Cranberry – Apple Chutney with Ginger

I love the tang of cranberries, and I love how that tang is traditionally used to cut through the richness of a Thanksgiving dinner.  However, I hate when cranberry sauce has too much sweetness added to help subdue that tang.  It is for that reason that I really enjoy this Cranberry – Apple chutney with Ginger.  There is some added sweetness, but the beauty of this chutney is that you get the tang of the cranberries, offset by the sweetness of the apples, and then you get a little more punch from the ginger.  It is a lovely combination of not too sweet, not too sharp, complex flavor.

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Apple – Jalapeño Chutney

Based on the fact that I seem to be trying to put anything interesting and seasonal I can into a jar, and seeing how my Peach – Jalapeño Chutney turned out so great, I decided to try the same recipe with apples instead of peaches.  I made it as a one off recipe a few weeks ago, and served it over a baked brie as an appetizer, getting a very positive response, I of course decided to make a batch and can it.

Just before I attempted to undertake this endeavor, I received my November/December 2011 issue of Cook’s Illustrated which included a great piece of advice on how to seed jalapeños, so I thought I would share it with you here.  Start by slicing the chili lengthwise about a quarter of the way in, leaving the stem and seed pod intact.

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Habanero – Maple Barbecue Sauce

One of my favorite restaurants in Boston, Deep Ellum, makes these incredible Maple-Habanero barbecue chicken wings.  I have always been more of a hot wings than a barbecue wings kind of girl, but these changed my outlook.  They combined two of my favorite things, maple and spiciness.  In fact, these qualified as both hot and barbecue, incorporating the sweetness of maple.  What could be better?

I became so addicted, that I knew I had to make my own attempt at this concoction, especially after we moved from Boston to Vermont and were no longer in walking distance of Deep Ellum.  Though slightly different than Deep Ellum‘s, on the whole, I think that this barbecue sauce turned out great.  You get the sweetness of the maple first, and then the tang of the habanero with a little bit of smokiness at the end.

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Peach – Jalapeño Chutney

I started making this relish on a one off basis, in much smaller portions, earlier this summer to serve over grilled chicken.  The recipe I was adapting from the Williams-Sonoma website called for plums, so the first several time I made it with plums, which was absolutely delicious.  However, since we bought a bushel of peaches to can, I decided to make a similar relish out of peaches and can it for use in the months ahead over chicken, pork or ham.  The result? … A beautiful mix of sweet and spicy that is a delicious addition to a multitude of dishes.

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Mrs. Sio’s Garden Salsa

I fell in love with this salsa recipe in college while having dinner at a friend’s house.  I now make it every summer so that I may savor it throughout the rest of the year.  Beyond the traditional, chips and salsa, I love to serve this with all different kinds of dishes.  My all time favorite is a dollop of this salsa on top of a La Platte River organic ground beef burger with a melted slice of Cabot extra sharp cheddar cheese on an english muffin, with a side of homemade baked sweet potato fries.  YUM!!!

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Preserving the tastes of summer

It is that wonderful time of year when all of the hard work on your garden throughout the year really pays off.  It is also the time when everything becomes ripe all at once, resulting in more produce than you can physically eat before it starts to go bad.

While this may seem a bit frustrating after you have waited all summer for the delicious freshness of a tomato from the vine, the beauty of this inundation is that you have the opportunity to preserve these tastes of summer to savor on a cold winter’s day.

There are certain things that I prefer to preserve over others.  For example, pickled zucchini or summer squash is not something I prefer; however, there are many kinds of pickles that I love.  I also adore dilly beans, canned raw tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato puree, peaches in light sugar, peach relish, salsa, pepper jelly, pesto, corn and of course jam.

There are three methods of preserving that I utilize: freezing, drying and canning.  I think certain items do better with certain methods of preserving.  Freezing is of course the simplest, but once you get the hang of canning it is really quite easy.

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