Thursday, October 4, 2012

A Little Green Tomato Chutney to Spice Things Up

I really do love food from all over the place, but I am severely partial to spicy food. I know what it is, it's my endorphins going crazy, causing me to laugh, smile, and want to dance after eating spicy food--as if that is not my natural behavior already. I've studied the heat scale of chiles and written some assignments on what picante does with the brain, but when you get down to it, it is all about the excitement of well-spiced food. When someone warns me that something will be spicy, first of all I give them a little "pfft" as if they can conquer my taste buds, then anticipation takes over, and finally I take that first bite and wait in that sweet delay between initial flavor and heat. When that heat comes, it is a surprise, but also a very familiar feeling--I can't identify many events in life that have such a great mixture, but spices do it for me. If the spices aren't necessary hot, I still get the same joy out of it because I can do a little mental splicing to see if I can identify all that is there. If you ask any of my restaurant companions, I love to play a game where I ask them what flavors they can identify (and then possibly report on later in my blogposts). It is great to see what other people's experience with food is, especially when they are not so enamored by feeding themselves as I am, for it asks them to delve a little deeper into a ritual that most of us repeat at least three times a day.

Today's post is pretty similar to the one I posted on Refrigerator Tomato Jam, but today we are working with a Green Tomato Chutney. I LOVE frying up green tomatoes...please, my Nana hails from South Carolina, you didn't think I'd let that recipe pass me up. However, I wanted to see what else these tart little cuties could do for my palate. I nerded out on some research, as usual, and came up with a chutney. Chutney is traditionally an Indian condiment, but has made such an impression on the British food scene, that it is often seen alongside their beloved malt vinegar (which is fortunate for them...). It is great on hamburgers, spread on crackers with cheese, served alongside a curry, smeared on a bagel or toast for breakfast, basically anywhere you want a sweet kick to delightfully complicate things a bit. My sources for this recipe include the New York Times, Food in Jars, and Gran's Green Tomato Chutney recipes. Note: you can store this in the refrigerator for quite a long time, just like the Refrigerator Tomato Jam recipe! Yay!!!

Green Tomato Chutney
 4-5 Green Tomatoes, washed and chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 C Brown sugar
1/3 C Apple cider vinegar
1/2 C Raisins
Chili powder (I went heavy on the chili powder)

Simply mix everything together. Add everything to a pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. When the mixture is boiling, you reduce this to a lively simmer and stir frequently until you get the jammy consistency that you want. If you do want this to be a condiment that can stand on its own like a jam, you should hang out by that pot for about an hour. If you are just looking for something to add flavor to rice or curry dishes, you can afford to have it thinner. Use your eyes, and let your nose enjoy the ride--it smells sooooo good! The final mixture should be dark green/brown in color. I'm sorry I didn't take a picture of the final product...must have forgot!

When you are finished, put the chutney in very clean glass jars and lid them. Cool completely before you put in the fridge, otherwise you might have broken glass on your hands. Also, make sure the inside of the lid and jar are clean because you might not be able to open it when you want it! It is very sticky and yummy, so make sure you can enjoy it!

Bon appétit!

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