Otherwise known as strawberry jam, red hot lava is the brew that spit and singed and marred us last week and we have a collection of festering welts all over our hands and one or two on each of our faces to prove it. We only have ourselves to blame as we volunteered for the job.
As you may already know, Mc Grath Farms offers us their ripe organic harvest and in return we process it into something for them to sell at their farmer's market booths. This month we have received strawberries, lots and lots of strawberries. We first got in 1,000 pounds, then a couple weeks later 800 and a couple days ago Phil Mc Grath told us we should expect another half of a ton. “Is that okay with you?” he asked somewhat apologetically.
“Bring it!” Matt chimed back.
And so he will tomorrow and we shall tackle this job like pirates after a pot of gold ours being the finished product, the jars of jam. There are so many lovely small batch producers of jam, our favorite being Jessica Koslow of Squirl who cooks out of our kitchen in one specialty copper pot with great patience and exquisite attention. We have observed and we have learned from her approach. She pairs strawberry jam with rose or with marjoram and ginger and it is a treasure.
We will pair ours with anything we can get our hands on.
“Matt, demand that Phil gives us lavender with those strawberries, and mint too and rosemary!” I say, my arms waving wildly in an attempt to express urgency and seriousness.
“Sure, no problem.”
“And let’s grab some good balsamic and honey and star anise!"
I plan ahead and delegate at this point: Matt scales out ingredients for the proceeding batches, Tad ties up the various flavorings in cheesecloth, Migs and Spencer stir and skim the three rondos we will have brewing, I sterilize jars and fill them, then Peter wipes them down and we all, each one of us, do hail marys and kiss our fingers in one quick motion as we put the tops on, hoping we have matched the threads of these molten jars with their accompanying lug lids so they don’t explode and sizzle and hiss all over us. It’s a red hot job but somebody’s got to do it.
With every burner on high and thick syrupy fruit ablaze across the line, our kitchen will possess sweltering heat that will challenge our love of food and our will to keep making it but we will survive, we will conquer, we will end the battle with an assortment of beautiful ruby spreads, enough to live off of for the rest of our lives. Thriving on the risk and the excitement of it all, we will dress our wounds and sharpen our knives and wipe our faces to be at the ready for our next culinary adventure.