Well, I can relax now. Two weeks of crazy travel have come and gone and I can finally kick my feet up for awhile. Wondering where I’ve been? It started with my visit to NYC to tour an assortment of test kitchens, followed immediately by a trip to California where I stayed with my good friend Chung-Ah from Damn Delicious, attended Camp Blogaway, and got to meet one of my favorite bloggers, Jackie from Domestic Fits and The Beeroness. Next I had three days to recover at home before driving to Philadelphia with Sherron from Simply Gourmet where we attended the always amazing Eat Write Retreat. I then turned around and flew directly back to California to spend time at Carmel Valley Ranch with California Strawberries and many more wonderful bloggers. Stay tuned for a recap of my California Strawberries farm and culinary tour!
I had such an amazing time traveling but I have to say I am no jet setter. By the end of the journey I was trying so hard to take in all of the wonderful sights but I was struggling to keep my eyes open. It has taken a few days to recover but now I feel rested and excited to be back in the kitchen. Yesterday I made a spicy strawberry jam inspired by two of the stops on my journey. At Eat Write Retreat, Marisa McClellan of Food in Jars did a skillet jam demo where she made a flavorful strawberry vanilla jam for us to try. I realized I hadn’t made jam in awhile and was eager to make some as soon as I got home. While staying at Carmel Valley Ranch, the chef prepared us a crostini with goat cheese and spicy macerated strawberries that was insanely good. These two stand out moments were combined to make one tasty jam. I think you’ll like it.
Feel free to play around with the spice level. I like a good amount of heat but not so much that it makes my eyes water. I found that 2 serrano peppers with the seeds worked perfectly. You can cut back on the spice by omitting seeds from one or both of the peppers. You can also substitute jalapeno peppers, which are slightly milder. I prefer serranos because I think they have a more consistant heat level. On the other hand, I’ve had some jalapenos that were very hot while others have tasted like green bell peppers.
- 2 pounds fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 2 serrano peppers (jalapeno peppers can be substituted)
- juice from 1 small lemon, approximately 2 tablespoons
- Place strawberries and sugar in a large skillet with the heat turned off. Stir well and allow to sit for at least 10 minutes.This will allow some of the liquid to release from the berries.
- While the strawberries are macerating, dice the peppers finely. If you want less heat, scrape out the seeds before dicing. I left the seeds from both serrano peppers and found the heat level to be pleasant and not overly intense. Stir the peppers and seeds, if using, into the strawberries and sugar. Add the lemon juice.
- Turn the heat to medium and allow the mixture to come to a simmer, stirring frequently. The skillet will slowly fill with more liquid as it releases from the strawberries. Continue stirring the jam as it simmers until most of the liquid has evaporated or thickened up. This may take anywhere from 15-30 minutes. Keep in mind that the jam will continue to thicken once it cools.
- Once the jam is thick, remove it from the heat. Can, freeze or store in the refrigerator for up to one month.
Inspired by a spicy strawberry crostini I was served at Carmel Valley Ranch as well as a skillet jam demonstration at Eat Write Retreat from Food in Jars target=_blank]