Cranberry Chutney

It is time for the cranberry harvest in NJ. A few buckets of cranberries have made their way into my kitchen. I made this for the first time this year. It is good, but very sweet. If I make it next year, I think I would like to add some mustard seeds & cumin seeds or maybe curry powder.

4 medium to large green tomatoes, finely chopped
1/4 cup salt
1 quart cider vinegar
3 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar (3 would be better)
8 large tart apples, peeled, cored & chopped (used kieran pears because that is what I had, they are hard & crunchy like an asian pear)
4 cups cranberries
2 red onions, peeled & chopped
2 cups dried currants
1/2 cup finely chopped, peeled ginger root

In a medium bowl toss chopped tomatoes with 2 Tbsp. salt, cover, and let stand for about 12 hours or overnight.

Drain tomatoes well and soak in fresh cold water for 15 minutes. Drain again.

In a large pot combine vinegar, brown sugar, and the remaining salt. Add apples, cranberries, onions, currants, ginger and drained tomatoes. Bring just a boil and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Remove from heat and cool, let stand 1-2 hours so the raisins plump and the flavors blend.

Bring back to a simmer and cook uncovered, over low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently, until apples & onions are very tender and chutney has thickened slightly.

Pack into hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1/2-inch head space. Wipe rims, and cap with 2-piece caps.

Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.**

Makes about 7 pints.

**Please see a reliable website, like the Ball website or your local extension service, for directions on canning.

Curried Rice & Vegetable Pilaf

Adapted from Jeanne Lemlin’s Vegetarian Classics

This is one of Kelsey’s favorites. Serve it with some chutney and a salad of greens, tomatoes, cucumbers & sliced red onions dressed with lemon juice and maybe a drizzle of olive oil for your Meatless Monday vegan meal.

2 Tbsp. canola oil
1 large onion, minced
1 large boiling potato, peeled (optionally) and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 1/2 cups basmati rice
2 carrots, cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
1/4 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk
1 1/2 cups water (approximately)
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup sliced almonds (or cashews)
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 Tbsp. finely chopped cilantro (or mint)

This makes a very large amount of rice so use a large, heavy bottomed pot. I have a clay tagine that works well, and a 12-inch Le Creuset covered skillet that also works nicely. But a stockpot would be great.

Heat the oil in the pot over medium heat. Saute onion, potato and carrots, about 10 minutes, stirring often.

Stir in the rice and all of the spices. Mix well, saute 2 minutes, until toasted and aromatic.

Whisk the coconut milk if necessary and pour into a large measuring cup. Mix the coconut milk with enough water to make 3 cups. Pour over the rice, add the salt. Cover and bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a gentle simmer.

Cook undisturbed, 25 minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed.

Turn off the heat & gently stir in the peas and almonds. Cover and let rest 10 minutes. Serve sprinkled with mint or cilantro.

Pepper Jelly

Oddly, I have an surfeit of peppers in my garden this year. I can’t see the point in canning another jar of hot peppers so I made a small batch of “hot” pepper jelly.

This is half of the recipe from the Sure Jell direction page from an old package of pectin. For the past few years I have been buying the Ball brand pectin in the large bottle so I can measure out what I need for small batches of jam. It worked great here.

The recipe specifies sweet peppers and 10 jalapenos, minced. I used what I have in the garden, hot cherry peppers, jalapenos, poblanos and sweet Italian frying peppers.

2 cups minced peppers (if the peppers become too soupy, strain off some of the liquid before adding to the pot)
1/2 cup cider vinegar
3 Tbsp. powdered pectin
1/4 tsp. salt
a pinch of butter, about 1/4 tsp.
2 1/2 cups sugar

Sterilize your jars. This amount will make about 3 half-pint jelly jars or 7 4-oz jelly jars.

Put water on to boil for the water bath. The pot should be able to hold all the jars at once, covered by 1-inch of water.

Measure your ingredients carefully.

Measure the sugar into a bowl and set aside.

Prepare the peppers, measure out exactly 2 cups and add to a large pot (4-quart pot works nicely). Add the vinegar, pectin, salt and pinch of butter. Bring to a full, rolling boil. That’s a boil that can not be stirred down.

Add the sugar all at once. Bring back to a full, rolling boil, stirring constantly. Once boiling, boil exactly one minute.

Remove from heat and pack into sterile jars. Wipe the rims Cap with two piece caps that have been put in hot, not boiling water.

Process 10 minutes in water bath. Remove, place on towel or rack and let stand until completely cooled, at least 12 hours. Check the seals. Refrigerate any jars that have not sealed.

Kabocha Soup with Spiced Pepitas

Adapted from Vegetarian Times, Jan 2009.

I haven’t made this in a couple of years. Kelsey brought home a kabocha squash from the farm with the intention of making this soup. It was as good as we remembered! Don’t skip the spiced pepitas, they really make the dish.

Spiced Pepitas
1/2 cup pepitas or shelled pumpkin seeds
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. honey (or agave)
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro

Soup
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. smoked paprika
1 bay leaf
2 Tbsp. dry sherry / rice wine will work
1 1/2 lb. kabocha squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups vegetable (or chicken) broth

To make the Spiced Pepitas:
Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, toss together pepitas, live oil, honey, paprika and salt. Spread on baking sheet and bake 10-12 minutes, turning occasionaly. Cool. break apart and toss with cilantro.

To make soup:
Heat oil in a large pot over med-high heat. Add onion, saute 5-7 minutes, then add garlic, smoked paprika & bay leaf. Cook 1 minutes. Add sherry and cook 2 minutes more.

Add squash, broth & 1 cup water. Bring to a simmer, cover and reduce heat to med-low. Cook 25 minutes, until squash is tender.

Remove bay leaf. Puree soup. Season with salt & pepper to taste.

Serve sprinkled with Spiced Pepitas.