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Roasted Strawberry Vanilla Bean Jam

Can I get a show of hands from everybody who likes fruit leathers?  Both of my arms are raised high.  Hands waving, jazz fingers shimmy-ing.  I don't know what it is, but I have always been nuts for the flavor of slow cooked fruit.  That deep, rich, complex flavor that slow roasting coaxes from fruit is like a silent bomb invading your mouth.  I remember a time when I had to hunt down a "natural" food store or a "health food" store to find some of these sheets of tacky fruit.  I have made them at home before, but I get lazy.  And I have to be in the right mood to do it.  I haven't been in the right mood for a number of years.  Fortunately I can find individually wrapped ones in awesome flavors that I never had when I was young (like MANGO!) and good old standby's like strawberry.

Fast forward to the past couple of months.  I've seen some different recipes floating around with the words "roasted strawberries" in them.  I haven't been able to stop the daydreaming.  Roasted strawberries are haunting my thoughts.  Interrupting my menu plans.  Roasted Strawberry Ice Cream.  Roasted Strawberry Muffins.  Roasted Strawberry Cake.  Roasted.  Strawberries.  I give up!  So, when I saw Kim's Fresh Strawberry and Vanilla Jam last week, I knew right then and there that I would be making a version of it...but I would be roasting my strawberries!  So imagine a jam with the concentration of flavor that a fruit leather has and then imagine it flecked with sexy little specks of vanilla.  It's rich and dynamic.  Consider me seduced.
Roasted Strawberry Vanilla Bean Jam  
inspired by/liberally adapted from Jamie Oliver
makes ~1¼ c.

2 lbs. strawberries, hulled & halved
1 vanilla bean
½ c. sugar
freshly squeezed lemon juice
Place your strawberries in a bowl, scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean onto the strawberries, then throw the pod in the bowl, as well.  Add the sugar and stir everything around.  Let sit for ~10 minutes while you preheat your oven to 250° F.
Pour the strawberry mixture out onto a sheet tray that has been lined with foil or parchment in a single layer.  Squeeze about a quarter of a juicy lemon over the top of everything.  Slide into the oven and bake, stirring a couple of times, until the berries are very soft and look a bit withered ~2 hours.
Remove from oven, scrape everything (especially all of the caramelized juices) into a bowl and let cool a bit.  Remove the vanilla bean pod.  Mash everything up with a potato masher for a chunkier jam, or whiz it in the food processor if you like it smoother.  Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a few weeks, if needed.  I LOVE this jam when it's warm, so I heat it up a bit before spreading it on something.
And anybody else's cat this nuts?  He was sleeping.  Even when the hubs and I couldn't stop laughing...uncontrollably...while taking his picture, the tongue stayed out.  Oh yeah, he even woke up and I gave him a good-natured shake/petting, the tongue remained out.  Just looking at the picture now, a giggle or ten escape.
We're making Condiments! at IHCC this week...
I am also sharing this post with:
Katherine Martinelli Friday Blog Hop: Strawberries
weekend cooking strawberry saturday