Tuesday, March 23, 2010

MAKING A TZIMMES OF ART AND PRESERVES

This weekend my husband Lanny and I spent the weekend in New York City soaking in the sunshine and culture (with a capital "C") before heading back to the Berkshires and what remains of the squishy season. At the Metropolitan Museum of Art we saw, among other exhibits, the Bronzino drawings . As you might have guessed, the show has absolutely nothing to do with preserving fruits.To the best of my knowledge, Bronzino never painted the craft of making preserves in any of his allegories although he could have put jars of my marmalade in the hands of his multitude of cherubs. Nonetheless, since it is my job here to talk about BERKSHIRE PRESERVES™ and food, I can usefully segue into foods by telling you that the similarity between Agnolo Bronzino and yours truly is the attention we both pay to detail. (His being somewhat more profound than mine). What sets BERKSHIRE PRESERVES marmalades apart from every other marmalade commercially available is our attention to detail and I consider taste to be the first detail to attend to.

Our marmalades - to be followed this summer by other fruit preserves - are hand crafted to retain the distinct flavor and texture of each  fruit enhanced by sugar and not the taste of sugar past which an orange has walked. There are copious amounts of fruit peel in each jar so each spoonful gives you a sensational marmalade moment. We cook the fruit until the flavors are complex and rich and the color dark. . This is not your typical wishy-washy orangey stuff, nor is it for the faint-hearted.

Exciting things are happening this week. There's a terrific article about the launch of BERKSHIRE PRESERVES  featured in this week's issue of  Rural Intelligence .http://www.ruralintelligence.com/index.php/food_section/food_articles_shopping/. On Thursday I'll be giving tastings of our products from 11am to 2pm at Guido's on Rt. 7 in Great Barrington, MA.http://www.guidosfreshmarketplace.com/ Between times I'm finding new and tasty ways to incorporate the marmalades into cooking and baking. If you have any favorite recipes you'd like to share, I'd love to hear about them.

Passover will be celebrated in Jewish households next week. Food plays a quintessential role at Passover, not just a peripheral one as with most holidays. The celebration revolves around the prohibition of certain foods and the specific and ritualized eating of others. When the Seder portion is done and the actual dining begins is the time for my perfect tzimmes.

SWEET POTATO AND APPLE TZIMMES
Serves 8

4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4" cubes
4 large apples, cored and roughly chopped
8 oz. pitted prunes
2/3 c. sweet wine (or orange juice)
1c. BERKSHIRE PRESERVES marmalade - any flavor
1/4 - 1/2c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. freshly grated ginger or 1/2 tsp. ground ginger

Heat oven to 375. Grease a casserole large enough to hold the ingredients.In a bowl combine all the ingredients. Turn them out into the prepared pan. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil or the pan lid and bake in the preheated oven for about 1 hour or until the sweet potatoes and squash are fork tender. Stir before serving.

I hope you have a sweet Passover and a happy spring-like week.

Barbara

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