Jessica Koslow, Chef + Owner of Sqirl
Creating a culinary style that’s all her own, Jessica Koslow is the owner of the wildly popular Los Angeles eatery, Sqirl. She celebrates real food, innovative dishes, and new California cooking.
The Recipe: Sqirl's Peach + Strawberry Jam
A JAM COLLABORATION WITH QUESTLOVE, IN SUPPORT OF THE EDIBLE SCHOOLYARD
What You're Gonna Need
- 750 g Ripe (not hard) Freestone Yellow Peaches
- 750 g Strawberries (cored and pureed until smooth in a blender – 100% Weight of Peach)
- 930 g Organic unrefined sugar (62% total weight of the fruit)
- 30 g of organic lemon juice (2% total weight of the fruit)
- Wide short sided pot, preferably a Copper Jam Pan, but heavy bottom dutch ovens work great as well.
- Fine Mesh Skimmer (around 4” wide)
- Thermometer (I like the termapen)
- Long-handled spatula
Get Your Peaches Right
This is the interesting part of the recipe, because you’ll need a bit more peach than 750G:
1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Prepare an ice bath in a large non-reactive bowl so that the peaches can be strained out of the hot water and directly into the ice bath.
2. Score the peaches (cut ¼ down) using a pairing knife at the tip. Drop peaches, skin on, directly into the boiling water. Count to 40 seconds.
3. Remove the peaches from the boiling water and place into the ice bath.
4. Once peaches have cooled, peel the skins off. Then cut the peaches in half through the north and south poles, pressing your knife along the seam that runs lengthwise. Since these are freestone fruits, the pit will pop right out.
5. Weigh 750 g out in a large bowl. With washed hands or a potato masher, mash the peach until chunky. Set aside in a large non-reactive bowl. Then go about weighing out the below (all separately). If you have MORE than 750 g use it and follow this simple math:
- Use a 1 x 1 ratio of strawberries (cored and pureed in a blender)
- Weigh out (Total Weight of combined fruit – in this case 1500g) x .62 (62%) = Weight of sugar (930g)
- Weigh out (Total Weight of combined fruit – in this case 1500g) x .02 (2%)= Weight of lemon juice (30g)
- In the bowl with the peaches, add the strawberry puree, weighed sugar and lemon juice. Allow the fruit to macerate for at least 30 minutes. It’s even better to let it sit, covered with parchment directly touching the surface of the fruit, overnight, if you have the luxury of time. Lucky you if you do!
1. Preheat the oven to 225°F (110°C) and get your kitchen ready for canning.
2. Transfer the entire mixture to the jam pot.
3. Cook over high heat, stirring frequently and scraping your spatula along the bottom of the pot. If any white scum rises to the surface, turn off the heat, then quickly skim the scum and turn the heat back on. At first the mixture will look like clumps of fruit, but then as the jam cooks all the clumps will start breaking apart and blending into one another.
4. Once the jam looks thick and glossy and is bubbling evenly use an instant-read thermometer to measure the temperature. Start with the tip of the thermometer on the bottom of the pan. If the bottom of the pan is less than 215°F, then the jam itself cannot be the correct ‘done’ temperature. At around 215°F (102°C), remove from the heat and do a plate test check for doneness. (See below for plate test info) The exact cooking time will depend on the pot you are using, but it usually takes somewhere around 10 to 20 minutes.
5. Pour the jam into a sterilized bucket or pre-warmed sterilized jars, leaving 1/4” inch (6 mm) of headspace. Once cool, place in fridge with lid on. (I’ll give you canning lessons next time..…)
Good To Know
Note on ripe fruit:
Make sure to use ripe, soft fruit. If you use a rock-hard peach, straight off the supermarket shelf, it will not break down and you’ll end up with chunky, hard bits of fruit surrounded by a semi formed jam/syrup situation—not one’s finest hour. So, if you buy firm fruit, eat some fresh and let the rest sit out for a few days until they have softened.
Plate test info:
Stick small ceramic plates in the freezer before cooking the jam. When you think the jam is done, remove a plate from the freezer and spoon a little bit of jam onto one of the frozen plates. Put the plate back in the freezer for 1 minute then set your pointer finger on the plate and slide it upward through the jam. If the jam parts like the Red Sea and furrows like a brow, it’s done.
Jessica's Favorite Things
WORDS BY: TEGAN BUTLER | PHOTOS BY: ANDY NOEL
As a cafe that’s loved for its thoughtful simplicity and subtle ambience of cozy-meets-cool, it’s attention to detail that makes Sqirl one of L.A.’s best settings. Jessica Koslow has a way of making you feel at home with glossy cakes teetering through the glass on the counter, palm-sized mugs of ivory ceramic, and table numbers peppered with brightly colored tarot cards. We spent time at Jessica Koslow’s gorgeous Silver Lake home and saw the same attention to detail—and lucky for us, she also shared a few of her favorite things.
Copper Jam Pot
An example of an online purchase gone oh-so-right, Jessica crafts many of her jam recipes within this brassy bound. The pot is a smaller version of a custom made one she keeps at Sqirl and while she was cooking Peach and Strawberry jam in it, she admiringly said, “It’s beautiful, it’s just special.”
Acne Leather Jacket
“This Acne jacket was one of the first things I splurged on,” said Jessica as her hands glazed over the coveted leather piece. In Los Angeles, a leather jacket is more than a want, it’s a need—and it’s safe to say the team at Acne makes them best.
Sand From Around The World
Collected from her travels from around the globe, these tiny glass jars are corked to seal their authenticity and remind Jessica of her wonderful adventures. “They are really magical and there’s always wonderful stories to tell about them. I got the idea from a friend of mine who is a cranberry farmer in Massachusetts—his mom collected sand in jars. I thought it was so beautiful and such a lovely way to memorialize trips.”
Building Block Backpack
A leather bag that’s highly functional and really, really good looking? That’s what dreams are made of. For a woman on the move, Jessica’s Building Block Backpack is a savior when it comes to her busy schedule and frequent walks to and from Sqirl.
Ceramic Bowl By Peter Shire
Crafted by Jessica’s dear friend and artist Peter Shire, this playfully hand-painted ceramic bowl takes pride of place on a bookshelf within a stone’s throw from her kitchen countertop. “He’s one of two ceramicists in America that is part of the Memphis Movement. This piece is really special to me,” says Jessica lovingly.
Listen In: A Podcast
Squirl And The New California Cooking
WORDS BY: ZARNA SURTI
As much as we love soaking up Saturday and Sunday mornings at Sqirl, it’s (almost) time for us to learn how to cook some of our favorite dishes at home. Enter Jessica Koslow’s debut cookbook: Everything I Want to Eat: Sqirl and the New California Cooking. Landing in bookstores on October 4th, you can pre-order it here now. But until then, we’ll keep heading over to our coveted spot on North Virgil Avenue.
Celebrating real foods, the cookbook features 100+ fresh and healthy recipes, highlighting Jessica’s California cooking style and featuring options for vegetarians, vegans, and more by providing notes and thoughts on how any dish can be modified for specific tastes and dietary needs.
Everything I Want to Eat: Sqirl and the New California Cooking is arranged in seven chapters featuring recipes centered around a key ingredient or theme. There are coveted Sqirl favorites like the Sorrel-Pesto Rice Bowl, Burnt Brioche Toast with House Ricotta and Seasonal Jam, Butternut Squash Latkes with Crème Fraîche and Applesauce, and so much more. If you ask us, October 4th can’t come soon enough.