Hello there! It's Monday. I've been rewriting, and deleting, and thinking nonstop about posting since Thursday. I've missed writing.
I'll cut to the chase. I'm in Montreal. To stay. (!) I took the train on Thursday. The route cuts ever-so-slowly through small-town upstate New York, passing barns with peeling paint and snow-bathed farms so quintessential that more than one passenger sat pressed to their window, camera in hand.
Montreal is lovely - wintery, frigid, but sunny, and happy. I have yet to see the rut of February that seemed to plague the entire city the past couple of years. My days have been full - of saying hi, scouring Craigslist jobs, organizing, and not nearly enough cooking, writing, or reading. This week I begin volunteering here, in the kitchen and as a deliverer, and I've decided to bake a bread a week. Though things are beginning to come together, for the past few days I've felt in a peculiar transition, as if I'm reconciling my life here in the fall with what I've done since then, especially with the very comfortable routine I had created in New Jersey.
Of course, each day is more regular than the one before. I spent a bit of yesterday morning in the kitchen. Inspired by the sweetness of oranges lately, and my apparent penchant for all foods orange, I made this orange jam, which, though it has the sweetness and taste of jam, has a texture more akin to that of a chutney. Regardless, it's delicious on bread, in yogurt, or on its own, and making it made me feel good.
2 tbs fresh coriander
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c high-quality orange juice
juice of 1/2 lemon
seeds from the lemon
1- 2 tbsp diced orange peel (optional)
Cut the oranges into quarters, saving as much juice as possible. Peel each quarter and cut into small bits, reserving as much of the juice as you can. Remove some or all of the pith if you like, but save the seeds if there are any. The pith won't dissolve much as you cook the oranges. I left a substantial amount on for the texture. Tie the seeds in a cheesecloth. They add pectin as you cook the fruit down.
Thoroughly wash the peel of one orange quarter. Dry, and finely chop, removing the pith. Remove the seeds from the lemon and tie in a cheesecloth with the orange seeds if there are any or on their own. Finely chop the coriander.
Slowly bring the oranges, lemon and lemon juice, orange peel (if using), and seeds to light boil a medium-sized saucepan, stirring constantly. Over medium or medium-high heat, mix and mash the oranges as they bubble and breakdown. Add the sugar, using a little more or less depending on the sweetness of the fruit. Cook, stirring constantly for about 30 minutes until the fruit has broken down almost entirely and there is a chunky jam-like consistency. Remove the seed bag. You can can this, or just pour into a glass jar and let cool before storing refrigerated for up to one week.
note: the orange peel adds a bitterness to the jam, so use accordingly