Last week totally got away from me. I’m sorry that I’ve been absent from my blog. With after work events and weekend outings, I’ve still been eating (duh) but I haven’t had the time to compile the photos and words to share with you.
So what’s been going on? John has received a few Indianapolis Indians tickets through work, so we’ve been to two games now and the third will be on Tuesday. Victory Field is a great stadium, and if you go to a Monday game you can buy hot dogs, popcorn and Cracker Jack’s for one dollar each! And with Indians tickets being $14 online, you can really afford to buy a hat or a t-shirt at the gift shop.
Here’s John and I (he’s wearing his Washington Nationals hat – this was before he purchased an Indians one)
And of course, we had to have the Sun King Brewing beer made specifically for the Indians. It was delicious.
We went to the First Friday Food Truck Fest downtown, where we spent 30 minutes figuring out what truck we wanted to eat from. I ended up getting tacos from Tacos Without Borders, which I actually had earlier in the week because they decided to park outside of my work for lunch! For $3 a taco, you can’t go wrong. The Thai flavors with heat and a crunchy slaw topping were hearty and filling.
Speaking of food trucks, I also had the most delicious fried food I’ve ever had. Tater tots, stuffed with jalapenos and wrapped in bacon. With a side of cheese to dip them in. Hoosier Fat Daddy Bus Cafe was also at work recently, and for $3 you could get five “bacon totties.” Of course, I had to eat one before the photo to make sure they were worth photographing. And they were.
I’ve also been cooking and saving recipes for other places, like Randall Beans and LIN media, which I’ll have on the blog after they’re published. Super secret awesome recipes that I can’t wait to share with you.
That brings me to this jam. The Broad Ripple Farmer’s Market opened two weeks ago, and I’ve been both times to scope out the produce and meat. Phelps Farms is a new vendor this year, and they have 93% lean ground beef. Normally I buy something closer to 90/10 or 80/20, but something told me to try this beef. I did, and for being that lean, this beef is so moist. You’d never know it was that lean. We made tacos with it and we couldn’t stop ourselves from eating away until we had nothing left for the next day’s lunch!
It’s time for rhubarb, but I only saw one vendor with rhubarb at the market. For $4 a bunch, I bought a few stalks to add to the pints of strawberries I had at home. I’ve never worked with rhubarb, but I know how tart and sour it is (just cut into it and take a whiff). Vanilla beans, many cups of sugar and strawberries made me realize I could turn this into jam. Plus, I got to do it all with my friend Yvonne who wanted to learn how to can. Thankfully I had dusted off all the canning equipment and inventoried my supplies so that I could write a summer canning planning post.
A note about this Strawberry Rhubarb Vanilla Jam recipe – rhubarb is not a primary flavor. I think it adds tartness to the jam, but you may not be able to pick it out. Also, we made this with 2 quarts of strawberries and had almost 3 pints. There was about an inch and a half of headspace in the third pint so we didn’t can that one. I altered the recipe to say that you should use 2 1/2 quarts to be safe. I don’t see why any other part of the recipe should be altered. Always taste the jam to make sure it has enough sugar. Your berries may be slightly ripe or very ripe, and that will alter the sweetness.
Strawberry Rhubarb Vanilla Jam
Makes 3 pints
- 2 1/2 quarts strawberries, cleaned, tops removed and halved
- 1 bunch rhubarb, about 5 stalks – cleaned and diced
- 2 vanilla beans, split and seeds scraped
- 5 cups sugar
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 packages of 3-oz liquid pectin (I used CERTO)
In a large dutch oven or stock pot, add the strawberries, rhubarb, vanilla bean pods and the seeds, and 1 cup of sugar. Stir to incorporate and let it macerate for at least 30 minutes. Put a small plate in the refrigerator to chill. (No I’m not joking, you really need to do this).
After the fruit has softened, add the remaining 4 cups of sugar and lemon juice and stir. Heat the fruit over high heat until it comes to a boil.
The jam will start to boil rapidly, so stir frequently and let boil for 15 minutes. If you time it right, you will start sterilizing your jars about halfway into your jam boiling. (Don’t freak out about this, the more you can the better you’ll get at this process).
After the jam has boiled for 15 minutes you can remove the vanilla beans and remove the pot from the heat. Use an immersion blender or a potato masher and mash the fruit until you get the consistency you want. I like jam with a few big pieces of fruit it in. An immersion blender will only take 15-20 seconds to mash like this.
Add the two pouches of pectin and stir. Put the pot back on the heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Now you’ll want to watch your jam to see when it gets to the right consistency. It can take just a few minutes to firm up. To test it, remove the cold plate from your refrigerator and add a dollop of jam to the plate. If the jam stays in place and doesn’t leak all over the plate, it’s ready to be canned.
Using a funnel, scoop the jam into your hot, sterilized pint jars. Wipe the rims clean and add the lid, then the band, and screw on just until it is fingertip tight. Set the pint jars in the boiling water on top of the wire rack and process for 10 minutes. Remove the jars and let cool. Check that they sealed and label accordingly.