Quick Tomato Jam for Toast
You can certainly start this “jam” from 2 pounds of fresh tomatoes that you’ve cooked down, but I prefer using leftover marinara sauce (devoid of meat, of course).
1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 large yellow onion, peeled and rough-chopped
2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups leftover marinara sauce
2 cloves
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
splash of balsamic vinegar
Optional: 1/2 tablespoon chopped raisins
1. In a medium sauce pan set over a medium low flame, heat the olive oil until rippling and add the onion. Sprinkle with sugar, combine well, lower the flame, cover, and continue to cook until the onions have become dark and a bit sticky, about 15 minutes (take a peek and stir ever few minutes to keep them from burning or sticking).
2. Add the marinara sauce to the pan, along with the cloves and cinnamon (and raisins, if you’re including them). Combine well, cover, and cook until the mixture has become dense and jammy, about 30 minutes. Check repeatedly to make sure it’s not too dry, and if it is, add a drop of water. Taste for seasoning and finish with a splash of balsamic vinegar.
Leftovers keep well refrigerated in a tightly sealed jar for up to a week.

White Bean Gratin

(Adapted fromĀ The Art of Simple Cooking)

Feel free to make this dish without a pressure cooker; just plan ahead, soak the beans overnight, and cook them for two hours before assembling the dish. The kombu keeps the beans from foaming under pressure. Discard it after using.

1-1/2 cups dried white beans, rinsed

1 2-inch piece of kombu

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

2 shallots, peeled and minced

3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

1 cup fire-roasted canned diced tomatoes

1 sprig fresh thyme

1 bay leaf

salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 cup toasted bread crumbs

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place the beans in a 4 quart pressure cooker, add 4 cups water and a pinch of salt, bring to a boil, cover, and bring up to high pressure and hold it there for 2 minutes. Release the pressure quickly, drain the beans, place them back in the pressure cooker, add 4 cups of fresh water, the kombu, bring to a boil, cover, bring to high pressure and maintain it for 6 minutes. Remove from heat, and let the pressure release naturally. Taste a bean to make sure it’s tender, but not mushy. Drain the beans, reserving the cooking liquid.

2. Meanwhile, in a heavy-weight , oven-proof pan (I prefer cast iron), heat the olive oil over medium heat, until it shimmers. Add the shallots and the garlic, and saute until soft, about eight minutes. Fold in the tomatoes, thyme, and bay, and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat.

3. Fold the cooked beans into the tomato mixture, smooth out in pan, and drizzle with the cooking liquid–just enough to not quite cover the beans. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with the toasted bread crumbs, and bake for 40 minutes. Serve directly out of the pan.



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