Oatmeal Jam Bars
Fresh & Easy recently for $2.99. What a great deal! I wonder what will become of Tesco's expensive failure in the United States marketplace. I hope the new owner will keep them open as they are convenient stores around town, but my dream is that Fresh & Easy gets married to Trader Joe's.
I like that F&E has name brands, unlike Trader Joe's - dude, sometimes you need to buy Diet Coke for that dinner party and Hansen's soda just ain't gonna cut it (also, as noted above, they have Bonne Maman jam). Unfortunately, F&E's store brands are inferior to Trader Joe's...TJs has excellent buyers who get such unique goods and/or convince name brands to sell under TJs store brands. Sometimes, I like the self-check out at F&E when you have less than 5 items, but it drives me crazy that no one helps when you buy $70 of stuff, and it made me really appreciate TJs efficient cashiers. I like that Fresh & Easy opened stores in more impoverished areas of Los Angeles (where there are not many grocery stores), but I didn't get their decision to stock all the stores with the same products - regardless of the neighborhood demographic. I shopped at the Compton store once and an employee asked me what the Crème fraîche and Brie were - how much of that were they selling in that store? But I did enjoy their in-store "heating up bakery" - they have ovens in the back where they bake frozen par-baked breads and then package for sale (what is that system called? it's very effective in making the place smell good and convincing you to get more carbs in your cart).
Oh, sorry. I digress.
Anyway, the Cherry Preserves is delicious. They are from France, purchased in a formerly English-owned shop in Los Angeles by a Japanese-American gal. Win.
Oatmeal Jam Bars
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma website of Oatmeal-Jam Squares, who adapted from Food Made Fast Series, Desserts, by Elinor Klivans (Oxmoor House, 2007)
12 Tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups (210 grams) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup apricot or other seedless fruit jam (I used one whole jar of Bonne Mamam jam, Cherry Preserves.)
1. Prep a 9-inch square baking pan by lining it with parchment paper or aluminum foil to create a sling for easy removal. Butter or spray the lining.
2. Preheat oven to 325°F.
3. In a food processor, combine the flour, oats, powdered sugar, brown sugar & cinnamon. Add the butter pieces and pulse until the mixture forms fine crumbs.
4. Remove 2 cups of the flour mixture and set aside. Place rest of mixture in the pan and press it down to form the bottom crust.
5. Spread the jam over the crust. An offset spatula works great for this task. Squeeze the reserved mixture in your hands to form small clumps and sprinkle evenly over the jam.
6. Bake until the edges are lightly browned and the jam filling is just beginning to bubble, about 30 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely.
7. Lift the bars from the pan by pulling the parchment or foil sling. Cut squares on a cutting board and enjoy.