and I love the combination of raspberry and lemon.  This is delightful!  The raspberry gives just a little bit of sweetness, and the lemon brightens the whole cookie.

My Final Thoughts: 

While the Raspberry Lemon was my favorite of the bunch, I loved every single one of these cookies … and I don’t know that I’d choose one over another!  I’d want to get all four of them again … these are definitely going on my re-order list!

Product Description:

Nothing says Country Summer Fair like cherry pie and barbecue. These fresh organic cherry preserves are amazing on anything from waffles to bbq pork, and we frequently eat them straight out of the jar!

Grown in Washington state, these are some of the best preserves on earth. Lori & Gary Middleton built their business on passion for the land and a promise to create healthy organic foods.

I received this jar of Bing Cherry Sauce and Preserves in my August Knoshbox.

Tea Suggestion:

When I eat this preserves spread on toast, I like to enjoy it with a breakfast-y blend, and one of the best morning/breakfast type blends I’ve come across lately is this Organic Morning’s Journey from Hugo Tea.  It is so rich and smooth, and the natural fruit notes of the tea go together very nicely with the bright, sweet flavor of the bing cherries.

What I Think:

My review for this jar of preserves is long overdue, as I received it in my first Knoshbox.  However, I had received a couple of different boxes around that time that all seemed to have some sort of preserves or spread in it, and I don’t eat that much toast!  So, I needed to wait until my supply of preserves had dwindled somewhat before cracking open another jar.  Actually, I did open this jar a while back, just to try it on the Belgium Waffle (also from Knoshbox), but, after I closed it tightly, I stashed it in the back of the refrigerator so that I could finish off the other jams/jellies/preserves that I had in the fridge.

Enough with the excuses already, right?

This stuff is really good.  As I scoop out a spoonful of it, I can see the huge pieces of bing cherry in there – most of them look like they’re WHOLE, pitted cherries!  This chunkiness makes it a little difficult to spread onto toast (for the purposes of this review, I tried the preserves on a piece of toasted, buttered 8-grain bread), but given that these are big, juicy cherries, I’m not complaining about the ability to spread.  It does spread onto the toast, it just takes a little more effort than with your average jelly.

I also tried this as a sauce.  I warmed it up a little in the microwave, and then topped a slice of pound cake with the warmed sauce.  This was really delicious!  When served over a sweet, rich piece of pound cake, it made the sauce taste even sweeter, so this application is recommended for those with a sweet tooth only!

My Final Thoughts:

This is no average preserves.  I LOVE that it’s a local product, made right here in the state of Washington.  It really tastes like fresh, sweet Bing Cherries that have been pitted and simmered in a light syrup to bring out the natural juices to create a loose preserves.   I like that it’s not too sweet (unless it’s topping something that is already sweet!) because Bing Cherries are typically a sweeter cherry anyway, and if they had used too much sugar to make this preserves it would have ended up like a cloying, candied cherry sauce.  But, that’s not the way this one turned out at all!  This tastes very true to the fruit, and maintains the level of natural sweetness that Bing Cherries have, without being too over the top sweet.  Overall, a very enjoyable preserves.

picture from BigSpoon Jam. Click on the pic to go there!

I received a jar of this jam in my Seattle tasting box from Foodzie, but I’m just getting around to reviewing it now… yes, I’m behind on my reviews.  Sorry!

Product Description:

Local berries star in this perfectly sweet preserve. Super for yogurt, swirl into oatmeal or warm and pour over ice cream. The daring may try muddling or shaking into a mixed drink.

Learn more about BigSpoon Jam on their website.

Tea Suggestion:

Since I typically enjoy jam on toast and when I eat toast, it’s usually breakfast time, it seemed only natural to choose a breakfast-y blend to enjoy with this jam.   This Capital Breakfast blend from Capital Teas is one of the best I’ve tried recently!  It has a very rich flavor with a hint of smokiness that really accentuates the unique flavors within this jam very well.

What I Think:

For the purposes of this review, I sampled this jam on toasted 8 grain bread as well as right off the spoon (it is called “BigSpoon Jam, after all!)

When I first opened this jar, I thought something might be wrong.  This did not look like jam to me.  It looked more like strawberry sauce, like the topping my gramma would make for strawberry shortcake or to ladle on top of morning waffles.

The strawberries are HUGE in this jam, and the rest of the jam is really quite runny, like sauce.  It cannot be spread, like most jams or jellies, because there are the large, whole berries that have been rendered quite soft from the cooking process, and then there is the liquid, which when spooned over the toast, just sort of absorbs into the toast and does not allow itself to be spread.

But that does not mean that it isn’t absolutely delicious – because it is!  The berries are BURSTING with fresh taste, they taste like they are fully-ripened on the vine and full of that delicious strawberry flavor which is accentuated with a touch of vanilla to give it more sweetness and a hint of creaminess too.  The lemon is very slight, just enough to give it an acidic brightness.

Even though this is a very runny jam, it really is delicious and very well balanced.  I would not recommend it for your toast, but instead, do as suggested in the product description (above):  add it to your hot cereal, or perhaps top your ice cream or yogurt with it.

My Final Thoughts:

This is delicious, but it is probably not something I’d buy for myself because it is a bit pricy and as a hot cereal/ice cream/yogurt topper, when used liberally, there would be about four uses in the jar.  That’s a pretty expensive ice cream topper.  Yummy … but there are a lot of other delicious jams out there that are prices a bit more reasonably and this just wouldn’t be worth it to me.   All that said, this addition to the Seattle tasting box certainly did increase the value of the last box I received from Foodzie – and that makes me happy!

Photo from Petit Amuse. Click on the pic to go there.

Product Description:

Thanks to the folks at Caramoomel, you can now have dessert wine any time of the day. This jelly tastes exactly like ice wine because it’s made of ice wine! It would be perfect as a special treat for yourself, an impressive addition to any brunch, or a great gift for any dessert wine lover.

This Ice Wine Jelly is available at Petit Amuse.

Tea Suggestion:

Well, since I found this jelly to be rather enjoyable on my breakfast toast, I decided to enjoy a cup of delicious black tea to go with it.  I selected this Sun Moon Lake Red Tea from The Essence of Tea.  The rich, sweet flavor of the tea made a perfect accompaniment to the wine-y flavors of this jelly.  A really tasty pairing… this is the kind of breakfast I’d enjoy waking up to any day.

What I Think:

I held off trying this for quite a while for a couple of reasons.  The first is that I already have quite a few jellies open in the fridge, and I didn’t want to open another.  But the second reason was probably the main reason:  the idea of a wine-flavored jelly seemed very weird to me.  Now, normally, I jump at the chance to be adventurous when it comes to culinary delights (although there are some things where I draw the line), but for some reason, I just didn’t find the idea of Ice Wine Jelly to be very tasty.

Boy, was I wrong!  This is really very good.

For the purposes of this review, I spread some of this jelly on toasted, buttered 8-grain bread as well as scooped up a dollop of the jelly and ate it on it’s own.  I wanted to get the truest flavor, and I felt like that would deliver.  This tastes like Ice Wine.

Now, a disclaimer:  I don’t know that I’ve ever really tried ice wine.  But I have tasted Ice Wine infused/flavored tea, and this tastes very much the way I remember those teas tasting.  Sweet and grape-y.  Fermented grape.  A hint of grape-ish sourness.  Overall, a very pleasant taste.  This little jar of jelly won’t be in my fridge for long, no more need to worry about having too many jelly/jam jars in the fridge!

My Final Thoughts:

I don’t usually like grape jelly (my least favorite of the jelly selections in the grocery store, I only buy it when we’re on a very tight budget and I’ll be using it for my daughter’s peanut butter and jelly sandwiches), so I am doubly surprised that I am enjoying this as much as I am.  I don’t know that I’d buy it again, because as much as I enjoy it, I find other less expensive jellies to be just as enjoyable.  However, if I were looking for a unique gift for a wine enthusiast on my list, I might get them a jar!

Product Description:

This jam is bright and fruity, a burst of tart-and-sweet classic raspberry flavors with floral violet tones. We use fresh organic raspberries from Yerena Farm and prepare the jam in a way that retains the raspberries’ fresh flavor.

Learn more about Inna Jam on their website.

Tea Suggestion:

I recommend a robust black tea to serve with this jam (although, I think it would be tasty with just about any tea, really!) like this Thirsty Elf Elixir from Damn Fine Tea.  The strong flavors, smoky undertones, and caramel-y sweetness compliment the true fruit flavor of this jam quite nicely.

What I Think:

I typically do not purchase raspberry jam.  It isn’t that I dislike raspberries, in fact, I love them (raspberry + chocolate = one of my favorite all-time flavor combinations).  But what I don’t love is the seeds of raspberries, which seem to get lodged in between the teeth.  And it would seem that with raspberry jam the seeds are very abundant.

Having said that:  this is seriously good jam.

For the purposes of this review, I toasted a slice of 8-grain bread, and topped it lightly with butter, and then spread a generous amount of jam on top.

The raspberry tastes very fresh and bright, and it reminds me of the jam my gramma used to make – she didn’t make raspberry jam, she made ollaberry jam (which is kind of cool since her name was Ola) – but, what makes this jam similar to gramma’s ollaberry jam is the fresh, true-to-fruit flavor.  Very vibrant and flavorful, without being too sweet.

It tastes like fresh, sweet-yet-tart raspberries.  And as I eluded to above, there seems to be very little sugar or other sweeteners added to this.  Yes, it is sweet, but, it tastes like a fruit sweetness, not a sugary sweet sweetness.

It is as if the berries were picked at the peak of freshness and then processed into jam promptly to preserve that fresh, naturally sweet flavor of the berry.  This jam is a celebration of fresh berry flavor, not sugar.

And a bonus:  the seeds are not problem.  Yes, they are there, but they aren’t as course or hard as I’ve experienced with other raspberry jams.  The seeds are soft and they aren’t getting uncomfortably lodged in between my teeth.  I don’t know if that has anything to do with the way the jam has been processed or if it has to do with the actual type of raspberries used in this jam.  I just know that I’m not needing to run to the bathroom to floss my teeth after eating a piece of toast, and I’m very pleased about that.

My Final Thoughts:

This is, without a doubt, the best raspberry jam I’ve ever tasted.  It tastes fresh and flavorful and I’m not having to fish out raspberry seeds from between my teeth.

Product Description:

Bacon. Jam. Need we say more? Josh Henderson simmers sweet onions, balsamic vinegar and, you guessed it, bacon, and then purees it down to a chunky, salty-sweet and irresistible condiment. This spread is good on absolutely everything: stuffed in pork chops, baked in tartlettes, mixed in spinach dip… you get the idea.

Learn more about Skillet Street Food here.

What I Think:

As I mentioned in my article about my Bacon and Bourbon Tasting Box, there were a couple of items in this box that made the decision about which box to choose an easy one.  This is one of those products.  I’ve had this stuff on my mental wish list for months now (actually, it’s probably closer to a year).

So without all the gushing about whether or not it lived up to my expectations (it did), and how much I love this bacon spread (and I do), let me just try to be as objective as I can.  It’s not easy, because I do love this stuff and it has definitely lived up to any and all expectations I had of it.

Upon opening the jar, I was a little surprised by what I saw.  I don’t know exactly what I expected to see, but, this stuff is NOT pretty.  In all honesty, it looks … well, it looks a little like something someone might feed to a dog.  Not really visually appealing. It looks as though this product had been processed in a food processor, and just by looking at it, you can’t really see any evidence that there is bacon and onions in this, because it looks like a well-processed meat product.

Fortunately, it tastes good enough that I can look beyond it’s appearance and appreciate its flavor.

It tastes like smoky bacon, and I can also taste the sweetness from the onions as well as the sweet and slightly sour note from the balsamic vinegar.  (And really, that is what made me want to try this.  Not just the bacon, but that it was a combination of onions, bacon and balsamic vinegar.  Three of my favorite ingredients in one container?  YUM!)  The flavor is rich and sweet and smoky and just flat-out delicious.

I have eaten this on several occasions now, having tried it on burgers, on fried eggs, and even stirred into macaroni and cheese.  And it is so good.

My Final Thoughts:

While it’s not much to look at, it tastes remarkably good.  If you’re a bacon lover, you’ve gotta try this stuff!  As for a tea pairing:  well, I happen to like this with a good roasted Oolong like Zealong Dark from Tula Teas.