Thursday, May 17, 2007

Kid Dinner, Jam, Belle's Buns

The kids feel that it's high time that their dinner be revealed to The World. They know they're in the blog subtitle, and 1) feel I should get to it and post and 2) that their dinner should make a semi-regular appearance. So we made a deal. They do a good job eating the dinner I just cooked them and I will post. Tonight's main course is roasted sausage and potato with parmesan. I toss the sausage and potatoes in olive oil and Volterra's salt mix (which the kids call fancy crazy salt, and yes, I'm revealed once again to have hopped on the tail end of a food fad, this one being over-priced salt mixes) and roast them. And then at the end I grate parmesan over the whole thing and roast it for another 10-15 minutes. Sometimes I put sage in and toss it with the whole thing (my son likes crispy sage leaves), but my massive sage plant kicked it last year, and I've been more sparing with sage while the new plants try and put on some heft. That, and sometimes stealing a bit of sage from my mom (sorry, Mom!).

They don't generally have dessert, but today I bought them a bun at Belle Epicurean , since I had to be downtown (dentist. exciting. woo. hoo.). Our selection from a sticky-bun sort of place is much reduced now that nuts are not an option. There were two kinds of buns without nuts (berry and citrus). I went with the berry for them to split. I went ahead and took a taste- it's got that sticky bun texture, and the tartness of the berry matched nicely against the glazed chewiness. It was a little like a mini berry upside down cake. At least, that's how I'm marketing it to the kids. It was pretty enjoyable, but I don't know that I would go out of my way for it. Although I could see that attitude rapidly changing on a really nasty grey day in the winter. They give the berry a big thumbs up.

I have too much jam in my pantry. That sounds faintly obscene. I mean it in a very literal sense. No nasty subtext. My son and I are jam fiends (both of us are crazy about a bit of toasted baguette slathered with jam for breakfast, thus uniting our love of jam and our love of tasty carbohydrates), particularly for June Taylor's delicious but extremely expensive jams, and most particularly for her Santa Rosa Plum Jam (Conserve. Excuse me.). Her apricot jam is nothing to sniff at. And look, I get that we have conserves and preserves and fruit spreads (and that technically, these are all marginally different), but really, it's all jam, and the other terms are primarily being used to make it sound fancier and jack the price up without consumers flinching too much. Obviously it works on me. At the same time, $10-12 a jar for something my son and I just about chug is, erm... steep. So I am perpetually purchasing jam, in the hopes of finding a less expensive but equally delicious jam. The Harvest Song stuff appears to have taken over the expensive jam sections in grocery stores everywhere. It's pretty solid... but no June Taylor. Oregon Grower's and Shippers is pretty terrific and at $6.50 a jar isn't cheap, but is considerably more affordable. But... they don't seem to make plum jam. June Taylor's Santa Rosa plum conserve is tough to beat in part because it is so deliciously sour. We recently gave another plum jam a go (Branches' plum preserves, pictured against the tough-to-beat June Taylor Santa Rosa plum conserve) and although it is prettily jarred and perfectly nice... it lacks that sour bite that makes June Taylor's irresistible, even at freaking $10 per JAR. The jars are not big. However, if I lived in the Bay area, I would totally sign up for one of her classes (and this despite my fear of canning and preserving). Although not a marmalade class. I hate marmalade.

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