I had to wake up this morning. I just had to. It was quiet and if you may remember, I love me some quiet mornings. All I could hear was the beautiful sound of the trees blowing in the wind and the sweet singing of the morning birds. And even though I was still tired, I was excited to get up and at ‘em – attempting to slither outta bed without waking up the newborn or the dogs and be able to enjoy some morning moments alone in the kitchen.
Quiet time has become far and few between these days. And it’s not just tossing an extra baby into the mix, though that no doubt adds to the cacophony. Now a days, every drunken hillbilly in the neighborhood wants to loudly celebrate the summer season – night and day. We also had a good ole small town honky tonk parade and animal fair kicking off memorial weekend. There were patriotic american flags passed out for everyone to wave while the firetrucks, floats, marching bands, farm animals and hotrods went by.
My son and husband made sure to get to the parade early enough to assume the front row position while me and baby girl were to meet them shortly before the festivities started. But then, as the moments passed and our girl fell into her drunken breast milk slumber, the house filled with a gorgeous calming silence and I quickly decided to stay home – taking full advantage of it. And the first thing I wanted to do was bake. I guess I’m just the type of gal to which baking soothes.
I am always one to make a fruit crisp with those early season stone fruit that were picked too early to have any real flavor yet. Baking them with a touch of sweetener concentrates there flavor making the natural sweetness caramelize and intensifying in flavor. So I cut up a few tasteless apricots, a large fuji apple, frozen cherries and sprinkled some left over crumble topping I had in the freezer and baked it right up. It turned out wonderful but this isn’t a post about the crisp. This is just a friendly reminder to freeze some extra crisp topping so you can easily put an impromptu dessert together with not so sweet fruit when you have a fleeting quite moment as I did.
This is a post about another impromptu recipe that expands past the dessert realm. Our local farmers market just opened for the season and this is where I found these adorable plump utterly scrumptious tangy kumquats. These little buggers pack quite a punch in mouth smacking tangy ways. Making them into a super easy and quick marmalade adds a bit of zesty sweetness to any baked good, toasted bread, cracker, cheese plate, morning porridge, yogurt or ice cream.
Marmalades and jams classically call for using white sugar so the fruit continues to colorfully shine after its cooked. I used coconut palm sugar here, which is a natural sugar – blond in color – derived from the coconut tree and is lower on the glycemic index as regular sugar, so that is why my marmalade came out so dark. I don’t use white sugar as I prefer to use natural sugars that still retains minerals and don’t effect my blood sugar in the ways white sugar seems to do. I also used less sugar in this recipe as I like to have a bit more tart then sweet but if you prefer it sweeter, use more sugar. Next time I make this, I’m gonna try honey instead of the sugar and throw in a vanilla bean. If you do, let me know how it turns out!
2 heaping cups of kumquats, seeded and sliced
1 – 1 1/2 cups coconut palm sugar
2 cups filtered water
In a large pot, put the sliced kumquats, sugar and water. Bring mixture to a boil over a high flame. Then, reduce flame to medium and lightly boil for about 45 minutes to an hour – stirring occasionally to prevent marmalade from burning.
The marmalade is done when the mixture is thick and coats the back of a spoon. Turn off flame and let mixture rest in the pot for about 10 minutes. Spoon marmalade into a clean airtight glass jar. Enjoy and store in the fridge for a good 2 weeks.