And when a hurricane comes along…

I did a little bit of tidying up in the backyard on Saturday (but I realize now it was not enough) – things like moving the grill into the garage in preparation of a hurricane. While I was out there, I realized that my cherry tomato plant still had fruit. I plucked everything that was red or starting to change color, but I initially left all the tomatoes that were green. Further storm warnings encouraged me to pluck all the green tomatoes or risk losing them altogether. I ended up with one pound of green cherry tomatoes, more than I thought I was going to end up with.

After some quick googling, I settled on making a small batch of green tomato chutney. My adaptation was this:

1lbs green cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 onion, chopped
1/2 c. evaporated cane sugar
1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
handful of raisins, maybe 1/2 c.
1 small cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 T mustard seeds
pinch of salt

The how-to:
Everything goes into a saucepan. Bring it to a boil over high heat. When boiling occurs, reduced the heat to a simmer and let it simmer gently for about an hour. Stir occasionally. When you get closer to the end of the cooking time, the mixture will be thicker and stirring more frequently will become important – about the last 10 minutes, I would say.  Don’t stand over the pot, you might accidentally get a whiff of cooking vinegar… not that I would know.  Maybe.  *cough*

Since my batch was so small, there was no point in using proper canning techniques.  I warmed a couple of glass jars (mostly out of paranoia – I believe glass can go cold to hot with no thermoshock, but it’s the hot to cold that can cause glass to shatter) and poured the chutney into them.  Once they had cooled thoroughly, they went straight into the refrigerator.

I tasted the chutney last night and again today. This chutney seems to get better with age, so I’m to leave the jars alone for a few days at least. I might need to reduce the sugar next time, but I definitely suggest making chutney as away to cook up the last of your garden’s tomatoes.

The chutney was my biggest accomplishment this weekend, but I had a lot of little accomplishments too.  I experimented with shashuka last night, following the guidelines of Yotem Ottolenghi.

Since my office was closed today for the hurricane, I made a half batch of DIY instant oatmeal this morning.  I used the recipe found in Alana Chernila’s “The Homemade Pantry.”  Although, instead of using cinnamon, I used Trader Joe’s pumpkin spice mix.  Usually, I’m cautious of pumpkin spice mixes.  But when I read the label on the Trader Joe’s version, I was curious.  I really like it.  It’s bolder than some other mixes.  Other people may be turned off by that, but not me.  DIY instant oatmeal with pumpkin spices won my approval.

DIY instant oatmeal didn’t take a lot of time to make.  When the afternoon rolled around, I felt the need to make pumpkin bread.  I was originally planning on making two loaves, one for the house and one for the office, but I was short an egg.  meh.  I experimented with my favorite pumpkin bread recipe – instead of 1 3/4 cups of all purpose flour, I used 1 1/4 cups of spelt flour and 1/2 cup of bread flour.  And instead of my usual combination of spices, I used the TJs pumpkin spice mix again.  Again, I had no complaints.  No complaints on my flour substitutions either.  I would have used AP flour, except that I was all out and I refused to go out in bad weather just to buy some (or buy some more eggs for that matter).

That was the bulk of my hurricane cooking.  I decided against any further cooking because I have an electric stove.  I didn’t want to risk the chance of losing power while I was in the kitchen.  Thankfully, my house still has power so far.  *knock on wood*

Sadly, I have no pictures of the oatmeal or the bread because I forgot to break out the camera.  Plus, I hate to shoot in bad lightening (ie. the shashuka photo above).  I’ve come away from this weekend with one thought – “I should buy a indoor gas burner for emergencies like hurricanes.”

Reference links:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/apr/16/yotam-ottolenghi-shakshuka-recipe

http://www.growntocook.com/?p=1519

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