Midday Fix: Date jam and quick-pickled eggplant, prepared by The Joys of Jewish Preserving author Emily Paster

Emily Paster

www.westoftheloop.com

To purchase a copy of the book:

The Joys of Jewish Preserving: Modern Recipes with Traditional Roots, for Jams, Pickles, Fruit Butters, and More -- for Holidays and Every Day

Date Jam

Ingredients:
2 lbs Medjool dates
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
zest of 1 orange

Directions:
Pit and chop the dates. In a large saucepan, combine the dates, lemon juice, and cinnamon with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until thickened and the dates have broken down, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the orange zest. You can leave the date jam as is or, if you prefer a smoother texture, puree it using an immersion blender or in a food processor for 20 to 30 seconds. Ladle jam or paste into 2 clean and sterilized pint-sized jars. Store in the refrigerator.

Quick-Pickled Eggplant

Ingredients:
2 medium eggplant, peeled and cubed
1 Tbs kosher salt
2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup white wine vinegar
1 cup water
1 tsp sugar
6 cloves garlic, sliced
3 dried chiles
12 mint leaves

Directions:
Place the eggplant cubes in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Cover with a paper towel and weight down with a plate. Allow the eggplant to drain for 30 minutes. Sterilize 3 pint jars by filling them with boiling water and allowing then to sit for 5 minutes. Pour the water out and allow the jars to air-dry naturally. Keep warm. Meanwhile, bring the vinegars, water, and sugar to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the eggplant and simmer until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the eggplant cubes to the jars. Add 2 cloves of sliced garlic, a dried chile, and 4 mint leaves to each jar. Cover the eggplant cubes with brine, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Allow the jars to cool, cover them, and refrigerate. Allow the eggplant to cure for 2 to 3 days before serving. Pickled eggplant will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks.