foodie friday: mellow-miso apricot jam

Brunch.

Yay or nay?

I feel brunch is one of those things in life, you’re either for it, or against it. There’s no middle ground. There’s no gray area. You either enjoy the idea of having someone make you a sparkly mimosa and poached egg, or you don’t.

Me? I’m on team brunch.

Even though I would much rather cook at home 99% of the time, I do enjoy dining out on Saturday or Sunday late morning. I love sitting at a cozy restaurant sipping freshly pressed dark coffee. I love overhearing people talk about the previous night’s shenanigans. I love how my sunny side up egg oozes  over crispy potatoes. I love the feeling of slowly awaking to the day. Brunch reminds me of the simple pleasures in life.

Today I want to share a recipe with you that could quite possibly bridge the gap between the non-brunch and brunch worlds. I was reading an article in Bon Appetit this past week when I noticed a Denver chef had been highlighted for a certain kind of jam he used in his restaurant, Linger. I have not dined at this trendy restaurant yet, but plan to very soon.

The jam recipe highlighted was an ode to the brunch occasion. The chef made a point to lure in foodie readers by offering a funky twist to the traditional jam – adding miso. He further explained that by keeping apricots in the mix the jam offers the best of the ‘cook at home’ world, as well as the ‘brunch’ world. As you can imagine, my curiosity was piqued when I read through the ingredients – cherries, ginger, bay leaf? Hmmm…could this be a worthy brunch jam?

The next thing I knew I was in my kitchen throwing together ingredients in a large pot and following the simple instructions. Soak. Pour. Add. Simmer. Cool. Could dried apricots and miso (a form of soy) really bring these two worlds together? My mind was screaming hell-to-the-no, while my palate was yearning for a taste.

The verdict?

Simple, but intriguing. The apricots and the cherries are both sweet and tart, and add a wonderful texture to the jam. The miso gives it a tang, while the ginger provides warmth. With few ingredients this jam knows how to jam.

Slather it on a crostini with cream cheese and you have a condiment that could bring nations and ‘brunchers’ together.

What do you say? Brunch 4 life?

Mellow-Miso Apricot Jam (adapted from Bon Appetit)

Makes 2 cups

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2.5 hours

Ingredients:
2 cups dried apricots, chopped
1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped
1/2 dry white wine or chicken stock
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup water
1 whole star anise
1 bay leaf
1 small cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon ginger, grated
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons mellow white miso
cream cheese
crostini

Directions:
Place first six ingredients in a large saucepan; let soak for two hours. Once soaking is complete, place   star anise, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, and ginger into a spice bag (or cheese cloth bundle). Add bag to pan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat; reduce heat to low and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure nothing burns. Stir in miso and continue to cook for another 5 minutes until the jam has thickened. Take out spice bag and cool completely. To serve, spread cream cheese on top of crostini and dollop with jam.