Fiddleheads employee and holistic health coach Amelia Lord shared this recipe for an easy kale salad that she made for a recent workshop at the co-op. This is a great way to enjoy curly green kale if, like me, you're not exactly in love with the stuff (chard is the leafy love of my life) otherwise; one taste of it had me practically licking the bowl. It's a perfect spring or summer recipe.
I used a red onion rather than the white onion the original recipe called for; the slightly sweet bite went well with the mild avocado and tart lemon flavors. Amelia's recipe didn't suggest emulsifying the lemon juice and olive oil before adding to the kale but I found it easier to deal with the liquids by combining them first. The recipe is intended to make 2-4 entree servings, or is the perfect size for a party/potluck, etc. If you intend it as a side-dish, especially for 1-2 people, I suggest halving the recipe or adjusting as needed.
You can contact Amelia for more recipes, and holistic nutritional information and health coaching services at email@example.com or via her website.
RAW GREEN KALE SALAD WITH APPLES & AVOCADOS
1 bunch organic curly green kale
1 large organic apple, chopped
1/2 medium white or red onion, finely chopped
1 ripe avocado, chopped
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for garnish
Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon sea salt, or kelp/sea salt blend
1/4 cup slivered almonds or chopped walnuts
Strip kale leaves from stems; discard stems and tear kale into bite-size pieces. In a large mixing bowl sprinkle kale with salt and massage well with hands (as you would when making kale chips). Add chopped apple, avocado and onion to kale.
Emulsify or blend lemon juice and olive oil, then pour over kale, massage all ingredients again with hands. (This gets messy but is a lot of fun.) Mush and squish around until well-combined and much of the avocado is incorporated as part of the dressing.
Top with almonds or walnuts and serve immediately, and/or store in the fridge in an airtight container; it's great the next day.
ETA: Try substituting fresh sliced strawberries for the apples, as FH customer Pat Flynn Brune did.
Time: 20 Minutes
Yield: 2-4 entree-sized servings
(A version of this post previously appeared on the Fiddleheads Facebook page. So if you've read this already - feel free to move on and peruse other pages on this site.)
Last Friday I came into the co-op and saw, in the produce section, the signs that the seasons are shifting (far more reliable than our weather patterns at the moment): brussel sprouts, hard red kuri squash, etc. It was the RED STARKRIMSON PEARS that stopped me in my tracks; my favorite variety, and the first batch of the season at the co-op. The brain (mine, at any rate) must have an adaptive mechanism that allows me to forget about them, for months, so that when they reappear I am delighted and surprised all over again.
I bought 5 or so, selecting carefully (money is tight, after all), looking for relatively unblemished ones; ghosting my fingertips over their skins and choosing the ones that yielded ever-so-slightly. They ripened further for a couple of days on my kitchen table, while I wondered and worried: would they disappoint this time? They never have before, but one never knows.
Of course my concerns were foolish and unfounded; of course that first one was crisp (but not too) and sweet (but not overly-so). Of course the texture was finer and smoother than that of a traditional pear, or the ones I grew up with at any rate; somewhat closer to an apple. Of course, it was what I remembered and what I knew it could be.
And of course I'm being silly about it, indulging in hyperbole, but when I feel as though living is somewhat like wading through a mound of mud and rubble, then the few small gems that fall into my hands are all the more dear. And so I magnify the importance of a pear, of all things, far beyond what someone (saner and more sensible than myself) would do.
I ate the last one this morning - saving it carefully, for a day or two, until I knew I'd be coming back to the co-op - and it had been patient, had waited for me, ripened even further in the warmth of my kitchen, and so the flesh yielded easily, even sweeter than before, juice dribbling down my wrist, the texture closer to that of "pear" than apple now, but still very fine, closer to the softest beach sand than the graininess of other pear varieties at their ripest.
The things I love most never stay for long; and I know from past experience that the red starkrimson pears will be here for a matter of weeks, perhaps (will I go to the co-op today and find they have already gone?) and so I must take care to to savor and enjoy them, for however long they are here.
This is the dressing I made for an appearance on “Thinking Green”, the cable access show hosted by Ronna Stuller, earlier this month. The focus of the show was actually a conversation with Rob Schacht from Hunts Brook Farm. He was passionate and knowledgeable and about a variety of issues affecting the business of a small organic farm. (Watch the show on our YouTube channel here.)
I meanwhile played "Vanna Organic", and managed to cut open a blood orange for the camera without actually drawing any blood...mine, that is. (Sorry, kids, no squirting arteries for your viewing pleasure; perhaps you'll get lucky next time.)
Blood oranges, sesame oil and fennel have been staples in my kitchen lately; the bitterness of the HBF greens provided a perfect foundation for the light and zippy dressing. (Last week Rob and Teresa made their last shipment of bagged mixed greens and spinach to the co-op, which we will dearly miss.) To the salad I also added slices of orange bell pepper, chopped tomatoes, carrots, sliced fennel stalks and more fennel fronds, cilantro leaves and blueberries. This recipe is very flexible and you can alter the herbs and spices to your liking. If you use celery instead of fennel, add a little celery seed; I like to include the chopped leaves in that case.
Another evening I mixed the salad dressing with homemade teriyaki sauce (store-bought would work just as well, if you like) in about a 1:1 ratio and used it as a glaze for pork chops; simple directions are below as well. My next adventure will be trying it with a tofu stir-fry; the tofu should absorb the glaze quite well. (If you get there before I do, let me know how it goes for you.)
Blood orange, Fennel & Sesame Salad Dressing
3 blood oranges (or other sweet, intense citrus fruit), juiced
1-2 tea. unfiltered apple cider vinegar (I use Bragg’s)
toasted sesame oil, in 1 : 1 ratio with the amount of orange juice
3 T fresh fennel or dill fronds, finely chopped; or 1-1/2 T dried fennel or dill
2-3 tea. finely-chopped fennel stem and/or bulb, or same amount celery stalks
finely ground sea salt, and black or white pepper to taste
2 tea - 1 T gomasio; or sea salt and sesame seeds, coarsely ground together; plus extra sesame seeds
3-4 cilantro stems and leaves; stems finely chopped and leaves torn
1T fresh or frozen blueberries, crushed (optional)
Blend all ingredients until thoroughly emulsified; I like to do it by hand with a small whisk, or simply shake vigorously in a jar. Taste after the addition of each ingredient to make sure it suits you, and adjust as necessary. Makes approx 1 cup.
Variation - Pork Chop Glaze: Combine equal parts of the dressing (above) with a thick, homemade or store-bought teriyaki sauce. Brown 1-2 pork chops in a lightly-oiled or nonstick pan or skillet on both sides over medium heat; pour sauce over chops and cover, about 1-2 minutes or sauce has thickened on surface of chop, turn and repeat, adjusting heat if needed. If using high-quality pasture-raised pork (with no added preservatives, etc), such as Four Mile River Farm’s, make sure you do not overcook the chops; they should still be slightly pink (not completely grey) and tender inside.
Last winter I kept the house stocked on oranges from Fiddleheads, mainly with the intent of staving off colds (the plan worked marvelously, by the way); halfway to pitching some of the rind into the compost bucket one day it occurred to me, "Oh, wait a minute - I can dry this stuff and use in it recipes, can't I?"
Why did it take so long for that to occur to me (apart from a distressing lack of mental acuity on my part)? Aside from the classic "We didn't do that when I was growing up" excuse, which comes in amazingly handy on all sorts of occasions (trust me), I think it may well have a lot to do with the fact that I was conditioned by decades of eating non-organic oranges, which we all knew had been sprayed to keep them pretty and long-lasting in storage, but you certainly didn't want to take the risk of drying them and consuming whatever toxins were sprayed on them. (That those toxins might also be inside the rinds, which are porous after all, somehow did not occur to me and, I suspect, to a lot of other people, until much later.)
Happily, we have baskets of organic citrus fruit on display and overflowing all season long at the co-op: mandarins (first satsumas, then murcotts); navel, hamlin and red cara cara oranges; blood oranges, tangelos, tangerines, and so on. The rinds can be dried very easily and saved for culinary purposes throughout the year: use them to flavor homebrewed beer or root beer; use them in place of or in addition to freshly grated zest when most citrus is out of season; toss a few handfuls into homemade granola. You can even drop some into an airtight tin of loose dry black or green tea that needs a bit of oomph, along with vanilla bean, anise, cardamon, or any spices of choosing. (The technique would be the same, of course, for any citrus fruit: lemon, lime, grapefruit, etc.)
Select the freshest fruit you can find, choosing varieties that have relatively thick rinds, for ease of handling. Tangerines, or other oranges with very thin skins are, ironically, more difficult to work. Also avoid any peel that has begun to dry even slightly sitting on your kitchen table; as the skin shrivels, the pith seems to become attached as tightly as an adult child who cannot bear to move away from Mama. There's just no getting between those two, so best save yourself the heartache.
Tear the rind off in chunks or strips, either from stem to navel or around the circumference, and peel off any loose layers of the bitter white pith. I personally find strips easier to work with, probably because the edges provide my hand and eye with a "guide" of sorts. (If you are the person who can write beautifully straight sentences on unlined sheets of paper, that probably won't be a concern for you.)
Lay the strips skin-side down on your flat surface and carefully pare or shave as much of the remaining pith as possible from the zest with a small, sharp paring knife with a straight (not serrated edge.) Hold the knife as parallel to the surface of your board/table as possible, and with a slight sawing motion move across the surface.
Once you've removed as much of the pith as possible, tear the strips into pieces, lay on a plate or tray and allow to air-dry. (I put mine on a dinner plate and stick them on a slightly-shaded corner of the kitchen table near the wall, where they won't be disturbed.) When the pieces snap and break crisply, rather than bend, they are done. Put them in a good zip bag and gently squeeze out any excess air before zipping shut, or put in an airtight tin or similar container. In either case, it's best to keep out of direct sunlight.
I find 12-48 hours is sufficient time to dry, and sometimes less depending on the heat of the house, the humidity and so on. Very small pieces may be ready overnight. The smaller the pieces the faster they will dry, of course. If stored properly they will last pretty much indefinitely; the bagful I made last winter got me through nearly an entire year.
As a comparison, the photograph above is of a sample I bought from one of my favorite organic herb and spice companies; generally I am very happy with their products, but you see how different their dried zest looks to my own. In fact, there's a lot of little chunks of what look to be pieces of pith. It works well enough in a pinch, but hasn't the same intense flavor the homemade does (predictably); and the homemade looks very pretty sprinkled into that aforementioned granola before or after popping the baking tray into the oven.
If you eventually get comfortable, or cocksure*, enough with the technique, you can pare the rind from the fruit from the outside, while the skin is still intact, and then pare away any bits of remaining pith on the underside. I have actually done this when I want fresh zest, as none of my erstwhile graters seems to do the job properly on the peel but can shred my fingertips with astonishing precision. I love "blood oranges" but that's taking the idea a bit too literally for my taste.
*No, that's no my favorite word, either, but let's be honest: "ovumsure" just doesn't have quite the same ring, does it?
*Last week on our Facebook page, we had a lively discussion about our favorite ways to eat blueberries. (The consensus? Grab handful, pop into mouth, chew and repeat.) Then Loretta McElwee found this scrumptious recipe for grilled chicken breasts with blueberry chutney, from the Vitacost website. I think this recipe would also work great with pork chops, or seafood, also at Fiddleheads, but will it work with tofu, tempeh or seitan? Anybody game to give it a go?
*Sweet Tanka Chili, comes from Marco Frucht , an Uncasville-based NAMA-nominated songwriter (for his song "Frybread"). Like a lot of contemporary music by Native American artists, who work in every musical genre, Marco's recipe marries traditional elements with unexpected surprises: nitrate-free, hormone-free Tanka Bites (bison meat nuggets with cranberry and spices); cumin, cayenne and black beans; jalapeno and sweet potatoes. (Check out the link to his Reverbnation page above for a calender of upcoming appearances.)
*Co-op on the March: A Little Insurrection of Good Taste is a wonderful article written by author, political activist and FH tea buyer Frida Berrigan in time for our forth anniversary on Feb 4. She sets down in words the experience and the very feel of being a part of FH - as staffer as well as customer - more accurately and engagingly than I could imagine possible.
*Ellen Anthony, shared an "action alert" from the Organic Consumers' Association: you can contact the FDA if you believe we have the right to know about dioxins (remember Agent Orange?) in our food supply: http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_24750.cfm
*Since we're speaking of politics and going off the subject of food for a moment - your forebearance I ask, gentle reader - did you see this article in Sunday's New York Times about the deaths and injuries of Chinese workers making Apple products, thanks to the company's willingness to ignore health and safety violations? But thanks as well to our insatiable demand for the newest Apple products at the lowest cost. It also puts paid to the warm and fuzzy image Apple has so carefully cultivated. (And as it happens, I'm typing this on an Apple desktop 'puter, so it's a chilling reminder that I'm part of the problem as well.) How does that relate to food? Not at all - until we remember that how we treat workers any place around the world, in any industry - including food production and argriculture - is all part of the same philosophical paradigm, whether the end product is cheaper toys or tomatoes.
(This and all over blog recipes can also be found on our recipe archive page, "Here's Linkin' at You, Kid.")
Kiwi is one of those items that have rarely made their way into my kitchen, and I'm not sure why. Their taste, fragrance and texture reminds me of nothing so much as strawberries, which I do love, but which can be difficult to find truly ripe and intensely-flavored. The fragrance is in fact a bit more subtle than strawberries with floral as well as fruity top-notes. So why have I ignored them for so long? Is it their year-round ubiquity at the co-op, unlike red starkrimson pears, cherries, blueberries, persimmons, etc: items whose season and availability always ends too soon? Is it their thoroughly unprepossessing exterior appearance - a hairy fruit? Those dark, follicle-coated little ovals don't exactly pop out and scream at you, as they sit in the produce section, "BUY ME!" the way more brightly-colored oranges and berries and apples do. And yet, we do have them at the co-op year round, so apparently - a lot of our customers have heard the siren call and discovered the pleasures under those ugly surfaces, so I've got some catching up to do. To that end I bought a couple of kiwi at the co-op the other day, along with blueberries, bosc pears and mandarins, with no particular plan in mind. I can't stop myself from buying up fat handfuls of blueberries and several bosc pears every time I'm in the store lately; unlike the kiwi, they are not avaiable year-round.
This is so easy you don't need a strict recipe, but let's give it a crack anyway. You can change ingredients around to suit your liking as well as seasonal availability. With both the kiwi and the pears, select ripe fruit that yields slightly to the touch with gentle pressure but are not mushy or soft; with the bosc pears, look for skins that are more brown rather than green. As there are several types of oranges and citrus at the co-op right now, you could try a hamlin orange, a blood orange, or a tangelo in place of the mandarin; you want a variety that is juicy, sweet and intensely flavored. (If you try limes or lemons instead, be sure to adjust the sweetener or the blueberries in the sauce to balance the sourness.)
Kiwi, Blueberry and Pear Fruit Salad, with Blueberry-Orange Sauce
2 ripe kiwi, peeled, cut in half lengthwise then sliced
1 cup (approx) ripe (or thawed frozen) blueberries, divided into halves
1 ripe (but not overripe) bosc pear, cut into bite-size chunks, skin left on
1-2 small mandarin oranges or other juicy, sweet orange (such as blood orange or red cara cara), tangelo or tangerine, cut in half, plus grated zest
2 T - 1/8 cup dark (Grade B preferable) maple syrup and/or agave nectar (I used blue agave but any variety should work, esp if combined with the maple syrup)
powdered coriander to taste (optional)
pecans or walnuts, toasted, whole or broken in to pieces, for topping (optional)
Put prepared kiwi slices into a bowl with half of the blueberries and the pear chunks. Squeeze the juice from 1/2 of the mandarin orange over the fruit and lightly sprinkle ground coriander on top, as well as some freshly grated orange zest if desired; toss all ingredients gently. Drizzle with Blueberry-Orange Sauce (below); if desired, top with toasted pecans or walnuts just before serving. Serves 2 as a dessert or side-dish (or breakfast, lunch, etc...) You can substitute or add other fruits according to availability and preference, such as strawberries, bananas, etc.
In a microwave-safe measuring cup or bowl smash approximately 1/2 cup of the remaining blueberries with a fork, then squeeze juice and pulp from other half of the orange into cup, and some fresh orange zest. Add a couple of tablespoons of the maple syrup and/or agave, and a dash of coriander if desired, and mix thoroughly, continuing to smash blueberries if they are not already soft and broken-down. (Show them no mercy, my friend, no matter how much it hurts.)
Put the cup or bowl with the sauce in the microwave and heat on low 1-2 minutes, stirring as necessary. Sauce should be not overly-sweet or gummy, and have a rich, deep blue-ish ruby-red color. You can strain out the blueberry skins but I prefer to leave them in; they add to flavor and color. The sauce thickens very quickly as it cools into an almost jelly-like consistency; if you want it to be a little thinner, simply squeeze in a bit more of the orange juice and stir. There will be more sauce than you need for the fruit salad, so store any left over in refrigerator.
Note: If you don’t wish to make the sauce from scratch, try adding orange zest and juice to blueberry jam, instead.
Did you know that January is National Hot Tea Month? Lindsey Goodwin suggests 31 ways to celebrate the month and expand your beverage repertoire. (And of course, you can get everything she mentions - black, green and white teas, herbal tisanes, etc - at Fiddleheads.)
Grow and Behold, a kosher meat website on our links page, has an intriguing recipe on their blog for beef flanken with...blueberries. The recipe calls for fresh or frozen berries, both available at the co-op right now. FYI - "flanken" refers to the first five short ribs of the beef rib cage, cut across rather than parallel to the bones. I'd try this recipe with regular short ribs and I suspect it would be awesome with pork ribs or chops. (Thanks for this find to Allen Longendyke, our fresh foods buyer, a.k.a. "the man who brings us turkey at Thanksgiving, hams at Christmas; and wonderful cheeses and soymilk, etc, all the year round.")
On our Facebook page, Ellen Anthony shared a link to a myriad of egg recipes on The Incredible Edible Egg.org. (Anyone else remember those commercials?) The global climate change we're experiencing means the hen's bodily rhythms are confused* and they are laying when they normally wouldn't. Ergo, we have eggs at co-op. Now's the time to try those recipes for chocolate souffle, snow eggs with pistachio custard or poached eggs with tomato-cilantro sauce that you've been meaning to get around to.
Cathy Elton's onion tart with greens and cashew cream is perfect for those of you who 1) are looking for new ways to use the chard or kale you bought from the co-op; 2) are wanting a simple gluten-free crust recipe (this one uses chickpea flour); 3) want to eat healthier without sacrificing flavor, or 4) don't give a flying fig about any of the above, you only know that tart looks crazy-delicious.
Dry skin? Try this salve you can make at home with melted beeswax and coconut oil from Cara at Health, Home & Beauty. The beeswax keeps the coconut oil from solidifying, as it does at room temperature. Thanks to member Loretta McElwee for the find!
Sheila Herbert signed this petition to support the authentic fair trade movement, and kindly brought it to our attention on Facebook. 243 people have signed it thus far from across the US and Costa Rica, as well as Canada, Italy and the UK. Fair trade - paying farmers a living wage for their labor and their products - is one of the central tenants of our philosophy at Fiddleheads, and to the co-operative movement in general. (I've just added my name to the petition. Will your's be next?)
And in economic news: Hostess (maker of Twinkie and Ho-Ho's) is filing for Chapter 11 protection. I know that the employees (blue and white collar) never end up the winners in this sort of thing, so I feel for anyone who is going to lose a job, no matter where they are on the corporate ladder. On the other hand, I think back to all those yellow sugar-and-lard filled sponge tubes that our moms put in our lunch boxes back in the day, with the noblest intentions to give their kids a healthy lunch with a treat - because they knew we were just going to pitch the apples they gave us anyway. And I can't help but think "They had it coming. People eat differently nowadays than 40 years ago; did they not see the writing on the wall?" (Full disclosure: it's not that I was an ultra health-conscious kid who rejected Twinkies in favor of the apples and such. It's just that I wanted the sugar-and-lard filled chocolate cupcakes instead.)
*Of course the poor hens are confused. I can't even figure out from day to day if I can lower my storm windows or if I need to wear a turtleneck when I go out.
If you never roasted pineapple in the oven, you owe it to yourself to give it a try, especially now that we have organic pineapple coming into the co-op once again. It's super-simple (once you get past prepping the fruit) and ridiculously addictive. This is really more of a suggestion than a recipe, as there is no hard science here; basically you're popping fresh pineapple spears in the oven until they are tender, then glazing with a mixture of honey and ground coriander until it starts to brown and carmelize. The result is something akin to candy (if candy were warm and juicy) but much, much better.
Preheat your oven to 375-400 degrees F, depending on how hot it runs. Peel and core 1 fresh (preferably organic, of course) pineapple; this is not hard, but it's time-consuming and requires a bit of attention if you want to keep all your fingertips intact. (I've become rather fond of mine, thank you.) The method I use is essentially Betty Crocker's, as that was the cookbook I grew up with: "Twist top from pineapple. Cut pineapple into fourths. Holding pineapple securely, cut fruit from rind. Cut off pineapple core and remove "eye". A different method has you remove the outer peel before you quarter and core it; Sandy Smith shows how it's done with simple instructions and clear photos at Eat Real.
Once you've got the basic prep done, cut the pineapple quarters in half, then half again to get thin strips. (If you'd rather have larger spears, only halve the quarters once; or if you prefer, cut the spears into large chunks.) Lay them down on a lightly oiled baking tray, and put in the middle of the oven. In the meantime stir together enough honey and ground coriander to taste; you want enough to glaze the pineapple spears but not drown them. Check the pineapple after 5-8 minutes; if starting to become tender, flip spears over to the other side, cook until thoroughly tender but not falling apart. Pull tray from oven and drizzle or spoon the honey glaze over both sides of the pineapple to coat thoroughly, return to oven 3-5 minutes until honey starts to carmelize. Turn spears over if necessary and repeat.
And that's it. If you can wait until it cools a bit the honey gets stickier in contrast with the fruit inside; but I doubt it will make it that long, unless you are far more disciplined than I am. You'll be eating it right out of the oven, it's that good. It's delicious as-is, of course, but I couldn't resist gilding the lily and topping it with a dessert sauce I had made from thick coconut milk kefer combined with toasted coconut flakes and vanilla bean, grated fresh ginger, mandarin orange juice and a bit of orange zest. The tropical notes of the sauce seemed an appropriate pairing for the fruit. Another lovely idea would be scoops of vanilla bean or coconut ice cream, sprinkled again with toasted coconut.
Joan Weigle, who staffs the Fiddleheads Membership Info Desk every Saturday, loves Lior Lev Secarz's Spicy Cranberry Chutney with Apricots and Pecans . This recipe blends fresh cranberries, heated in cider and pomegranate juice, dried apricots and toasted pecans, then seasoned with ginger, cinnamon, clove, fennel, orange zest, etc. to subtle and complex effects that Joan appreciates. She said that it won the day for her in a competition with her daughter to determine who made the better chutney.
Cost of fresh cranberries at Fiddleheads: $3.00/lb
Hearing your child admit for once that Mom/Dad is right: PRICELESS
In the last two years I have inexplicably gone from "I can't stand spicy food" to "You call that spicy?" So if you're going to label your recipe "spicy", you'd better bring it.
For a time I fancied it was a result of growing sophistication on my part, until a friend pointed out to me, "Don't you know that you lose taste buds as you age?" (Yes, but I forgotten - because I didn't yet conceptualize myself as "aging". But now I do. Thanks. And I'd been so happy in my little world of fragile illusions "Look, a unicorn...!")
When I made the first batch of this for myself, I had to make some small adjustments due to availability and budget. I used watered-down black current juice from the co-op, which I already had at home, in place of the apple cider and pomegranate juice called for in the original. Black current juice is fairly strongly-flavored; nonetheless he result was, for my palate, surprisingly bland. I couldn't even taste the pecans, except to as a bit of crunchy texture. Tasty, but hardly worth the trouble and expense over my regular cranberry sauce recipe. (Now if someone would like to make a batch and show me how to "do it right"? Meet me at Fiddleheads and I will be glad, unlike Joan's daughter, to be proven wrong.)
So for my version I've I doubled the spices, added a splash of unfiltered apple cider vinegar, and a dash of cayenne in addition to the original's versions spices. Pecans are replaced by the more strongly-flavored and economical walnuts and raisins are thrown in the mix. Finally a touch of maple syrup balances the acidic flavors. You'll want to let it "rest" for 48 hours in the fridge to allow the flavors to mellow and really come together: tangy but not sharp, slightly sweet without being sugary. It's only when each bite slides off your tongue at the last do the spices "announce" themselves.
Spicier Cranberry Chutney
(adapted from Lev Lior Sacarz's original)
1/2 medium or 1 small red onion, chopped fine
olive oil for skillet
1 tea. ground cinnamon
1 whole anise star, or 1/2 tea. either ground fennel or anise
1/2 - 1 tea. ground cardamon
1/4 tea. ground allspice
1/4 - 1/3 freshly grated ginger
1/4 tea. ground cayenne
1/2 cup black current juice
1/2 cup water
juice and pulp of two large oranges
12 ounces fresh or frozen (thawed) cranberries
black pepper to taste
1/4 - 1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/2 dried apricots, chopped into small dice (to prevent knife from sticking, coat with a very small amount of oil or other oil)
1/3 cup walnuts, toasted/dry-roasted, then coarsely chopped or broken
2 tea. finely grated fresh orange zest, or the same amount of dried orange peel in small pieces, soaked in tepid water until softened
2 T apple cider vinegar
7-10 tea. maple syrup or amber (neutral) agave syrup, or to taste
wheatberries, cooked (optional, see note below)
In a heated skilled with slightly amount of olive oil, saute the chopped onion on low heat until tender and translucent, stirring frequently to prevent sticking; do not allow to brown.
Combine spices, except pepper, with the current juice and water into a large saucepan; add the orange juice and pulp to the pan. If using dried orange zest rather than fresh, and it and the soaking water to the pan now. Bring just to boil, then add the fresh cranberries; allow to return to the boil, stirring frequently to prevent scorching, until cranberries begin to pop, about 5-7 minutes. Add a few rounds of cracked black pepper to taste. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. If you used whole anise stars, fish them out now before going on to the next step (unless pawing through a bowl of chunky burgundy chutney looking for chunks of barely-darker anise stars is your idea of a good time.)
In a bowl combine the dried fruits and the walnuts; if using fresh zest rather than dried, add it now. Add the cooked cranberry mixture to the bowl, and the apple cider vinegar. Add the sauteed chopped onion. Combine everything thoroughly, making sure fruits, nuts and onion are well-coated. Add the sweetener to taste, in increments, until satisfied, and adjust all seasonings to your liking. The taste at this point will probably be somewhat sharp.
Put into the refrigerator in a covered container, and allow to "rest" for at least 48 hours if possible; by then the flavors will have sufficiently "mellowed" and come together nicely.
Note: Cooked wheatberries stirred in any time after combining all other ingredients, even days later, add a chewy texture element. They also lend a heft that makes the chutney more substantive and filling; makes a nice breakfast or anytime treat.
It also solves the vexing question, "I got this because I'm trying to add whole grains to my diet but now what the heck do I DO with them?"
This morning I decided that the "vine-ripened" tomato I had bought at Fiddleheads the other day was looking a little neglected and past it's prime, but would be perfect thrown into the tomato soup I was making from Sue Guida's recipe. I cut it open, and, lo and behold:
"What the heck is THAT...?"
"What the heck? Is that...what I think it is?"
"It is. It's sprouts. INSIDE my tomato. I'll be damned."
So once I had gotten over the initial shock, and reassured myself that yes, the tomato was sprouting within itself, and this was not some alien spawn come to steal my sweet soul, I had to wonder: Should I be more concerned with the fact that 1) my tomato is sprouting itself, or 2) the fact that this was the first time in my life I could verify that a store-bought tomato in my hand was a living, fertile organism capable of reproducting itself?
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Text and photos copyright 2011-2013 Janice Janostak unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved.