Cherry Mostarda

Cherry mostarda

Cherries are the It fruit right now, and I know you could easily just kick back on a hammock and eat a bowlful of them on a summer’s day, but why not jazz up your life a little and make a mostarda?

Making condiment sauces with seasonal, ripe fruit can a creative way to use up what doesn’t get eaten straight out of the fridge. Fresh fruit mustards taste so much better than the usual mustard or ketchup you can buy and squeeze out of a plastic bottle.

This recipe is a riff on a traditional Italian condiment, mostarda di frutta, a sweet-hot-tangy preserve. Most versions of a mostarda, like Mostarda di Cremona, tend to consist of whole pieces of fruit in a mustard and vinegar-laced sugar syrup, served with meats in northern regions of Italy like Tuscany and Piedmont.

cherry mostarda

My recipe is very much inspired by Madeleine Kamman, the amazing French cooking teacher and food scholar. Her book In Madeleine’s Kitchen includes some recipes for “Italian-style fruit puree mustards”.

Here are some ideas for what to do with your Cherry Mostarda (because believe me, after pitting a few pounds of cherries you will not want to waste a bit!) :

  • Use cherry mostarda in place of Dijon mustard in a salad dressing to make a cherry vinaigrette.
  • Spread a charcoal-grilled burger with mostarda – I seasoned chicken burgers with fennel and fresh rosemary and topped them with goat cheese and mostarda. Yum.
  • Glaze a pork tenderloin or some chicken wings with mostarda.
  • Put some on a ham sandwich.

** Thanks to Ruthie from The Twice Bitten for her idea of another way to enjoy this mostarda – on a cheese board. Yes!

Cherry Mostarda

Ingredients

  1. 1 pound Bing cherries, pitted
  2. 1/3 cup sugar
  3. 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  4. 1/4 cup full-bodied red wine, such as zinfandel or malbec
  5. 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  6. 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  7. 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  8. 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Instructions

  1. Combine everything except the Dijon in a small, heavy saucepan. Bring to a simmer then lower heat and cook until reduced to a thick puree with the consistency of ketchup, about 1 hour over low heat. Stir in the Dijon off the heat and season if needed.
  2. Crush the cherries with a potato masher or pulse in a blender or food processor if you prefer a smoother texture.
  3. Keep in a covered jar in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks.
http://familystylefood.com/2011/06/cherry-mostarda/

Roasted Strawberry Refrigerator Jam

I bought 8 pounds of beautiful, ripe, organic strawberries the other day at Costco. Because I have some serious fruit lovers in my house the berries disappeared pretty quick, almost before I could set aside what I needed to make this jam.

My plan was to make a simple standby recipe from Cooking Light for refrigerator jam – no canning or sterilizing required – but I had some other things to do and didn’t want to stand watch for the better part of an hour over a pot of simmering strawberries.

So I let the oven do the work, a technique I employ a lot in my cooking. Hands free is a great thing in the kitchen.

I usually make this jam with red wine or balsamic vinegar instead of brandy, but this time I used the last drops from a bottle of framboise (clear raspberry liqueur). Strawberry-flavored vodka would be fun to try, too.

There’s an inspiring feature in the April 2011 O Magazine on women food entrepreneurs, Seven Women Who Turned Their Passion for Food into a Career. I found a few of the food products mentioned in the story during my many shopping travels.

I spread Belle Chevre Honey Breakfast Cheese on Effie’s Homemade Oatcakes, then topped with some jam. Delicious!

Roasted Strawberry Refrigerator Jam

Yield: About 1 1/2 cups

Ingredients

  1. 4 cups strawberries, hulled and quartered
  2. 1/2 cup sugar
  3. 2 tablespoons clear fruit brandy (raspberry, strawberry, cherry) or strawberry-flavored vodka
  4. 1 vanilla bean pod, split, plus scraped seeds

Instructions

  1. Toss the strawberries in a bowl with the sugar, brandy, vanilla pod and scraped seeds. Let stand 10 minutes. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet or small roasting pan.
  2. Roast in a 250 degree oven for about 2 hours, until the berries are very soft and shriveled. Mix around once or twice as they cook.
  3. Let the syrupy berries cool. Remove the vanilla pod. Pulse in a food processor or mash by hand with a potato masher to a chunky consistency.
  4. Store in a covered jar in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks.
http://familystylefood.com/2011/04/roasted-strawberry-refrigerator-jam/

Burnt-Sugar Mango Chutney & Goat Cheese Naanwich

I have a thing for flatbreads of any name and nationality – pita, roti, pizza, naan or chapati – you name it and I’ll happily eat it. Or make a sandwich out of it and then eat it.

Flatbreads are easy to make, but life gets busy. I grab them ready-made at my local international foods market or the grocery store. Naan are dependably available where I shop so I’ve been keeping them on hand lately.

You don’t have to use your own homemade mango chutney to make this simple sandwich; as our friend Ina Garten would say,”storebought is fine”…but once you see how little is involved in the recipe you might be tempted to make a batch.

The first time I made this chutney I was in a big, bad hurry and I didn’t read the recipe correctly. So I went on my merry way and caramelized the sugar before adding all the ingredients. It turned out to be one of those delicious mistakes.

I think of chutney as a gateway preserve for those with the itch to “put something up”, minus the need to fuss around with sterilizing jars, lids and giant pots full of boiling sugary fruit taking up every burner on the stove .

It keeps for forever in the fridge (Okay, maybe not forever. One year. A long time.) and it can be used in glazes, marinades, salad dressings or just as the delicious condiment it is.

Burnt-Sugar Mango Chutney & Goat Cheese Naanwich

When I first made this chutney, I was in a hurry and misread the instructions. Instead of boiling sugar and water together, I cooked the sugar alone until it caramelized and then added the rest of the ingredients. My goof turned out to be a delicious one - I loved the deep color and flavor of the chutney. So I pass my recipe foible onto you.

Ingredients

  1. 3/4 cup sugar
  2. 1 cup water
  3. 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  4. 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  5. 2 teaspoons nigella seeds (optional)
  6. 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  7. 2 firm mangoes (about 2 pounds), peeled , pitted and chopped
  8. 3 crushed garlic cloves
  9. 1/3 cup peeled, grated fresh ginger
  10. 1/2 cup golden raisins
  11. 1/4 moist dates, pitted and chopped
  12. Fine sea salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat the sugar in a heavy, medium saucepan, whisking over medium heat until dissolved and beginning to turn the color of butterscotch. Add the water - it will sputter so stand back.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the mango is very soft and the chutney has thickened, about 30 minutes. Taste and season little by little with up to 1/2 teaspoon salt to taste. The flavor should get brighter, not salty.Makes about 2 cups.
  3. To make the Naanwich, cut one naan bread in half. Spread one half with soft goat cheese, chopped cilantro, arugula or spinach and about 2 tablespoons mango chutney. Top with other half. Cook on an oiled, hot panini grill or heavy ridged grill pan until toasted.

Notes

http://familystylefood.com/2011/03/burnt-sugar-mango-chutney-goat-cheese-naanwich/