Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Hard winter tomatoes

Even though it's still 90 degrees every day here in Tucson, the signs of the rapidly receding fall are everywhere. The days are getting shorter, the nights colder and we've started to get more greens and squash from the CSA. Another sign is the diminishing quality of the tomatoes we're getting. A few months ago, the tomatoes were so awesome, I could hardly wait to get them home, toast some whole-wheat bread, slather it with butter, fat slices of tomato, salt and pepper.

Now the tomatoes are smaller, hard, and very green when we get them, and they don't ripen to much, so I've been looking for a way to use up the pile I've accumulated in the past several weeks. When I picked up some dried apricots at the store this weekend, I remembered this wonderful chutney adapted from my much beloved (and by now raggy) Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant cookbook. It's great for those yucky hard yellow-orange tomatoes that are available at this time of year. Use it on rice, beans, curries, and tofu.

Tomato-Apricot Chutney
1 T. garlic, minced
2 tsp. ground dry ginger
3/4 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. gram marsala
1 T. butter or ghee

In a heavy saucepan, saute the garlic and spices in the butter for 1 minute.

3 c. chopped, firm red or green tomatoes
1/2 c. chopped, dried apricots
1/2 c. raisins
1 T honey or agave syrup
2 T. apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp. salt

Cook for 30 minutes until the fruit is soft and the chutney is thick. You may need to add a little more sweetener or vinegar depending on your taste. Will last for several weeks in a covered jar in the refrigerator.

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