I don’t think I’ve ever hidden my love for all things baked when it comes to breakfast food. But perhaps it bears repeating, that for breakfasts during the week, I absolutely love anything baked. Okay, maybe not anything. For instance, baked salmon. Nope. I don’t really even like fish much to begin with, but certainly not for breakfast. I suppose, then, that I should clarify my own statement. I mean the realm of baked goods which might include biscuits, scones, bars, or croissants. Things you might find at a bakery in the morning. Though through mostly no fault of my own, these things are provided me at home thanks to Kate.
If I had to venture a guess, I would say that I probably prefer baked goods over other breakfast foods for the convenience of them. That is, assuming they’re already made. I like to streamline things for myself in the mornings so the proper amount of time can be spent lounging and waking up before I have to head out the door to work. Which for anything Kate’s made usually just involves opening the container and taking out my allotted quantity of whatever is playing the part of breakfast for the week. If I’m feeling particularly free with my time I’ll even drag a plate out of the cupboard and slap it on there for the sake of manners. And if I’m left with an even larger surplus of time, I’ll even heat up whatever it is I’m eating in the microwave for a few seconds. I’ll only rarely add butter or jam to the mix, mostly because I just don’t need them.
I do, however, make an exception for one particular jam that Kate makes, which is absolutely spectacular as a breakfast accompaniment. I mentioned it before, in a long ago post that just happened to be the very first one I ever did for this blog- Of Sauces and Jams. I still find myself disbelieving that I like anything with rosemary in it that much. Though as Kate is fond of reminding me every time I say that, it appears I’m all talk since I do like almost everything she makes with rosemary in it. I guess I dislike it more in theory than practice. Which makes my brain hurt trying to figure out an explanation for. Not that it needs to be explained. Some things just are. I’ll probably continue to bad-mouth rosemary whenever I’m not eating it. But I have digressed for an entire paragraph now, so I’ll get back to the matter at hand, the strawberry and rosemary jam that Kate developed after having something similar on a trip to the Dominican Republic for our tenth wedding anniversary.
I don’t jump up and down with excitement for many foods these days, mostly because if I did that for everything I liked I’d probably be wearing through the floor of our kitchen. But no matter how many times I have it, I will probably always get excited about this jam. It transcends the category of mere jam or jelly. It could practically stand on its own in fact. I would absolutely eat it with a spoon if no other vehicle for delivery to my mouth existed. Gladly, though, I have always had something at hand on which to put the jam. And this is one of the few exceptions for my morning routine. When this jam is in the refrigerator, time is always made to add it to whatever I happen to be eating.
In recent memory, I’ve been able to add two new breakfast options for which this jam is particularly well suited. A while ago my friend Brooke, in her obsession with all things Alton Brown, brought some of his biscuits to work for a potluck. I was immediately in love with them. They were buttery, flaky, light, and everything else a good biscuit should be. I asked Brooke if she could give me the recipe, and she gladly shared it with me. I think I even tried making them myself within a week, to go with a dinner I believe. But circumstances later caused me to believe that these would also make a perfect breakfast, given the right addition, which turned out to be the strawberry rosemary jam. Kate was going out of town for a week in which I would have to handle my own food preparation, something I’m enjoying more and more of late in small doses. At any rate, I asked her to make me some of the jam, and then I made myself a batch of the biscuits. I think that was the first of about three weeks straight I had the same thing for breakfast, two biscuits covered in jam. They were heavenly together. The buttery warm biscuits and the savory sweet jam. I almost lack words to describe how good they were together.
Then, this week for breakfast, Kate found another use for the jam. One to which it also seems to be particularly well suited. She has been making oat-based bars for us occasionally for breakfast recently. Usually these have a jam of raspberry that she makes herself to put between layers of oats, and then bakes into a semi-soft bar. They’re great. They last all week from a dish of bars the size of a large lasagna pan. And I would have gone on thinking these were a great breakfast if it hadn’t been for Kate one-upping herself this week by substituting the usual raspberry for the aforementioned strawberry jam. Let me tell you, the strawberry jam just made the bars that much more awesome. I’ve been struggling the most this week with portion control because of this. Kate didn’t cut the bars up herself as usual, but has left them in the dish to be cut for each breakfast. And I love these so much that I have had to resist eating half of the dish at one time. But I’ve been good, and haven’t taken more than a granola bar size portion for myself each morning this week. But I have perhaps savored my breakfast a bit more than usual.
I can only hope that our farm box this summer offers some fresh locally grown strawberries with which to make this jam again soon. We are very near heading into the territory where most of what we eat will be farm fresh, which means we will be at the culinary mercy of the growing season in Illinois. If I was a praying man, I would pray for good strawberry growing weather.