Just when I thought I had left Mexico for good I am back for just a brief week. It really is a love affair. We are together in fits and starts and “farewell” is only “so long,” even when I want to leave for good. My life and love is in New York. It’s not you, Mexico, it’s me. But yes, you are my muse. You are in my head inspiring dish after dish in my kitchen. And I keep coming back for more.
This red pepper jalapeno jelly is a perfect condiment for my travels lately. We just returned from beautiful Acadia National Park and an east coastal road trip. Life is different on the coast. More rugged, more connected to the rhythm of the tides and beholden to the seasons. Maine is home to the kind of beauty that is so enchanting it’s hard to take in. The kind of beauty that challenges you to make peace with it because it leaves you with a dull ache knowing that this place exists and you can’t see it every day. Also, hello Portland, Maine food mecca for realz. The food is more inventive and fresh than NYC. I’m serious. Go there.
Aside from lobster along the coast there was jam and jelly everywhere. Preserves of all sorts. Actually, near Bar Harbor our neighbor brought by a jar of her pickled zucchini relish and left us some beet greens and cucumbers from her garden. The sun rises earlier in eastern Maine and the warm seasons end more quickly so it’s the feverish time to preserve.
As I unpacked my hiking boots, scraped the dirt off my bike and washed salt from my hair in preparation to return to my stately duties in Mexico I made this delicious jelly to preserve the beauty of the season and this time between places. To add to the mix of locations, as nothing seems static these days, I served it on my favorite cranberry bread from the Russian bakery in Coney Island. It was a gift from Grandma, who measures love through food. I never escape empty handed and I’m never so grateful to receive such gifts.
I’m looking forward to a little sleep, a little routine, a little US Open tennis! I hope you’re all doing okay. We’ll make it through the change of seasons together.
RED PEPPER JALAPENO JELLY
- 2 cups red peppers (about 3 large peppers), finely chopped
- 1 jalalpeno, finely chopped
- 4 cups sugar
- 1cup apple cider vinegar
- 1⁄3cup lemon juice
- 1bottle liquid pectin or one package pectin
Place red peppers, sugar and vinegar in a medium sauce pan; heat rapidly to boiling, stirring continuously. Remove from heat, let stand 15 minutes. Reheat to boiling, add lemon juice. Let it come to a boil, then add the pectin. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Bottle.
Notes: I didn’t really understand the point of pectin until I read this well-informed article from The Kitchn on its uses.
Photos from Maine courtesy of my talented partner in crime.