For all of November, and most of October if I’m honest, I’ve had a terrible bout of writer’s block. It’s not lack of topics, the “what,” that has me flummoxed; there are plenty of topics – big topics, sensitive topics and juicy topics. However, approaching them, the “how,” has confounded me for weeks.
So, as we move into December, I find myself tardy on both this recipe’s relevancy and the announcement of my not-so-recent career resignation after 15 years. I’ve spent the majority of the last two and a half weeks in my bathrobe without any rush to return to the workforce (or post, obviously).
I managed to foil the neighborhood scavengers, thwart (somewhat) a very determined and gluttonous squirrel and even impeded an onslaught of Japanese beetles to safeguard the makings for a double-batch of my vanilla-scented nectarine preserves made from home harvested fruit. Victory (and its spoils) are mine!
The front yard nectarines are days away from exploding into ripeness. It’s a yearly race to harvest at peaking ripeness, but before the neighbors and dog walkers notice the dangling juicy orbs, denuding the branches of their bounty. In preparation for a potential nectarine jam session (of the Ball jar kind), I’ve been limbering up with a few marmalades. Last weekend was a batch of my favorite mouthwateringly tart lemon marmalade, from Susan Feniger’s Street cookbook. Today, I tested a savory Fennel-Orange Marmalade, only slightly adapted from Cat Cora’s recipe. Almost chutney-like in consistency and flavor, I’m envisioning spoonfuls crowning halibut steaks for July 4th.
Fennel Orange Marmalade
Makes two ½ pint jars Slightly adapted from Cat Cora
Fennel Bulbs, thinly sliced and cored
Small Onion, thinly sliced
Orange, zested, supreme, and chopped
Fresh Ginger, grated (I didn’t include, but think it would benefit from the ginger’s bite.)
Chopped fresh Thyme or to taste
Heat fennel, onion, sugar, juices, and water in a saucepan and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Add zest, chopped orange, and ginger. Simmer for another 15-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Watch closely toward the end to ensure marmalade doesn’t burn. Once thickened and gelled, take off heat, add salt and thyme. Use your standard canning process if not consuming within two weeks.