Spicy Tomato Chutney

Spicy Tomato Chutney

Spicy Tomato Chutney

 

We didn’t have a whole lot of luck with our tomato plants this year. It was such a wet, unseasonably cool Summer that they didn’t stand a chance. They would get decent sized and green, but few got enough sun to finish ripening. Out of about 12 plants, we got enough tomatoes for one session in the dehydrator, which we ended up eating like candyย  and enough for this batch of chutney. I can sincerely say that this chutney was worth the wait for ripe tomatoes.

I’ve been canning for about 17 years or so now. I tend to stick to jams, relishes and chutneys. One of these days I’ll branch out and do pressure canning. I have the canner, just not the motivation or expendable cash. I keep saying that if I come across some fantastic sale on meat, I’ll can some, but who ever finds a fantastic sale on meat nowadays? Most of us are instead practicing meatless dinners a time or two a week because it’s so darned expensive to buy meat of any kind.

Is it horrid of me that I am enjoying this chutney so much that I keep going over to the bowl of it that is in the photo and snagging bites? Hehe This has a wonderfully unique taste in comparison to other, fruitier chutneys I have made in the past. You have the sweet acidity of the tomatoes, the bite from the peppers and garlic, the tang of the vinegar…. all melded together into a textural delight. Darn, I’m just soooo poetic today ๐Ÿ˜›

This has a decent amount of ingredients, but nothing hard to find and it all just goes into the pot together and cooks down, so it’s a fairly low maintenance recipe. I say again, as I’ve said before about canning recipes, practice safe canning, please. Do NOT listen to those who tell you it’s ok to just ladle the food into a jar, put the lid on and go on as if that’s sufficient for sealing. It’s totally NOT good enough. Even if the can seems to seal, you don’t know that it’s vacuum sealed, nor that any possible bacteria were killed. Never take that chance with your own health or that of your family. It’s too easy to do it right. ๐Ÿ™‚ Here’s a link to show you how to properly can if you’re new to it. If you want to make this but don’t want to can it, you can also freeze portions of it. Just thaw when you’re ready to use some.

Water Bath Canning

This chutney is wonderful with any Indian or Thai dish, as well as with any fattier cut of meat. The acidity of the chutney helps to cut the richness of the meat. It’s also great just off a spoon, but I am also a wee bit offbeat ๐Ÿ˜€

Spicy Tomato Chutney

  • 5 lbs tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped (I like to leave them in fairly decent sized chop. They add a nice look to the finished product.)
  • 2 large onions, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher or pickling salt (non iodized)
  • juice and zest of one small lime
  • juice and zest of one small orange
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes or crushed dried chiles (use more or less as desired, depending on how spicy or not you prefer it)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger (same chop idea here as for the garlic. Chutney should have texture, not be smooth.)
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  1. Put all ingredients into a large, deep pot and stir well to combine.
  2. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Once it gets to a boil, turn your heat down to a barely medium setting (I do this at 4 on an electric stove) and let it simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
  3. Cook until it has reduced to about half of it’s original amount and has become thick and rich looking, about 2 hours. If it starts to stick to the bottom of the pot at all, lower your heat a tad and make sure you’re stirring enough. Keep in mind that it will continue to thick a LITTLE bit even after you can it so don’t get it too thick during cooking. You want a product that is about the consistency of a loose preserve.
  4. Can as per the above directions (I got 4 1/2 pints out of this), leaving 1/4 inch headspace and boil in a water bath for ten minutes. When done, remove to a towel and leave undisturbed until cool. Check your seal and if any jars didn’t seal, store them in the fridge. The sealed jars can be stored in a cool, dark place for quite a long time.

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Pasta With Butter Roasted Tomato Sauce

Pasta With Butter Roasted Tomato Sauce

Pasta With Butter Roasted Tomato Sauce




Sometimes, you just come upon (and yet still change lol) a recipe that is absolutely amazing. I was looking through an old issue of Bon Appetit (I have approximately 40,00000 old magazines. It’s a sickness.) when I saw the recipe that has ultimately ended up here with all of its changes. As it was, while it was definitely intriguing; I mean….butter… But it seemed….lacking, rather boring. But still interesting enough to try. I had never even considered making pasta sauce in the oven. But what a game changer this is. No splatters all over the stove and oh…my…gosh….the flavor of this is fantastic. The tomatoes that roast in all their juices in the oven, mixed with the butter, the sausage (my addition), the garlic, the onions, oregano and basil (also mine)…honest. You want to try this recipe. Trust me on this one. You throw this all together after cooking the sausage and that’s it… just cook it. You end up with a thick, rich, full of flavor pasta sauce and no messy stove top. Win Win.

My husbands reaction (he was skeptical) was “you can make this any time you want”. Even my five year old ate all of his serving. One thing. I am posting this how I made it. The original was half the amount of tomatoes. I doubled it and that was just enough to serve five of us with my husband having two servings.ย  I did however, not use the full amount of butter doubled. It would have been a full stick and at 3/4 of a stick, it seemed like more than enough.

Go. Make this. Thank me later.

You know the drill….. ๐Ÿ™‚

Pasta With Butter Roasted Tomato Sauce

  • 2 28 ounce cans whole peeled tomatoes
  • 10 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 large onion, diced (about 1 1/2 to 2 cups)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, sliced
  • 1 lb Italian sausage links
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (cuts the acidity of the tomatoes)
  • black pepper to taste
  • cooked pasta (I used 2 12 ounces boxes of spaghetti)
  • Parmesan cheese for serving
  1. Cook your sausage in a pot of simmering water until tender. Then drain the water, lay the links in the pan and brown them all over. Let cool until easily handled and then cut into bite sized slices.
  2. Preheat your oven to 400. Dump the tomatoes in a large deep baking pan and break them up. Easiest way I’ve found over the years is to pierce the back of the tomatoes with your finger cause if you try to just break them, you’ll end up with a face full of juice. Add in the rest of the ingredients, ending with the butter.ย  Stir well to mix.

    This is what it looks like before you put it in the oven

    This is what it looks like before you put it in the oven

  3. Bake at 400 for 35 to 50 minutes or until the sauce has gotten almost jammy in consistency, stirring once or twice during cooking. If you like a looser pasta sauce, take it out sooner. If you like a thicker one, cook longer. Simple as that.

    Here's what it looks like when it comes out (I know; the photo stinks)

    Here’s what it looks like when it comes out (I know; the photo stinks)

  4. Serve over pasta with Parmesan cheese.

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Yes, We Have No……Tomatoes.

Hard to make a bowl of roasted tomatoes look good. You just have to trust me ๐Ÿ˜€

 

When I was a kid, I was allergic to tomatoes. I was also allergic to strawberries which back then, bothered me a great deal more than the tomatoes, even if tomatoes ARE a fruit. You try being a little kid and not allowed a peanut butter and strawberry preserves sandwich. *sobs piteously* I guess I must have outgrown that one fairly young though because I remember eating strawberry things in my childhood. Oh well… moving on. Tomatoes. Allergy. Hives. Itch. Ouch. Mom!

The tomato thing lasted into early adulthood then just disappeared as childhood food allergies can sometimes do. It didn’t hurt that I didn’t really like tomatoes anyway other than ketchup which didn’t seem to bother me. It was only raw maters and I was happy without them. Such a young stupid pup I was. I think growing up in Chicago the tomatoes I had were hard store bought rocks so I thought they all tasted like that. This was before the day of farmers markets in cities, of CSA’s, Heirloom tomatoes, etc etc etc. If you didn’t live in the country and/or grow your own, you got pale pinkish rocks for tomatoes. End of discussion.

As I grew older and started cooking more outside my comfort zone, I was forced by the circumstances of cooking to try tomatoes. Surprise surprise (please use a Gomer Pyle voice when you say that; it’s much more fun), I liked them. Still not the type to really pick up a tomato and salt it and eat it (though I get in the mood at times) but I love to grow them, I love to cook with them and I love to eat them in salads and other ways. But my favorite way to eat plain tomatoes is oven roasted. I love love love them. Did I mention that I love them? I have kind of given a condensed version of this recipe in This Post but it was tucked into a separate recipe so I wanted to give it by itself. The recipe being, btw, oven roasted tomatoes. These are soooooo delicious made this way. The flavor is concentrated but they aren’t as chewy as sun dried which means they make a good accompaniment to things like sandwiches and salads. You can eat them without trying to take a bite and having the whole piece of tomato pull out BECAUSE they aren’t so chewy. They are also extremely simple. If you can slice a tomato and turn on an oven, you can make these. The possibilities for uses are endless. Where ever you would use sun dried maters, you can use these yet you can use them MORE places because, as I mentioned (because I’m repetitive like that) they aren’t so darned chewy. They are yummy just eaten out of hand…erhmmm… bowl… and you can’t get much healthier snack wise than something like this.

Oven Roasted Herbed Tomatoes

  • 1 pound Roma (Plum) tomatoes, sliced in 1/4 inch slices (You can of course use more or less tomatoes. I tend to do them about a pound at a time.)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons McCormick Grill Mates Garlic and Onion Medley Seasoning (don’t use garlic and onion powders. Part of the tastiness of this comes from the caramelized pieces of garlic and onion)
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed Rosemary
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Line a 13×9 inch baking sheet with foil (trust me… use the foil.)
  3. In a large bowl, CAREFULLY toss the sliced tomatoes with the olive oil.
  4. Put the tomatoes in a single layer on the baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with the garlic/onion medley and the rosemary.
  • I had some cherry & grape tomatoes I needed to use so I just tossed them in there too.
ย ย  5. Roast the maters at 325 degrees until they are slightly shriveled (remember; we’re not going for the tough chewiness of sun dried or many hours of 200 or so degree heat like some oven roasted tomatoes. These will still be soft and pliable.) but still moist, about 2 to 2 1/2 hours. You’ll end up with a sheet of this-
6. Let cool and then transfer them to your mouth a bowl. Store covered in the fridge.

Sometimes Simple Is Best- Even When It Has A Touch Of Fancy

Some of these with a glass of Shiraz and it was a wonderful meal

I’ve never been a fancy person. I mean, for heavens sake, I openly admit that two of my favorite foods are Cheetos and Twinkies. I’d say that qualifies as simple tastes. I also like Liverwurst, pickled herring and ham and cheese sandwiches (those rare times I even eat sandwiches that aren’t hot and gooey) on smooshy white bread spread with butter. Not sure if I just qualified myself as having simple tastes or just never having progressed past age six in my eating habits. ๐Ÿ˜›

But I do prefer simple foods for the most part. I have the worlds worst appetite especially for a heavy woman and forget to eat half the time. Were it not for my husbands prodding, I would probably live on tea, yogurt and the occasional lean cuisine meal. Give me some cheese, some bread, (a bottle of wine and thou? sorry; tangent) fruit and I’ll be happy unless it’s one of those times when I have a craving for a 20 inch thick ribeye steak cooked to a perfect medium rare.

So what I’ve made today appeals to me a lot on both the simple level and the not too much level and I hope it does to you also. Like the post title says, it has a bit of fancy to it. This comes with goat cheese which unless one owns a goat and makes it oneself is fancy based on price alone if nothing else (thank God for finding it on sale!). But otherwise, this is a simple homey meal (or appetizer) that is fairly quick to throw together and yet fancy enough to serve to guests. That goat cheese thing does that. Makes people think it’s fancy when in reality goat cheese has been a source of food for many many centuries.

Give this a try. I think you’ll like it. ๐Ÿ™‚ The creamy slightly salty cheese with the fresh Spinach and the sweet caramelized tomatoes all atop of piece of crusty French bread is pure Heaven.

Goat Cheese, Spinach & Oven Roasted Tomatoes Bruschetta

  • 1 loaf French Baguette
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • 1/2 pound oven roasted cherry or grape tomatoes (the store bought ones in oil are fine if you prefer)
  • 1 6 ounce bag prewashed baby spinach leaves, stems removed and thoroughly dried
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil if roasting your tomatoes yourself
  1. If roasting the tomatoes yourself, preheat oven to 325. Slice the tomatoes in halves or quarters. Sprinkle with salt, pepper (and I also use McCormick Garlic/Onion Grill mix. It has nice pieces of both the onion and the garlic and adds both flavor and a wonderful aroma to the roasting tomatoes.) and drizzle with a good quality olive oil. Toss to coat the tomatoes well.
  2. Roast at 325 until the tomatoes are nicely caramelized and softened. You’re not trying for the texture of sun dried tomatoes here; just browned and soft.ย  Let cool somewhat.
  3. Slice your baguette into thin slices. Toast if you prefer it crunchier. I heated mine up in the oven but didn’t toast it.ย  Spread with the goat cheese and top with a spinach leaf or two and a little bit of the tomatoes.
  4. Eat and enjoy the simple things.

Is There Such A Thing As “Basil Rehab”?

Cause if there is, I think I need it. Every year I plant a handful of Basil plants and every year, I have the poor things picked down to baby leaves before we even get to July. I need Basil Twinkie Curry and Cheeto rehab. At the rate I’m going I am going to have to buy every basil plant at the store come Spring each year. The first year it was one plant. It wasย  a mild addiction. I used fresh basil in spaghetti sauces and in tomato sandwiches and periodically went out and just crushed a leave in my fingers and smelled it,. Then I would be caught sniffing my hands for hours afterward. Talk about awkward.ย  The next year I bought three. That was when I ventured out into making homemade pesto and using the Basil on anything involving tomatoes and cheese. there was also the time I was found on the back porch by my husband, late at night, with my head buried in the basil leaves and suspicious green streaks around my mouth. But we don’t talk about that. It traumatized him. This year I bought five plants. They are already nubs. I think I have been doing sleepwalking basil eating. that or my love of Caprese has also turned into a serious addiction.

Todays recipe probably doesn’t help if I were to deny a Caprese problem.

Everyone knows what Monkey Bread is right? Well, with my mind wrapped firmly around the idea of “pant pant drool drool… what else can I do with basil? Slurp slurp.. BASSSSIIILLLLLLLL”ย  the idea occurred to me that a version of Caprese would make a good Monkey bread. So I tried. I tried first stuffing rolls with a yummy Sun dried Tomato Bruschetta topping I have but that didn’t work. Too oily and the rolls wouldn’t seal. So instead I took rolls, stuffed them with a mix of sun dried tomatoes, fresh Basil and mozzarella. Then I sprinkled it with Parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning , drizzled the whole thing with garlic butter and baked it. Oh my God. Talk about cheesy basily (yes that is now a word cause I said so ๐Ÿ˜› ) Heaven. Between the tart chewy sun dried tomatoes, the gooey cheese, that wonderful addictive Basil and the garlic butter and oh yeah the soft yeasty rolls, this was so full of flavor it should have been illegal. I’m glad it wasn’t though or I’d be in jail for eating three of them in quick succession. What!? I was hungry! My husband never feeds me. He’s mean like that. Plus, I can’t tell all of you what it tastes like If I haven’t tried it. Right? Of course right. ๐Ÿ˜€

So give this a try. If you have a thing for Caprese or just love cheese, I think you’ll love this one. ๐Ÿ™‚ Enjoy!

Caprese Stuffed Rolls

A La

Monkey Bread Style

  • 28 frozen raw store bought yeast rollsย 
  • 1 pound block mozzarella cheese, cut into 28 cubes
  • 28 to 56 fresh basil leaves (depends on the size of the leaves how many you will need)
  • 28 bite sized sun dried tomato pieces
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) SALTED butter
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Grated Parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning for sprinkling
  1. Thaw the rolls on a greased piece of foil or waxed paper.
  2. When rolls are thawed, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a monkey bread pan or any circular straight sided and flat bottomed baking pan.
  3. Take each roll and with your hands, flatten out into a circle. On each roll, put one to two basil leaves, a chunk of the mozzarella and a piece (or two if small) of the sun dried tomato. Press the roll around the cheese, making sure to seal well so they don’t pop open as they bake.
  4. In a microwave safe bowl, melt the salted butter, garlic powder and red pepper (if using) on high. Should take about 60 seconds. Stir well to mix
  5. Make a layer of the stuffed rolls in the greased pan. Drizzle liberally with the garlic butter.ย  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning.ย  Make one more layer. Drizzle with the rest of the garlic butter. Sprinkle with more Parmesan and Italian seasoning. Bake at 350 until puffed and golden brown on top. Let sit in the pan for about 3 to 5 minutes then invert over a large plate. Eat until you’re going to burst. ๐Ÿ˜€