happy birthday, mum ::::
My parents spend every summer in Maine, on the coast, relishing the smell of the sea, pine, and fresh wild blueberries. When I was younger and along for the trip, I would often help my mother make jam with these berries. What she produced was always a dark, dense jam, full of flavor. Deviating from blueberries was occasional: there could be roadside kiosk cherries or raspberries contributing.
This year her time in Maine was truncated, as my dad had the Senior Olympics to medal in, and other goings-on. She is currently here in California visiting me, helping with the things that come with a new baby and two very active young children, besides the laundry and cooking, thankfully. And taking care of things when her sick daughter is pretty much useless. I had aspirations of a fancy cake and post for my mom’s birthday today, but my sinuses, head, and overall malaise are overwhelming my cooking spirit. Just as my parents’ time in Maine was truncated this year, so is my cooking this week.
Just before these downers hit, I made this simple nectarine murabba this past weekend on a whim, again inundated with stone fruit like I was with my recent peach-blueberry pie, and it was a big hit. Eat declared it one of the “Top 5” desserts I’ve made. It’s touted as a pickle of sorts, found in Indian and Pakistani cuisine, but seems more compote-like to me. The hint of rosewater and cardamom with the sweet tang of the nectarine is what won Eat over. I served this in small bowls with delicate spoons. Eat and I agreed, however, that over vanilla ice cream, this would be even more fabulous. We can thank Mom for her canning skills for helping mine (this is a pseudo-canning recipe — truncated, if you will). There are so many things I still can’t do without her, whether I’m feeling ill or not. Thank you, Mum, for all that you do.
Update 8/26/13: I made this murabba again this week and doubled the syrup, it was that good. Not that we didn’t enjoy the nectarines but the syrup with seltzer was, dare I say, even better than the nectarines alone after sampling. A splash of vodka doesn’t hurt either. Eat and I agreed this made a pleasantly awesome drink, refreshing and summery.
One year ago: crack pie
Two years ago: peach puzzle
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 pound nectarines, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (I used the Summer Fire variety)
- 4 cardamom pods
- ¼ teaspoon rosewater
- pinch of kosher salt
- juice of one lemon
- Bring sugar and ½ cup water to a boil in a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Add nectarines and cardamom pods and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
- Remove pan from heat and stir in rosewater, salt, and lemon juice.
- Divide fruit between two half pint glass jars or one pint jar with resealable lids; cover with syrup, reserving excess for a making a rosy nectarine soda or to flavor warm barley tea.* Seal jars with lids. Allow to cool to room temperature and then store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Serve over ice cream, yogurt, or grilled meats.