In addition to the dried cherries, I’ve recently been enjoying a few other delicious things I preserved this summer. The dried plums are like candy – I still don’t quite understand how each dried quarter plum tastes dozens of times sweeter than a whole plum – and I’ve already written about the success of plum jam as a glaze on Christmas rack of lamb.
Recently, I dipped into the shelf of jars and came up with some apricot preserves from two summers ago, which I made in such abundance in 2011 that I did not bother trying too hard for apricots in 2012. I figured I’d better put this jar to good use, though, so I used them with a pork leg roast I was making. I warmed the preserves up and strained them – the chunkier fruit pieces, I mixed with some garlic and ginger I put into a slit I sliced down the middle of the roast and then strung it up. The rest of the jam, the part that made it through the strainer, I brushed on periodically as the roast cooked.
Was it delicious, yes! Did the glaze that cooked off make a complete disaster out of my roasting dish? Yes! How do real cooks avoid this? I would really like feedback on how to prevent this, or a better way of getting the charred glaze off than scraping it endlessly with a spoon, which is what I resorted to.
I will definitely try to address this next time I glaze a roast, and next time I stuff one, I will also be sure to make my cut go past the center of the roast, so that the stuffing can actually sit in the center and not come out the side. Still delicious, though, especially served with a side of this totally winning Asian-style cabbage salad, which I totally recommend. (From where else but Epicurious?) I skipped the spinach in the recipe, and shredded some red cabbage in with the green cabbage for good color. The dressing is a winner and the toasted sesame seeds are a must.
I also recently put part of a jar of fig preserves to use in a fig-pistachio butter to top a lamb chop. Yum! And very appropriate, because when I first made these, I was trying to make fig butter (like apple butter) but didn’t simmer it long enough. In the recipe I used for the fig-pistachio butter, it just called for adding real butter. These figs were destined to be buttered one way or another. Delicious, especially with this excellent pistachio-beet salad from the same strangely named but reliably tasty site, The Clothes Make the Girl. You can tell it’s good, because I was so busy eating it, I forgot to take a picture until I was halfway done. Yum.