In Praise of Leftovers has taken a backseat this week to the rigors of catering prep. When I get in the zone, I hardly even have an interest in pulling out the camera. That's serious.
I'm helping my friend Geoff with a gathering he's having in advance of the Organization Development Network conference being held in Seattle this year. This will give me a chance to praise him--I can make food link to anything. But you know that by now.
Geoff and my friend Kathy have just written a book called Extraordinary Groups. What I love about the book (my signed copy is waiting to be read--I'm waiting for a no-children window) is not just its provocative premise--that life is too short to waste in groups that don't fulfill their promise--but that I have seen Kathy and Geoff live out the principles and possibilities in their book. I hate what I call the "keynote speaker syndrome," where you see someone speak or present and you can tell they are not living out what they're presenting. It's become a schtick, something they say but don't experience anymore. In the three years I've known Geoff and Kathy as part of the Community Consulting Partnership, they have exhibited in countless ways what it means to be authentic; to bring one's whole self to a group; to stay curiously and faithfully engaged in service to the community. Dedicating a cranberry fig jam post to them isn't the highest honor they've ever had, I'm sure, but here goes.
This will be on the cheese plate Friday night--delicious with brie, goat cheese, blue cheese, or even cheddar. It's sad that lots of folks only see cranberries in a sauce on an overloaded Thanksgiving table once a year. Come October, I've got them in my freezer all winter and am always finding ways to shove them into the spotlight.
You can also spread this on toast in the morning, appreciating whatever quiet minutes you might have to yourself before you bring your extraordinary self to the extraordinary groups you're creating. The world needs whatever gifts you are bringing.
Cranberry Fig Jam
Makes two cups. The method here is a little strange, mostly because I just made this whole thing up! I cooked it, let it sit overnight in the fridge, then decided it was too chunky, so performed a little food processor magic on it. I love the way it turned out. If you don't have a food processor, just chop your cranberries and figs pretty finely before cooking them. I can't guarantee how that will turn out, though. This is one reason I'm so sad Gourmet (the magazine) is going away. They have test kitchens. I don't. We'll save that grief for another post.
3 1/2 c. fresh or frozen cranberries
12 dried figs, coarsely chopped (I used a cake of Kalamata figs)
1 c. sugar
1 Tb. minced fresh ginger
3/4 c. apple cider
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Cook down until thick, about 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and cool.
Put about 3/4 of the mixture into a food processor with a couple tablespoons of hot water, and pulse until smooth, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a bowl, and mix in the chunkier jam until thoroughly combined.