rebecca2.jpg
Photo by Leslie Kelly
Deluxe Foods jam ain't your granny's preserves.
Rebecca Staffel's jam is jelly tight. The former Amazon editor/literary agent launched Deluxe Foods

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Booze In Jam? Hell Yeah!

rebecca2.jpg
Photo by Leslie Kelly
Deluxe Foods jam ain't your granny's preserves.
Rebecca Staffel's jam is jelly tight. The former Amazon editor/literary agent launched Deluxe Foods this summer, following her sticky sweet dream. Her creations show off local fruits, including one old-school take on raspberry that's spiked with kirsch. We'll drink to that! Read part one of this week's Grillaxin Q & A for more.

SW: What are the best sellers so far?

Rebecca: People are crazy for Gingered Rhubarb Jam and Blueberry Hemingway (which features lime and rum), both of which surprise and please me.

SW: You're working out of the kitchen at Picnic. What's your routine?

Rebecca: I work at Picnic on Mondays and Tuesdays when they're closed. Mondays are prep days--I'll chop fruit for five or six hours, then mix it with sugar and lemon juice and let it macerate. Tuesdays, I cook the jams and then jar them up! Cooking only two days a week can make for long days, but it's also nice to compact that time so that I have other days for the rest of my business tasks.

SW: The whole eat-local culinary movement has been simmering in Seattle for years. Do you use local ingredients in your jams?

Rebecca: Absolutely--it's my reason for being. I source all of my fruit (well, except the lemon juice) from Washington farmers. For example, my rhubarb comes from Terrapin Farms in Port Gamble, my apricots and pears and apples are from Harmony Orchards in Tieton, and my raspberries are from Bolles Organic Farm in Monroe.

SW: We love booze in jam! What's your favorite way to enjoy Old Bachelor's? What are ways to enjoy jam beyond toast?

Rebecca: I do, too. I also make Peach Preserves with Vanilla and Bourbon and the aforementioned Blueberry Hemingway with lime and rum. My Old Bachelor's Jam generally ends up on waffles, but we glaze our salmon with Apricot Preserves mixed with mustard and sesame oil, we made pizza last week with Spiced Plum Jam and blue cheese and caramelized onions, and I love Grape Conserve with Walnuts alongside a sheep's milk cheese. Oh, and the Gingered Rhubarb Jam is great with roast pork loin.

SW: Any sticky sweet experiments that have gone wrong?

Rebecca: Alas, jelly without commercial pectin is not easy. I made plum jelly a few weeks ago and it appears to be plum syrup, instead. A few years ago, I over-boiled a batch of raspberry jam and it was so hard that I couldn't scrape it out of the jars. It happens. Then I remind myself that it's just jam.

SW: Jam works great at breakfast and lunch, but what about dinner?

Rebecca: Without a doubt. I nearly always serve interesting jam on a cheese plate for appetizer. In addition to the tasty treats I mentioned above, Blueberry Jam with Basil is delicious swirled into a butter sauce (made with champagne vinegar) and served with halibut. You can glaze tofu or chicken with the Peach Preserves with Bourbon and Vanilla (again, add a little mustard and sesame oil) and grill it. Pear Butter with Vanilla is a delicious companion to pate.

SW: What's in store for you in the future? Where can we buy your stuff?

Rebecca: My vision is to expand into more sauces and chutneys--still fruit-based, but more savory. The very short-term vision is to get online sales up and running before the holidays and get into a few more retail outlets. Right now you can buy at Picnic and at 106 Pine, with more places coming soon.

Check back for part three of this week's Grillaxin for a recipe from Rebecca Staffel.

 
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