Cinco de Mayo Rhubarb Mojitos

I am like… oh, 95% positive that I made the first purchase of the season at Carmel’s Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning.

I had been in Indianapolis Friday night for dinner with friends who were running the next morning in the 500 Festival’s 5k and Mini Marathon.

Hey, girls, heyyy!

Hey, girls, heyyy!

I, however, was not.

I can power through an intense spin class like a champ but am pretty sure that I have not run more than two miles since last summer.

I blame the winter.

So, the girls all rose early to get to the race and I began the drive home. On the way, I stopped in downtown Carmel to check out their Farmer’s Market.

It was opening day of the market for 2014, but I had never been to the market period. I had always heard great things so I was eager to see what they had to offer.

I got there about forty minutes before the market opened thanks to the early race start so I grabbed a Starbucks and brainstormed a few blog ideas in my car while I waited. Ten minutes to open I decided to hop out of my car and see what was going on.

I took a lap around the market and was beyond impressed.

There was so much available, despite the cold, late spring. I even saw tomatoes. Obviously, green house tomatoes. But still… tomatoes!

By the time the mayor began her opening day speech and rang a bell to signal the commence of the market, I was standing underneath a vendor’s tent that was selling vibrant rhubarb and big, green spears of asparagus handing over some cash.

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Note: There’s no prize or celebration for the first purchase of the season. Dang!

They were the two things I was looking for and I couldn’t wait to get them home.

Rhubarb is a perennial vegetable and is typically cooked in sugar to be added to desserts. Rhubarb is typically harvested in mid to late spring. The color of rhubarb is the best. It can be from deep reds to pinks with a little green.

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I had never had rhubarb until I started dating Adam. Rhubarb crisp is one of his families most loved desserts.

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I thought about making the crisp but then remembered that Cinco de Mayo was just around the corner and decided to use the rhubarb to add subtle flavor to one my favorite Mexican vacation cocktails, the mojito.

Mojitos are incredibly refreshing and are not as sweet as a margarita. And, with all the mint left over from the Derby’s Juleps it seemed perfect for Cinco de Mayo!

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Rhubarb Mojito

Rhubarb Syrup:
3 large stalks rhubarb, thinly sliced
1 cup light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 ½ cups water

Place all ingredients in a medium pot, stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about five minutes or until rhubarb is tender.
Strain rhubarb collecting the liquid mixture in a bowl. Clean pot and pour liquid mixture back into pot. Boil over medium heat until liquid becomes a syrup. About fifteen minutes.
Let cool completely before using.

Rhubarb Mojito

6-7 mint leaves, torn
3 tablespoons rhubarb syrup
1 ounce white rum
Club Soda
Fresh lime juice

Add the mint, syrup and rum to tall glass. Stir to combine. Add ice and top with club soda and juice from a lime wedge. Garnish with mint and lime wedge.

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Sunday Funday.

Happy First Football Sunday!

… Or Merry Christmas, if you are speaking with my husband.

Adam looks forward to this day all year long.

With harvest picking up, Sunday’s are his only day to relax and not worry (…too much) about work.

Adam and I have established a little bit of a tradition for early Sunday afternoon football games that date back to my first apartment in Indianapolis. It’s fabulous. We take our time waking up, make brunch, throw something in the crock pot for an early dinner after the game, all while drinking Bloody Mary’s.

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Adam has spent the last few years trying to perfect the Bloody Mary.

And he really has done some research. He has befriended bartenders and expert tailgaters at football games and NASCAR races. (AKA all the professionals in this field.)

Ingredients have included everything from Pepper and Bacon vodka, pickle juice, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, pickled okra, bacon and many others.

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PS- it’s been a really hard job being the taste tester for all these cocktails…

Adam’s grandmother recently shared her recipe for tomato juice with me after seeing how tomatoes were taking over my counter tops. While reading through the ingredients, I thought how it would make a great Bloody Mary base.

When I shared this with Adam, his passion for the perfect Bloody Mary came to life and he instantly got to work canning his own Bloody Mary mix.

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Here is what he did:

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Ingredients:

Approximately 20 Tomatoes (Adam used a few different kinds, including Roma and Beefsteak)
Two cloves garlic, minced
Two yellow onions, minced
Three ribs celery, chopped
1 Bell pepper, chopped
1 Poblano pepper, chopped (Any spicy pepper, like a jalapeno, would work)
1/3 cup prepared horseradish (Not horseradish sauce)
1 ½ teaspoons of crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon Tobasco (Any red pepper sauce could work)
¼ cup sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice
½ tablespoon salt
½ tablespoon celery salt

Heat tomatoes in boiling water for about three minutes. Place immediately into ice water bath. Core, skin and cut tomatoes into wedges.

Add all ingredients, including blanched tomatoes, to a large stock pot. Cook over medium heat. Simmer for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Vegetables should cook down and turn to juice.

Strain (we used a mesh strainer), pushing out as much juice as possible. After straining, return juice to the pot and bring strained tomato juice to a boil.

Put juice into 1-quart jars. (Make sure jars are clean and sanitized before processing begins. Ensure all lids are clean and unused.)
Process in boiling water bath with a half inch of water over the top of the sealed jar for forty minutes.

Remove from water bath and place on cooling rack for at least four hours. Make sure each jar seals. If jar does not seal, consume the mix in the next three days.

Today we tried to Bloody Mary mix for the first time. We mixed in about a shot glass of vodka and a splash of spicy pickle juice.

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Perfectionist Adam said he liked them, but he still needed to work on it as he dug through the fridge for more Tobasco.

... annoying photographer.  I know...

… annoying photographer. I know…

I, however, thought they were great. I loved the fresh flavor. It didn’t taste watered down or too salty. The pickle juice was perfect. There was enough spice to keep it interesting. Perfect.

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And the Colts won! So, who knows?! Maybe this Bloody also has a splash of luck.

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