October 29, 2010

Georgian Apple Fennel Chutney

This amazing little chutney was inspired by a spice mixture. Khmeli Suneli is a spice blend from Georgia.  It contains fenugreek, cinnamon, black pepper, cloves and coriander.  Just the smell of it makes me think of winter evenings with a nice warm meal in front of me.

I have already been dipping into it and am planning on making yet another batch in the hopes of having enough for the winter.  I served it as a side with roasted potatoes, cabbage and onions with seitan in my case.  If you wanted to serve it with a meat I would say it would work well with anything except chicken and fish with lamb being the best.
As far as this being a chutney. I have a very hard time deciding what to call my savory preserves.  Honestly I tend to call the more solid and less liquid creation chutney and the more fluid ones relish.  If any of you have ideas on other names I would love to hear. 

Apple Fennel Chutney

2 yellow onions, sliced in half moons
2 fennel bulbs, sliced (white section only)
6 apples, peeled and diced (used 3 granny smiths and 3 galas)
1 1/2 cups white wine
1 1/2 cups white vinegar
1 T salt
1 1/2 Khmeli Suneli spice mixture (see above)

Place the onion, fennel and apples in a large pot.  Mix in the spice mixture and the salt. Allow to sit for 15 mins. Add the wine and vinegar.  

Over low heat cook until the apple is tender and most of the liquid has been cooked off.

Place in jars and process for 20 mins.


October 22, 2010

Spicy Bread and Butter Zucchini Pickles

One thousand and one ways use up zucchini.  Last year I made zucchini and carrot pickle strips
and plain bread and butter pickles from zucchini. I gave most of the bread and butters away because they were just a little too plain for me.  This year I wanted to try again but with the addition of some kick.  The addition of dried chile was just what I wanted.

Note: I have tested and tasted them.  I think they are great and have had more than a few people making requests for jars of them. 

Spicy Zucchini Bread and Butter Pickles

 3 cups apple cider vinegar
2 cup water
2 cups sugar
2 T salt
2 T mustard seed
2 t celery seed
1 T turmeric
4-6 dried chipotle peppers
8 garlic cloves 
8 cups zucchini, sliced
2 cups onions, sliced

Place all ingredients except the zucchini and onions in a large pot.  Bring to a boil and boil until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Boil an additional 5 minutes to infuse the chipotle into the brine.  Remove the chipotle and the garlic and divide between your jars.  Add the onion and the zucchini to the bring and simmer for 5 mins.  Divide the vegetables between your jars leaving 1/2" of head room.  Divide the brine and spices making sure that the vegetables are fully covered. Process for 10 mins.  Yield ~6 pints.


Note: I am still working on the spicy quince pickles.  The recipe is just not quiet there yet.  Hoping for next week if not I will be posting my Ukrainian Apple Fennel Chutney. 

October 14, 2010

Cinnamon Pears

These pears are not your typical sweet and syrupy pear preserve.  The main liquid is vinegar which makes a wonderful counter balance to the sweetness of the sugar.  Add in cinnamon and cloves and you have a wonderful treat for a winter evening.  This is based off of a number of different old recipes. I hope that you will give it a try.

7 lbs pears, cored and quarted
6 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
1 t whole cloves
6 c cider vinegar
3 c white wine
8 c sugar or honey

Heat the vinegar, wine and sugar to boiling.  Add cinnamon and cloves. Stir until until sugar is dissolved. Reduce to a simmer and add the pears.  Simmer until the pears are tender.  Remove the pears and set aside.  Return the liquid to a boil.  Reduce until it become a syrup.  Distribute the pears and spices in your jars.  Cover with the syrup.  Process for 15 mins for pints and 25 for quarts.  Yield ~6 pint/3 quarts.

Note: I used the cinnamon sticks to hold the pears below the level of the liquid so there was NO chance of them floating and discoloring. 

October 7, 2010

Membrillo (Quince Paste)

Since I am researching Spanish cooking for this month's Community Kitchen I decided to make a couple of quince preserves.  This one is the simplest.  The one that I am going to post in two weeks is only a little bit more complicated but is a savory.

Anyways back to this week. Quince is inedible until you cook it.  It is like a cross between a fuzzy apple and a pear in appearance. When cooked with sugar it turns a beautiful shade of red. 

Membrillo is usually served  paired with cheese specifically Manchego.  The balance of sweet against the salty.  I tend to pair it with salted almonds since I don't do cheese.


2 lbs quince
~ 3 c sugar

Wash and rub the fuzz off of the quince.  Cut out any damaged parts.  Core and then cube the fruit.

Place the quince and sugar in a bowl for at least one hour and up to over night.  This will release liquid so that you don't scorch the fruit.
Place in a pot and heat over low heat.  Keep covered to retain moisture.  Stir every ten minutes.

After 30 minutes remove the lid and reduce the liquid.  When the liquid is completely evaporated blend with hand held blender or run through a food mill.  

Process for 10 minutes.