Posts Tagged relish

Bits for burgers

I have almost all the trimmings to turn a burger into something well beyond the store bought stuff, thanks to bitingly spicy mustard greens in the garden, our first home-grown tomatos, and the latest of the bread and butter pickles as a substitute for the sliver of sourness that a commercial burger offers.

And now, thanks to the canning buddy’s niece’s insistence that we repeat a recipe I didn’t even like that much last year, we have the corn relish to slather on the top.

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We made that relish before the apricot jam last week, zipping the kernels off a dozen ears of corn and boiling them up with sugar, vinegar and spice, as well as some chopped up red peppers that we burned black on the stove, then peeled and chopped. I didn’t much like the taste that the basil offered last year, so we substituted dill, and we also cut the sugar and amped up the onion and the spice.

The recipe goes something like this.

Corn pepper relish (adapted, yet again) from The Complete Book of Pickling)
4 chopped, roasted red peppers, skin removed
1-1-2 cups sugar
2 tbsp salt (it was supposed to be kosher salt, but wasn’t)
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1/2 tbsp cumin seeds
3 cups cider vinegar
8 cups cooked corn kernels
2 cups chopped onions
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp hot pepper flakes
1/2 cup finely chopped dill

Roast the peppers by putting them directly on a gas burner and turning them round as they sizzle and char. Dunk in cold water, peel off most of the skin, and then chop them and set aside.

Put all the ingredients except the red pepper and dill in a pan, heat gently until the sugar dissolves and then simmer for 30 minutes or so until it thickens. Add the peppers and simmer for another 5 minutes. Stir in dill and ladle into clean, hot jars. Water bath for 15 minutes.

And to my surprise, it’s actually rather good. Last year I rated this a mere 2-1/2 out of five, because it was too sweet and because the basil went sort of brown and yucky on us. The dill adds a nice pickle tang, and the fact that it has less sugar makes it far more palatable to me. If there’s a next time I will add more turmeric, to add to the yellow hue.

Rating: 3-1/2 (out of 5). It’s far better than the gelatinous stuff you buy in the store, but I can’t see myself using it in the way I use pickles or chutneys. 

As for the mustard greens, I reckon this is the perfect thing to grow in a tiny square foot garden like ours. It grows fast, produces over several weeks, adds a serious bite to lunchtime sandwiches and you can’t buy it in the stores. We had five different types this year, one of which bolted already, and one of which didn’t seem to like its container in front of the sunroom door. But these frilly numbers, the most biting of the lot, are doing fine.

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Oranges and lemons (and ginger and spring onions)

I’ve been lagging on  updating stuff again, but there were two real marmalade sessions since the Meyer lemon adventure back last month, along with another batch of preserved lemons and a few other odds and sods. The first session celebrated the arrival of Seville oranges in Toronto, and the second one was because one marmalade session clearly wasn’t going to cut it. Then we tried (and possibly failed) to recreate the sounds-nicer-than-it looks apricot date chutney from the New Jersey weekend and threw together a beet relish to give the food processor a workout.  I know I’ve posted about this one before, but I’m damned if I can find the link to post it here. And I have not got any pictures, because I have a new computer and have not managed to download the camera program yet.

But the real revelation in the latest cooking ventures was a ginger scallion sauce from one of those many canning/cooking blogs out there. It probably  probably took 10 minutes from start to finish, including the time it took to dig the food processor out of its hiding place. Recipe is simple. Chop scallions and ginger. Add salt. Heat oil to smoking point and pour oil over the other ingredients, trying hard to not splash yourself with sizzling oil in the process. I’ve been using it to give a zing to cheese and avocado sandwiches, and was planning to add to pasta today before the spouse started cooking ingredients that didn’t seem to want to go with that.

Thanks, Lottie and Doof for the super-easy recipe.

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Ode to the food processor


The first time I made a beet relish, a couple of years ago, I chopped the beets up very finely by hand, winning blisters on four fingers in the process. Last year I almost killed the smallest of baby food processors, loading onions and beets, one at a time, into its tiny bowl for chopping. I started to wonder if it was worth the effort.

This year, thanks to a gift certificate that translated into much of a smart new Cuisinart, things were different, and the machine made amazingly light work of a half dozen very large beets and the same number of gigantic onions.
Now why didn’t I think of that before?
After perhaps 30 minutes of peeling and chopping, followed by about the same amount of time of cooking, we had almost a dozen purple jars just waiting for cheese, meat or veggies to eat with.

Of course one relish is not enough for the main December canning session, so we went for apples too, peeling and chopping for a curried apple date chutney that knocked our socks off last time around. It starts as a bulky mass that fills a large preserving kettle and simmers down to an amber pulp with a delicate curry kick. I will cut the sugar next time though. Time will tell — chutneys always taste better after a month — but it seems just a notch too sweet.

The final adventure to round off the morning was an onion marmalade. Just four jars, but it’s a tried and tested recipe that went down well last time. My worry is that we were spoiled with the seriously yummy fig-onion-tomato relish from a few weeks back, and it may not match up to those exalted standards. There’s something to be said for the time it takes to caramelize onions.

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