Green Tomato Relish

easy green tomato relish

At the end of the season, there always seem to be green tomatoes left clinging to the vine. Over the weekend I went to my mom’s house on the shore to help ‘batten down the hatches’ before the hurricane. During summer, she had the most bountiful tomato plants with the sweetest tomatoes. But with a massive storm surge on the way, it was time to salvage what we could, and say goodbye to the plants.  So I came home with a pile of green tomatoes.

I spent Sunday night cooking up a storm, in preparation for the hurricane. As it turned out, we were extremely lucky and never lost power, but I had baked bread, tossed pasta salad, and made meatloaf. And I began the great  green-tomato-relish-experiment.  Not only had I never made green tomato relish, I had never even tasted green tomato relish.

It turns out that green tomato relish is really easy to make, and also really tasty.  However, after an evening of experimentation I determined that the type of vinegar is really key here.  Although many recipes call for cider vinegar, I really liked my batch with white balsamic best.  Of course, white balsamic is quite sweet, so you don’t need as much sugar as you might see in other green tomato relish recipes.

This relish is tangy and sweet and wonderful on meatloaf.  It also happens to be great on grilled cheese.  And I spooned a bit over my scrambled eggs this morning, which was lovely. Of course, it would be great on a hamburger or hot dog too!

I hope you all made it through the storm safe and sound!

Easy Green Tomato Relish

1/4 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cups chopped green tomatoes

2 cups white balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup of water

3 tablespoons sugar

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a saucepan, saute the onion, pepper and garlic in oil over medium heat until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the tomatoes, the vinegar, the water and the sugar. Simmer gently over medium heat until most of the liquid has evaporated – about 20 minutes (plus or minus depending on your tomatoes). Add the salt and pepper to taste.  Cool the relish and serve or store in the fridge for up to a week.

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Published in: on October 30, 2012 at 6:44 pm  Comments (8)  
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Radish Green and Cashew Pesto

pesto made with radish leaves

Remember in the spring when I made this lovely radish tartine? I was thrilled at the adorable little radishes growing in my garden.   I have long dreamed of a beautiful and fruitful kitchen garden. I always believed that if I ever got to live someplace with a back yard, I would have pounds of squash and bushels of peppers.  But as it turns out, even with that lovely back yard at my disposal, gardening is not an innate talent that I possess.

I’m working on it. With advice from friends, and some trial and error, I may just get that fantasy garden someday. For now, I make do with easy to grow radishes.  Radishes do especially well in cool weather, making them a great fall pick as well as a spring treasure. And at the moment, I have more radishes than I know what to do with.  A lovely problem to have.

I also have more radish greens that I can store in my fridge.  I’m not one to waste food in general, particularly not food I’ve grown in my own garden.  So I’ve been finding all sorts of ways to enjoy these greens, which remind me a bit of watercress. Young radish greens are tender and sweet, and add a nice bite to salads.  More mature radish greens are a bit spicier and a little more woody, and are lovely sautéed with garlic in oil and tossed with pasta. If you are using radish greens from store-bought radishes, just be sure to pick bunches of radishes with the freshest, brightest-looking greens (this will ensure fresh, crisp radishes too).

For this radish green and cashew pesto you can use young greens for a milder flavor, or mature greens for greater intensity. Either way, this is a unique sauce.  Don’t expect this to have any of the subtle sweetness of a traditional basil pesto. No, this pesto is bold and radish-forward.  But it is lovely.  It is wonderful on sandwiches, delicious over grilled fish, tasty tossed with fresh pasta, and fantastic stirred into scrambled eggs.  My favorite way to eat it, though, is spread thickly on a simple piece of whole grain toast.

This pesto will keep for a few days in the fridge, but I do plan to freeze my next batch.  The flavor pop of fresh radish greens will be welcome on a cold day mid-winter, I am sure.

pesto made with garden fresh greens

Radish Green and Cashew Pesto

2 cups loosely packed fresh radish greens

1/2 cup roasted unsalted cashews

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 ounces parmesan cheese, grated

1/4 cup olive oil

Add the radish greens, cashews, salt, and cheese to the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse to finely chop the nuts and greens. Slowly, with the machine running, drizzle the oil into the bowl.  Continue to process until the mixture is well combined and no chunks remain (stop and scrape down the sides of the food processor bowl as needed). Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Published in: on October 14, 2012 at 2:37 pm  Comments (9)  
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Aleppo Roasted Carrots with Green Garbanzos and Cider-Poached Raisins

carrots green garbanzo beans

Last weekend we were in Vermont for a dear friend’s wedding.  In between a rehearsal dinner of sweet potato coconut pizza, the heart-warming marriage vows, and the after-party bonfire s’mores, Jeff and I managed to squeeze in a visit to the Rutland farmer’s market. A great farmer’s market is a treasure. And hitting a great farmer’s market on a great day in the middle of a great harvest, well, that’s just about as good as it gets.  I’m very lucky that Jeff is ever-willing to help me haul my purchases home, because I couldn’t help myself.  From beautiful pink radishes to tiny jars of picked garlic, to shimmering bottles of sweet icewine, I went a little overboard. But the best purchase of the day was these beautiful multi-colored carrots.

multicolored carrots

I adore roasted carrots.  They are nutty and sweet, and when dusted with Aleppo pepper, just a bit smokey. The combination of sweet root vegetables and subtle Aleppo pepper is addictive. You can serve the Aleppo roasted carrots all by themselves as a great side dish.  But the addition of green garbanzo beans and plump raisins takes this from side dish to meal. I have occasionally been able to find fresh garbanzo beans, but more often they are available frozen.   And if you can’t find Aleppo pepper, you can substitute Spanish paprika to mimic the sweet and smokey flavor.

puprple carrots yellow carrots white carrots

Aleppo Roasted Carrots with Green Garbanzos and Cider-Poached Raisins

Serves 2 as a main course

5 cups chopped carrots

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons Aleppo pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup frozen green garbanzo beans

1/4 cup raisins

1/4 cup apple cider

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the carrots with the oil, Aleppo pepper, and salt.  Spread the carrots on a baking sheet and roast until lightly browned at the edges, about 25 minutes. Meanwhile, microwave the garbanzos with a few tablespoons of water for 2 minutes, then drain.  Simmer the raisins in the cider until they are very plum, about 5 minutes (you can also do this in the microwave if you prefer, just watch so it doesn’t boil over).  To serve, toss the roasted carrots, garbanzos, and raisins together.  Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if you like.

Published in: on October 7, 2012 at 12:21 pm  Comments (5)  
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