Friday, October 22, 2010

Anarchy in a Jar. local. handmade. artisanal. urban.

Laena McCarthy of Anarchy in a Jar (photo Zack DeZon)
We're honored to have Anarchy in a Jar's Laena McCarthy at the Farmacy this Saturday, October 22 from 3-5 PM.  Many of you have already tasted Anarchy in a Jar preserves in and about Brooklyn. Some of you may even have requested that the jams be delivered to you by bicycle. (a service Anarchy actually offers). Now you have the opportunity to 'meet the maker', sample seasonable preserves and see why her jams are a staple on our grocery shelves. As a side note, these lovely jars of jams make wonderful gifts to bring to the host, or as a treat for yourself.
 They are simply beautiful to behold.

Anarchy in a Jar preserves
A little back story. (we like a good story)
Laena learned the art of jam making in upstate New York from her mother who taught her to source local ingredients from small farms and her own garden. After traveling around the world for a few years and awakening to the vast array of senses on planet Earth, Laena ended up back in New York at an opportune time, when there is a revived demand for fresh, local, creative food. With help from her team of tasters, fellow food makers and jam fans, she stirs her eclectic experience into the elixirs of the jar. Her website has such a rich and compelling storyline, we hesitate to do much more than point you to her site. There you will see phrases like: 'Anarchy is freedom from food tyranny' or 'the revolution starts in your mouth'. She describes Anarchy as: local. handmade. artisanal. urban. Laena is not just a damn good jam chef, she's thoughtful and dare we say, poetic.

Here's one of Laena's Recipes
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons ice water

Flour for dusting, as needed
1 jar (3/4 cup) preserves (Laena suggests Strawberry Balsamic or Triple Berry. Both are now available now at the Farmacy)

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon sliced almonds, toasted 

Powdered sugar, for dusting, optional


In a large bowl, using a fork, stir together the flour, sugar, lemon zest and salt. Using your fingertips, work in the butter until the dough resembles coarse meal. Make a well in the center and add the ice water 1 tablespoon at a time. Gently blend the ingredients 1 tablespoon at a time until moist clumps form. Gather the dough into a ball and flatten it into a disk. Wrap the disk in plastic and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight.
Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Roll out the dough on a floured surface to an 11-inch round. Transfer the dough onto a heavy baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Stir the lemon juice into the preserve and spread the preserves on top of dough, leaving a 2-inch border. Fold the dough border over the filling to form an 8-inch round, pleating loosely and pinching to seal any cracks in the dough.
Bake the crostata until the crust is golden, 35 to 40 minutes. Allow to cool. Sprinkle with the almonds and dust with the powdered sugar, if you wish. Slide a metal spatula under the crust to free the crostata from the baking sheet and serve.
Note: try making the crostata with two kinds of preserves–it looks pretty!

Note: you can make these as tiny crostata babies instead using the same ingredients and method, but shaping a bunch of small crostata shells. experiment to make your own foodtopia!

We're looking forward to spending the afternoon with Laena. And long after she is gone we'll be carrying her jams on our shelves. They make us happy.

Here's some facts that may interest you:
JELLY is fruit juice and sugar (no chunks)

JAM is made from crushed or ground fruit pulp

PRESERVES are made from whole or chunks of fruit

MARMALADE is a citrus based jelly with pieces of fruit suspended in it (usually citrus peel and juice, but other fruits can be added)

CONSERVES are jams made with a mixture of fruit and nuts (often includes citrus, nuts, and dried fruit).

So now you know.

Fresh: Laena sources her ingredients locally. She uses fresh and seasonal ingredients.

Friendly: Laena recently took us on a 'jam journey', working with us to develop a 'Farmacy Jam'. She's funny as well as friendly, and a pleasure to be with.