I love long weekends. I wish every weekend was a long weekend! I did my normal Saturday morning routine and I came home from the farmers market with flowers, freshly baked bread, and lots of stone fruit (all kinds of nectarines, pluots, plums, and apricots).
This is one of the reasons why I love my local farmers market. Cheap fresh flowers. I got three small bundles of flowers for a whopping $11.
I was also delighted to find mission figs. They just came into season. I bought some and really had no idea what to do with them but I felt the urge to do something a little special. I came across the fig balsamic jam recipe in my cookbook, Ad Hoc at Home. This is my most favorite jam ever. The figs are just delicious and the balsamic vinegar turns into a sweet syrup from the cooking process.
From Ad Hoc at Home and I added minor notes
Makes 2 1/2 cups
2 pounds figs, preferable Black Mission or Kadota, stems removed and coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp black peppercorns, tied into a sachet
Fresh lemon juice
Combine the figs, sugar, balsamic vinegar, and sachet in a large saucepan and attach a candy thermometer to the pan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then lower the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook, stirring to break up the larger pieces of fig, keeping a chunky consistency, until the jam reaches 215 degrees to 220 degrees F (this process took me about 25 minutes). Remove from the heat.
Remove the sachet and stir in lemon juice to taste. Spoon the jam into a canning jar or other storage container, cover, and let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for up to 1 month.
In the picture below on the right, you can see how I made the cheesecloth sachet for the peppercorns. I cut out a small piece of cheesecloth and put the peppercorn in the cheesecloth. Then, I tied the peppercorn and cheesecloth with cooking twine. This allows the pepper flavor to infuse in the jam without the peppercorns actually getting into the jam.
I added the chopped figs, sugar, balsamic vinegar and sachet in the pot.
I always carefully monitor the candy thermometer when I'm making the jam.
I recently received the cutest jam Weck canning jar from my dear friend, Vicki, and decided to put my special fig balsamic jam in it.
While I was making the jam, I was watching Gracie's BFF, Paris, sleep on our couch. I had to take a shot of her because she was in the most awkward position. She made me laugh! Hehe. Anyway, I sliced a little piece of bread, spread the jam on it and topped it with shaved Parmesan Reggiano and walnuts. It was a yummy bite of food and reminded me of Napa.