December 04, 2014
Quiet kumquat compote
It was a quiet kitchen meditation. Me standing next to the sink at the cutting board with a quart of kumquats. Slicing each one into rings and removing any seeds.
I was making a compote. My first.
As with anything new there is a bit of hesitation and second guessing involved. A watched pot never boils but when it does. I watched as the kumquat rings rolled and fell limp to a mixture of sugar and water. Only. I suppose one could add in other aromatics but I have a tendency to keep things simple. For me it is best.
I leaned over the simmering pot and waved my hand with a flourish, catching the earthy bittersweet scent. Inhaling was glorious and took me on a journey where the mind gets caught in a moment and there is only that moment.
I held my breath until the process was complete. Expediting a bit by removing some of the sugar and water with a small ladle. The ratio wasn't exact. My first.
As I closed the flame and pulled the pot from the burner I couldn't help but feel remarkable and a bit puzzled over how I could have waited so long to cook down fruit with sugar and water.
With the small ladle I transferred the compote into a squat mason jar. The compote filled the jar only halfway. The rest of the jar filled with steam. I leaned over the mixture once again and inhaled. The scent was intoxicating.
I removed the jar from the kitchen counter and placed it onto the kitchen table to cool before placing it into the refrigerator where it would stay until the next morning.
With the day new I opened the jar and scooped out a few rings with a demitasse spoon. It tasted just as it had smelled the day before. Earthy bittersweet. Citrusy. Tart.
I imagined it spooned over yogurt and atop goat cheese spread on a slice of crusty baguette. And now I'm thinking camembert might be nice.