In sync with the changes in season, Shaun and I spent this past weekend closing a chapter of our lives by packing up his apartment and moving into the little house down the road that will give him, and us, more room to grow. Moving may sometimes seem like a stressful endeavor, but going through closets, bookshelves, and old boxes helped us to slow down and savor the little mementos of our past that remind how far we’ve come as individuals, and as a couple. Tickets to baseball games, race bibs, old photos from our teens, letters from friends, clippings of the Times that inspired us on Sunday mornings past. They were little things that helped us pause and take time to reflect and share our gratitude for all the blessings in our lives. While I was boxing up the kitchen supplies I found an old egg-timer that I had accidently set too close to the open flame of the stove and half-melted into the tile countertop. It was clearly non-functional and why I didn’t just toss it, who knows. But it made me smile – this was the kitchen that Happyolks was born, and even though it was so small we could barely share counter space, it provided us with more memories and laughs than I can count. Late Sunday afternoon after some hardcore deep cleaning, spackling, and trips to Goodwill, we stood in the empty space glad for all that has been and excited for all that is still to come.
Seventy-five percent of our meals this weekend can be found at your local Whole Foods cold case (Golden Beet and Fennel salad for me, Calzones for him) I did get around to experimenting with marmalades and preserves as an excuse to test-drive my new mason jars. Yes, I just used “test drive” and mason jars in the same sentence. First, a Grapefruit Ginger Thyme Marmalade and second, a Strawberry Rhubarb Basil Jam. They’re both sweet, and a little savory. That’s kinda what life feels like right about now around these parts. The marmalade is on the sour side, and I think it pairs well will poultry and mild greens. The jam would be lovely with biscuits or shortcake. —Happyolks
Rinse the strawberries and rhubarb in warm water and veggie spray (even if they’re organic). Remove stems from strawberries, cut large pieces to 1” chunks and add to deep pot. Remove tough ends of rhubarb and chop into ½ inch chunks and add to pot with the strawberries. Cover with 2 cups of water and bring burner to medium heat. Let the mixture simmer down to a near liquid then remove from heat, stir in flax, sugar, lemon juice, zest, and grated ginger and return to a low simmer. Stir off and on for 20 minutes to thicken and to prevent sugars from burning at the bottom of the pot. Remove from heat when the mixture has taken on a jelly-like texture and add the basil. When slightly cooled, spoon the jam into sterilized jars to store in the fridge, or go through the heat bath process for long-term storage.
** I used ground flaxseed as a thickening agent because half-way into the process I realized I didn’t have pectin! At first I thought it was going to be a disaster and that I had just destroyed $6 of fresh strawberries, but it turns out it worked really well! Who couldn’t use a little extra flax in their diets anyway, eh?