Signs you probably have been watching too much Top Chef via Hulu recently:
- You’re obsessed with timing and food prep, to the point where you have no issue doing significant prep work on a weekend afternoon because you’re paranoid something is going to happen when you actually get down to cooking dinner for real.
- You really, really want a GIF of Dale Talde yelling “FUCK” after his team lost the mise en place relay race before Wedding Wars because you need it to express your frustration with so many things in life. (Unfortunately it’s not in this clip but this is as close as I could get it.)
- You’re very upset that you can’t make one yourself and be done with it.
- You get very strong inclinations to make everything from Tom Colicchio’s cookbooks.
- You get feelings of anxiety when you go into your new-to-you supermarket because you know if you only had 30 minutes to shop you would be TOAST and not get half of the things you needed.
I’m serious with that last one. After five and a half years at shopping at Fairway, having to adjust to a no-Fairway life has been a bit challenging. We’re fortunate, though, in that we have many different options when it comes to food: there’s a Whole Foods on the other side of the harbor, one of the city-owned markets a block and a half away, and a Harris Teeter about a mile away on the Key Highway. (I can now happily report that no longer is it easier to buy expensive shoes than it is an onion.)
Harris Teeter has been the most pleasant surprise of all of them–while there are things I don’t understand like how they lay out their produce section and why my favorite brand of pasta is significantly more expensive here than it was in Stamford, their seafood selection is pretty great (tiger prawns and head-on shrimp? Yes please!) and after some hunting I can usually find most of the produce I need. They even have an exotic fruit endcap, and when I spotted packs of kumquats I was immediately inspired to make the kumquat-rosemary marmalade from ‘wichcraft I made just over three years ago.
In that post I bemoaned having to seed the damn things, but this time around it didn’t bother me nearly as much because I only focused on taking out the big seeds and left the little ones to mingle with the syrup and crushed black pepper, and I also made the rounds a little thicker than Colicchio prescribes which makes the process slightly easier. This admittedly leaves you with a slightly chunkier compote, but personally I think it makes it easier to serve alongside a goat cheese on a cheese board because it’s tighter than a traditional marmalade. The rosemary and the kumquats blend beautifully together–it’s like tasting a bright and sunny winter morning–and the sweetness from the sugar and fruit is tempered a bit when served alongside the goat cheese.
What really intrigues me about this recipe, though, is that Colicchio says you can use oranges or grapefruit to make it as the rosemary will complement those citrus flavors as well. He doesn’t prescribe how much of either fruit you should use outright, so I’m taking this as a license to experiment a bit, both with the fruit as well as potential cheese pairings. It’s time to elevate my cheese board game and move beyond the realm of honey and roasted garlic, and this marmalade is a perfect place in which to start.
adapted from ‘wichcraft
Makes about a half-cup to 3/4 cup of marmalade
- 18-25 kumquats, washed, sliced into rounds, and seeded (about 3-4 rounds/kumquat)
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon minced rosemary and one sprig rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon coarsely crushed black pepper (add more if you want it a little spicy)
Bring the water and sugar together and stir until dissolved in a medium saucepan. Add the kumquats, rosemary sprig, and pepper and combine well, then bring the saucepan to a simmer and let the mixture simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the kumquats are translucent and the sugar has formed a thin syrup. (I let mine go a little longer and it yielded a tighter, less-drippy sauce, but cook until your preferred level of viscosity.) Add the minced rosemary and let cool, and then transfer to a container to store. Serve with cheese or meat (we had some with thin pork chops) and use within a week or so.