Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Back in Blaak

Are you guys watching "The Fabulous Beekman Boys" on Planet Green? If not, you are SO missing out! It is charming and hilarious, and I envy them so much, because they are living my dream life in a country mansion in upstate New York (downstate from me!): raising animals humanely, making goat's milk soap and goat cheese artistically, gardening organically, and entertaining elegantly. The docu-series is in its second season, but I also highly recommend Josh Kilmer-Purcell's memoir, The Bucolic Plague: How Two Manhattanites Became Gentleman Farmers. Josh's writing is personable and laugh-out-loud funny. It would make a very entertaining beach read.

I'm also very excited that they have a cookbook coming out in the fall called The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook. In the meantime, they have many wonderful-sounding recipes on their website, and I have already whipped up a homemade batch of their savory Blaak onion jam, made from caramelized onions,  balsamic and maple syrup. It was DELICIOUS with crackers and wedge of Dubliner, as I am still on the waiting list for some of their celebrated Beekman 1802 Blaak goat cheese.

Note: I put a big glob of the jam on top of the cheese to try and get a decent picture, but this would be WAY too much to actually eat with one cracker. The Blaak Onion Jam is powerful ju-ju!

Beekman 1802 Blaak Onion Jam

3 cups of hand-chopped onions (chunky)
1 cup of balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup real maple syrup
1 tablespoon of butter
salt and pepper to taste

Caramelize onions in butter until tender and golden brown. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add balsamic vinegar and cook about an hour (or until vinegar thickens.) Add syrup and cook about another hour until mixture thickens. Place in a jar with a sealable lid and process in a hot water bath for ten minutes to preserve for up to a year. Once opened (or if not processed), the mixture needs refrigeration.

Here are some ways to use it:

--An appetizer:
· Slice some thin slices of a baguette and toast until golden brown
· Cut thin slices of pear and coat in a tablespoon or so of brown sugar (set aside)
· Top a baguette slice with goat cheese
· Top with a couple of pear slices
· Top with a dollop of onion jam (not too much – it’s intense)

--A companion to a salad (or an appetizer):
· Use a puff pastry – take 1 sheet and brush with olive oil
· Sprinkle with your favorite herbs (I use rosemary and thyme)
· Spread with onion jam
· Top with chunks of soft goat cheese
· Top with other sheet of puff pastry
· Brush with olive oil, sprinkle with more herbs and coarse salt
· Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes (until golden brown)

--Try in an omelet – farm fresh eggs, goat cheese, tomato, spinach & onion jam

--Use with pork, in a stew, on a burger or a sandwich (great with turkey and melted cheese)

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