Updated: New prizes added! Read on.
I don't think any of us is immune to the horrors that are transpiring in Japan in the wake of the massive earthquake and tsunami that struck a few weeks ago. Personally, aside from the deep pathos and dread I feel for the victims of such an inconceivably large disaster, I am also overtaken with a profound sense of helplessness, being thousands of miles away.
Consequently, I was thrilled to hear about a number of fellow food writers, bloggers and enthusiasts rise to the challenge to produce a bake sale on a national scale to raise funds for the cause, all happening on Saturday, April 2. Here in the Bay Area, we have a few events. Down in the South Bay, regular Punk Domestics contributor Paige Bayer of Canning With Kids is organizing an event at Roy's Station in Japantown, and other events will be at Pizzaiolo in Oakland, Bi-Rite in San Francisco and Gioia in Berkeley. Other bake sales are cropping up around the country, so check the map to see if one's near you.
Can't physically make it to a sale? Not to worry. The lovely Sabrina at The Tomato Tart is hosting a virtual bake sale, with lovely handmade delectables available for auction this Wednesday, March 30. And I'm contributing.
I'm not much of a baker, but I've been known to put up a jar or two, and so that's precisely what I'm offering up. And I'm here to tell you that I'm not just putting up the stuff that's collecting dust in the back of my pantry. Oh, no. I wouldn't do that to you. I'm digging deep here, people. I'm emptying my stores (which are fairly low at this point, heading into the season of bounty anew) and offering one each of some of my greatest hits from last year. Did I mention? These are my LAST jars of each of these. It's like watching my children grow up and leave the nest. Here's what I've got:
Apple Habanero Jelly
The sweetness of apples (and, uh, lots of sugar) tempers the volcanic heat of habanero peppers, resulting in a deliciously sweet-hot jelly, perfect with sharp cheddar cheese. The gentle burn at the back of your throat will leave you craving more. And then more.
My friend Anita's recipe worked like a charm for me. Tayberries’ spicy undertones and deep ruby-red color are reminiscent of Peychaud’s bitters, and the floral notes of both ingredients mix and mingle to make one heck of a summer preserve. Truly, you've never tasted anything quite like this (and if you don't bid, you probably never will).
Curried Apple Chutney
I make Kaela's recipe of a classic chutney that delivers a nice balance of sweet-tart-spicy with a warming undertone of curry. It's a miracle I even have a jar left of this, because I could (and do) eat it by the spoonful. But it also makes a lovely condiment for meats (hello, lamb!), and just try it on grilled cheese. Go on, I said try it.
Fig-Fennel Pollen Jam
Fig loves fennel, or so I discovered by adding fennel pollen to a straight-up fig jam. And not just any fennel pollen, but pollen foraged from fennel heads right here in my own neighborhood. Talk about locavore! The two flavors marry fabulously and create something unique together.
AND! Beach Plum Jelly
Sean of Spectacularly Delicious is ponying up four -- yes FOUR -- jars of his foraged beach plum jelly. These feral fruits are foraged right from the tony Hamptons last summer. A rare treat for anyone, but especially if you don't live in the Hamptons! Now how much would you pay?
I know, right? And that's not all -- there's scads of other drool-inducing treats at the auction, so go check them out. But, you know, bid on mine, ok?