Reposting this due to Can Jam timeline.
Some days are busier than others. Yesterday was one of them.
Having agreed to participate in the year-long Tigress Jam Can, Lisa and I had eagerly been awaiting our first assignment. Not surprisingly, it was citrus. Although I was strongly tempted by lime, we decided on oranges. In our usual way, rather than just attempt one project, we did 4: Orange Pomander in Brandy, which to be honest took all of 5 minutes, and three marmalades. Luckily, we were joined by my friend Molly and her daughter, who was the perfect playmate and distraction for K. That and the backyard chickens. She even found 2 eggs!
Our three recipes were Blood Orange Marmalade with Port, Orange Marmalade with Rosemary and Orange Marmalade with Whisky, though I admit that in an exhausted haze at the end of the day I omitted whisky and added just a small amount of the brandy we had on hand. I don't can well when exhausted. One of the nicest things about having Molly join us was that she joined right in. We welcomed her to canning with a mandoline and pounds of oranges to slice.
Most marmalade recipes seem similar, juice oranges or other citrus, slice peel, cook down until peel is soft, add sugar and cook for far too long. The Rosemary recipe was a bit different so I'll describe it here. First off, it was from The Herbfarm Cookbook by Jerry Traunfield published March 2000 by Simon and Schuster http://books.simonandschuster.com/Herbfarm-Cookbook/Jerry-Traunfeld/9780684839769
As always, we made some adjustments to the recipe, doubling, substituting and altering as necessary. I'll paste a link to the complete recipe here: http://books.google.com/books?id=ehLer7B408kC&lpg=PA305&dq=orange%20marmalade%20herbfarm&pg=PA305#v=onepage&q=orange%20marmalade%20herbfarm&f=false
Our main variations were first to double the recipe and second to avoid the soaking of the citrus. We did this to enable ourselves to complete the recipe in one day, but as the recipe suggests this step helps to release pectin, I would suggest if you have time to do it. We ended up boiling for much longer than the recipe suggests and I think that the soaking may help. We also used both regular and blood oranges simply because we had some on hand. The other thing that stands out for me on this recipe is that it calls for slicing the oranges on a mandoline, skin and all. It is a different technique than most we looked at. I also think the rosemary adds a fun note and will make it a great foil for poultry or roast pork.
While the pots were still boiling away, I joined the Ridge Twitter Taste Live over at the Tastelive site: http://www.tastelive.com/events/view/1/9/2010 I may be missing someone, but those involved included: @jswineblog @RidgeLS @RickBakas @20dollarwine @enobytes @winebratsf @Oenophilus @dirtysouthwine @marcygordon. I had originally planned to head up and taste in person, but given childcare and canning needs, they graciously shipped the bottles to me. We tasted 4 wines:
2007 Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains Estate
2007 Carignane Buchignani Ranch
2006 Zinfandel Caboose from the Nervo Vineyarde
2007 Lytton Springs.
I had taken the Chardonnay out of the fridge a bit early to allow it to warm up a bit. I found it creamy, with tropical notes and some nutty overtones. Some of those participating picked up more minerality than I did, but that may be due to temperature as they seemed it be drinking it colder than I was.
The Carignane was lovely. I tasted strong blackberry and red fruit notes but felt it has enough structure to carry them off. I have not had many California 100% Carignanes and would be curious to taste others.
The Caboose was much rounder than I expected. I tweeted rich color, fruity, concentrated and smooth. Others said brambly and jammy which I think were great descriptors.
The final wine of the night was the Lytton Springs. This was my highlight of the night and I'm very curious to see how it is tonight after being open a while. This one made me sad we had not paired food and actually led to the ordering of takeout from Pizzaiolo. The blend is 71% zin 23% pet 7% carignane. I found it smooth and elegant. It had good structure and strong but not overwhelming red fruits. A big hit with myself and my marmalade making friends. I wish I had some to age.