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Niloufer Ichaporia King's Parsi Tomato Chutney


So, er, this is awkward, since I already told you about a tomato jam in August. And, er, yes, you're right, tomato season is all but over. (Not entirely, but almost.) But I kind of need you to forget all about that other tomato jam and the fact that the tomatoes at the market are dwindling fast. Forget about all that right away. Today. Now.

Because a few weeks ago I made a tomato chutney from this book by way of The Traveler's Lunchbox and, it's the most curious thing, I haven't been able to stop spooning it out of the jar since. It is quite something. I mean, who eats chutney from a spoon? This is not the kind of thing I am usually in the habit of doing. Just so we're clear. But this is no ordinary chutney, no.


This tomato chutney makes my mouth glow on the inside, which is a most wondrous feeling. And it tastes incredible, like a tomato come to life in the middle of an Indian jungle, though I am biased, it's true: you could coat a tomato in tar and I'd probably still want to eat it.

Let me try to describe it at least. Imagine a tomato, all fresh and succulent, cooked down into jamminess with fiery bits of ginger and garlic and rust-colored cayenne. There are raisins, for a little extra sweetness, and cloves and cinnamon, too. But then there's a big glug of vinegar that straightens everyone's collars out and makes your mouth pucker with pleasure. Between the vinegar and the cayenne and all that fresh ginger and garlic, the chutney is incendiary, in the best possible way. 

I could almost guarantee that you will find yourself hoarding it, instead of giving it away as you might think you would after lining up all your neatly-filled crimson jars just after filling them. It's the one thing in my pantry that I can't part with. Not yet.


I like putting it on a cold chicken sandwich, for example. Or dolloping it next to a piece of plain, sautéed fish to goose it up a little. I've eaten it with sharp cheddar on nice bread for a lunch that lingered in my mouth long after I finished. And it's brilliant with eggs, scrambled or fried. Best of all is chopped into homemade egg salad. Good night!

But like I said, I've also eaten it straight from the jar, which I'm a little embarrassed to admit, but you know, sometimes it's just best to be honest about this kind of thing.


Whatever you decide to do with it, the point is: make it. Today. Now. Before the very last plum tomatoes have gone.

And if they already are gone, forgive me, kind reader, for winding you up. It was cruel of me, I know. To make it up to you, maybe I could even send you one of my jars? Maybe. Let me think about it. I'll get back to you.

Niloufer Ichaporia King's Parsi Tomato Chutney
Source: The Traveler's Lunchbox
Makes about four 8- to 10-ounce jars; recipe can easily be doubled

3 pounds (1.5 kilos) ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup finely-julienned peeled ginger (about one 2.5-inch/6-cm-long piece)
1/2 cup thinly-sliced garlic (about one large head)
1 1/2 cups (375 ml) cider vinegar
1/2 to 1 cup (75 to 150 grams) raisins (optional)
2 cups (400 grams) turbinado sugar
1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
1 small cinnamon stick
4 whole cloves
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons salt

1. Open a window or two in your kitchen. Place all the ingredients in a heavy nonreactive pot and, over medium-high heat, bring to a boil, stirring well. Continue to cook, stirring every five to seven minutes (more frequently towards the end of the cooking time), until the chutney has the consistency of a soft jam, about an hour. Be careful not to scorch the chutney.

2. While the chutney is cooking, sterilize four or five glass jars and lids in boiling water or a hot oven. When the chutney has finished cooking, ladle it carefully into the clean jars and quickly screw on the lids. Turn the jars upside-down to cool. If you plan to eat the chutney within a few weeks of making it, there's no need to can it; simply keep it in the fridge.

Friday Link Love


Friends, I have had the flu. Or something like it. For the past week, I have felt little better than death warmed over. I have been tired and cold and my throat has hurt and sitting upright for more than twenty minutes has made me want to weep quietly into my mug of hot water and lemon. Forgive my absence, is what I'm trying to say.

My appetite was on the fritz as well, so even though I baked a cake for a friend's birthday just before the germs engulfed me entirely (this cake and, lo, it was good), and made myself a few invalid lunches (Better Than Bouillon, you complete me), I couldn't muster the enthusiasm to tell you about any of it. Woe!

But enough bellyaching. You don't want to hear about how a little flu can crush one woman's spirit to live or at least shower, do you? Instead let's talk about what other people have been up to. Why, some of them even make me want to get out of bed again:

Intellectualizing the salad: Nancy Silverton writes a manifesto on salad-making, most of which makes me want to cheer out loud (except the part about eating with your fingers). Now to track down some Little Gems.

Speaking of salad, Amanda Hesser likes hers "bruising" and "feisty". A woman, and a salad, after my own heart.

Have you ever heard of a chutney sandwich?

Desperately seeking heartburn: Brandi and Brandon make homemade hot sauce that sounds pretty fierce. Now what are the chances I'll find Fresno chiles anywhere in the Federal Republic of Germany?

Jenny and Andy's brilliant blog is about the cooking life when you have small people living in your house and eating at your dinner table, but their recipes (and wit) work for the childless, too. Case in point: this post on Truly Truly Divine Peanut Butter Sauce which turns out to be the only thing I'd like to eat right this very moment.

Canned creamed corn in a stir-fry - really? I admit, I am totally intrigued.

Oh, to live in Los Angeles with a yard and a farmer's market around the corner and a husband to make you an after-work snack consisting of homemade tortilla chips, quacamole and margaritas... Warning: Heather Taylor's webisodes might possibly make you green with envy.

It's Friday, which means Max comes home tonight for the weekend. Ever wonder what our Friday nights look like? The lovely Sarah Copeland of Edible Living dug a little deeper, here and here (bonus wedding photo!).

And with that, lovely folks, I hope you have a great weekend. Here's to Friday nights, showering and good health!

Liana Krissoff's Canning for a New Generation


A few years ago, I spent a day with my colleagues brainstorming new book ideas. We were hunkered down in the Soho apartment of the parents of our editorial director (they were generous, it was big) and, armed with pens and pads of paper, we went around the table and talked about the kinds of books we wanted to publish. I had made a list of four book ideas that I really wanted to pursue, but today, sitting here, I can only remember one.

Because after that brainstorming session, I went back to the office to check my email one last time before leaving for vacation the next day and there, sitting in my inbox, sent at about the exact moment that I was telling my boss and my colleagues that I desperately wanted to publish a modern, updated book on canning and jam-making, pickling and preserving, was an email from one of the company's authors, laying out her vision for that exact book.

Kismet! Fate! It was hard not to run to the CEO of the company right then and there, begging him for approval and, oh, some money, too.

A few weeks later, we had a deal. Liana would write a comprehensive book on canning and preserving, chockful of recipes that were new and interesting. She would leave behind the fuddy-duddy and slightly snoozy tone of all the older canning books. She would mine the preserving techniques of other cultures and she would include recipes for what to do with those fermented long beans you spent precious time finding in Chinatown and then putting up, all the while making sure that readers' hands would be held as they went from making their first batch of strawberry jam to their very own Indian lime pickle.


In Liana's own words, "The recipes are for people a little bit like me...who upon hearing 'pickle' remember Mom's sweet watermelon-rind pickles ice-cold out of the fridge, but also think of the dollop of goodness that goes on top of a bowl of curried lentils, or the dainty dish of tsukemono pickles that might come with the sashimi at a good sushi bar. Those people for whom 'ferment' means not just full-sour dills bobbing about in a crock of cloudy brine on the Lower East Side but also spicy red kimchi. And those of us who, while thoroughly enjoying a sweet, thick slather of classic peach preserves on toast every now and then (or, okay, often) might prefer a tart-sweet black plum jam spiked with fragrant cardamom, or a small spoonful of fig preserves with port and rosemary alongside a wedge of veiny blue cheese and a thick slice of dark bread."

That was exactly the book I wanted to publish.


As Liana worked on her book, she'd periodically send me photos of her pantry shelves that were filling at an alarming rate. Jar after jar of jams and pickles lined the room. It was like a settler's dream. Sometimes, if I was lucky, Liana would even send me a few things to try: a delicately-set grapefruit jam, tea jelly or, my very favorite, that plum jam flavored with cardamom.

In the end, Liana's manuscript turned out to be even better than I could have imagined on that hot day in August when her email first hit my inbox. It was big. It was comprehensive. It was interesting. And it was funny.

Take, for example, Liana's headnote on making her own sauerkraut:

"Although it may seem as if you're having - as my husband said when he walked in on me with my arms elbow-deep in a mass of pale-green shreds - 'a difficult immigrant experience', squeezing cabbage and salt together to make sauerkraut is fun."


But best of all, the manuscript was smart. Liana teaches you how to make kimchi and then gives you a recipe for pork and kimchi dumplings. She tells you how to make Chinese plum sauce and then gives you a recipe for Mu Shu pork using the plum sauce. She tells you how to make a Sidecar using the Brandied Cherries from the previous page. Liana comes up with all these great new staples that you just have to have in your pantry and then gets your mouth watering with dinner recipes that actually use them.

We got Rinne Allen, a talented photographer, to do the photography for the book and her lush, thoughtful images paired beautifully with Liana's recipes and pithy prose. The two would meet, week after week, at Liana's house in Georgia and Rinne would shoot what Liana was working on that day.


The book is divided into seasons, so there are four main chapters and then, within those chapters, Liana splits the recipes between fruits and vegetables. For those of you intimidated by preserving and canning (hot water baths! botulism! equipment!), Liana demystifies everything in soothing, sensible terms. She makes you feel capable and safe. And, really, her recipes will have you chafing at the bit to get started, whether you're a novice or not.

Liana's philosophy, when it comes to jams, is that the less commercial pectin you use, the more delicious your jams will be. And so, with a few exceptions, her recipes for jams, jellies, preserves and conserves are made without commercial pectin and the amount of sugar she uses lets the bright, beautiful flavor of the fruit shine through. Always.


Shall we look at a quick sampling of some of Liana's recipes? Let's. I'm hungry.

Tomato and Cashew Chutney, Simple Pickled Jalapeño Slices (that you use, then, to make a Sliced, Braised Beef Sandwich, yowrrr), Candied-Pickled Apples with Star Anise, Minted Cranberry Relish with Walnuts, North Indian Carrot Pickle, Honeyed Fig Jam with Sesame Seeds, Achar Segar (what, you didn't know how to say "Indonesian Pickles" in Indonesian?), Pineapple Jam with Chinese Five-Spice, Quince Slices in Cinnamon Syrup (that you later use in a Persian lamb stew), Nuka, also known as Japanese Fermented Bran Pickles, and Hibiscus Jelly.

(Who else is hungry now?)

(But don't worry, the classics are here as well: Strawberry Jam, Apple Butter, Raspberry Preserves, Cherry Jam, among many others.)


Canning for a New Generation, much to my utter delight, turned out to be even better than I could have ever hoped for on that hot day in August when it was just a twinkle in both of our eyes. Liana put an enormous amount of work into the book and her passion fairly jumps off the page. It's a delight to read and is an inspiration in the kitchen. It's beautiful to look at and it's an incredible resource. Take a look at that cart up there: It holds all the jams I've made in the last three months, most of them done with Liana's book open on the counter. Raspberry Mint Jam, Plum Cardamom Jam and Holiday Cherries are just a few of my favorites. And one day, I like to dream that I will have an actual pantry like Liana's to line with identical jars filled with all the season's bounty. It will be grand.

Are you scared of jam-making and preserving? Liana will hold your hand. Are you bored with the plain pickles and jams you already know how to make in your sleep? Liana will lead you down the path of international pickling and preserving. Of all the many cookbooks on my bookshelf (and there are many, so many), this is the one that most consistently gets "borrowed" and not returned. Quite literally. I've had to ask my very kind former employers for a replacement copy of the book more times than I care to admit.

So, maybe, when you buy a copy, if you buy a copy, think about getting two. Then chain one to your kitchen counter so that no one can ever take it from you, or deface it with a big black marker ("Property of Geraldine! Keep Out!") so that no one will want it, and give the other one away. You'll thank me for this tip later.