HELPING FAMILY FARMS FLOURISH. HELPING FEED THE HUNGRY.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Tomato Jam and a trip down Memory Lane

 
        

Every autumn, some primal instinct arises and I feel compelled to ‘put up’ my farm stand finds so that, as they shutter for the season, I’ll have a winter pantry of homemade tomato sauces and chunky tomatoes to put into pasta sauces or, at their simplest, just use for a pasta sauce all by themselves.  A couple of weeks ago, I showed you the collection of Heirloom tomatoes plucked from The Bridgehampton Florist’s Hampton Classic table.   I thought I’d outdone myself.   But darned if I wasn’t at the farm stand where I was confronted by a big basket of ‘culls’ – tomatoes not pretty enough for Caprese but irresistibly priced at $5.00 for at least a dozen. I also had an added incentive:  Our latest houseguests, Jill and Steven, had most thoughtfully given us an enormous Stock Pot –just perfect for canning.   I took my cull tomatoes home and pulled out my trusty "Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving". Lo and behold, there was a recipe for Tomato Preserves.  Not only did its combination of sweet and spicy appeal to me, it conjured up all kinds of memories.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Butter Chicken adapted from Sam Sifton and Suvir Saran

Inspiration and Photo Courtesy of The New York Times and Sarah Ann Ward
Suvir Saran
        The moment the thermometer drops below 60 degrees, I cannot wait to put some Indian food on the table.  This makes very little sense since the average temperature on the Indian sub-continent is 65.5 degrees.  And in Delhi, where this recipe was invented, the average is 77.4.  But I wait to serve Indian comfort food once summer is over. And I could not wait to serve this outstanding example of wonderful Indian cooking. Outside of India, this recipe is called Chicken Tikka Masala.  It may surprise you to know that this yogurt and spice-marinated dish with its onions, ginger and tomatoes scented with cumin, turmeric, cinnamon and garam masala has only recently been deposed as Britain’s most popular dish. (It was replaced by Chinese stir frys.)  There are, of course, dozens of variations of this classic, whose origin dates from the 1940s. It was first served at a restaurant which itself was a first.  According to Suvir Saran in “Indian Home Cooking” (Clarkson Potter 2004), Moti Mahal (The Palace of Pearls) was India’s first, real sitdown restaurant where, when India gained its independence from Britain, Indians of all classes could enjoy a sit-down meal indoors.  From its kitchen came the first Butter Chicken, which, by the way, is what the dish is always called in India.  And Butter Chicken, by the way, is not swimming in butter although it does use a quarter pound of the stuff.