ideas for using savory jams

My gynecologist is a great guy. Years ago, I went to him to complain to him about my PMS, and after really listening, he asked me a radical question: “What’s good about your PMS?” To make a long story short, he got me to realize that, when I have PMS, I’m actually pretty good at coming up with creative solutions to things that seriously piss me off.

Well, I’m PMSing, and this month I am seriously pissed off by savory jams. People keep giving me otherwise wonderful homemade jams with various spices that I really don’t think belong in jams: ginger, hot pepper, even cloves. Can’t a girl get a jar of something she can use on her morning toast? Apparently not.

If you’re stuck in the same jelly jar as I am, here are some ideas you can use:

Make a Thai-style dipping sauce: This works well for jams that include hot chilis or ginger. Add a little bit of oil (canola or untoasted sesame if you have it), some vinegar (I think rice wine vinegar or champagne vinegar is best for this, but any kind can work), minced garlic, chopped scallion, hot chili paste or seeds, and ginger. Mix it up until it tastes good to you. I like to add a lot of lime juice, too. Then make some simple rice-paper veggie wraps to go with the sauce. (Seriously, making these takes no talent at all. Add chicken, shrimp, or tofu if you want some protein) You can also just saute some chicken or tofu to go with this kind of dipping sauce.

Turn it into a braise: You can do this with good firm tofu, or if you’re not vegan, you can use this with pork tenderloin. Basically you just add some oil until it becomes brushable, and add a bunch of chopped garlic. Braise the tofu with this oily-jam sauce while you grill or fry it, or if you’re doing a pork, slather it all over the tenderloin and bake it.

Smear it on a sandwich: A pork, turkey, or tempeh sandwich can taste really good with a bit of mayo and a generous smear of savory jam. This tastes especially good if you add some thinly sliced red onion and bell pepper. (I think savory jams do not taste good with lettuce or tomato. So please don’t add lettuce or tomato to such a sandwich. At least not at this time of my cycle.)

Serve it up with cornbread and chili: If you’ve made chili for someone who doesn’t like it too spicy, then it’s nice to have a spicy jam to put on some cornbread on the side. The wimp can skip the jam and just enjoy the chili and cornbread, while you can enjoy a little spice with your chili.

Now leave me alone.

 

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