Friday, October 15, 2010

Mixed Results

Well, the double batch (10 half-pints and 4 quarter-pints!) of red pepper jelly I spent much of Monday making... isn't.

Isn't jelly, that is: It doesn't seem to have set up the way my several batches of jalapeno jelly did. At first I didn't worry: The green stuff took almost a full day to set up and stop sloshing around in the jars... but by now it's been 3 days, and it's still not set.

It's tasty enough, though, and it'll still be useful, as a sauce or glaze, or even in many of the same applications as proper jelly... but the fact remains it's more of a viscous, semi-liquid goop than it is jelly.

I don't rightly know why, either: I used a tried-and-true recipe as my base, and the substitutions — red bell peppers for green ones, and red (cayenne and hot Portugal) peppers for jalapenos — seemed straightforward. I used the same amount of sugar and liquid and pectin, and while I did make a double batch, all the ratios stayed the same. Maybe there's something different about the chemistry of the peppers (less natural pectin in the skins? Alton Brown would know). Maybe the amount of pepper solids wasn't right (the recipe specifies number of peppers rather than weight, and that's not too precise). Maybe I just wasn't holding my mouth right as I stirred the pot.

In any case, I've got red pepper glaze for anyone who wants some. Once I figure out ways to use it, you can be sure you'll see it here.

In other, better news, I've committed something vaguely similar to actual cooking: On another recent visit to IndiGo, I tried the Kerala Fish Curry, and as sometimes happens with Indian food, there was a nontrivial amount of sauce left over after I'd finished eating the fish and other solid bits. So I asked them to pack up the sauce for me, and they happily did, throwing in a serving of basmati rice for good measure. So on Tuesday, fresh off the dawning realization that the jelly wasn't happening, I stopped by my local megamart for a few ounces of fresh cod loin and sauteed it with a little minced ginger (an element in the original dish) and some chopped scallions. When the fish was almost done, I added the sauce, which I'd reheated separately, to the pan and cooked for another couple minutes... just winging it... and then dished the resulting reconstituted (refishified?) curry up over the basmati rice.

I can't take credit for how tasty it was — that was all the sauce, attributable to the chefs at IndiGo — but the fact that I'd actually cooked the fish somehow made it far more satisfying than simple leftovers. Small victories, but victories nonetheless, eh?

1 comment:

  1. Off the top of my head, some fruits are higher in pectinase than others, and as all fruits ripen their amounts of pectinase go up. If you've done it before and it came out fine, it may be that your peppers were more ripe than previously.