My new loves

December is here!

We’ve made it to the final month of 2021. This year flew by too quickly. However your year has been, let’s finish strong and with a BANG!

There’s a lot happening during the month of December. At least for me. However, I often reflect on the year and orchestrate goals for the new year, while living through and experiencing my most favorite time of the year.

Culinary journey thus far…

My pâtisserie course is coming to a close in two weeks. I will have completed two courses by the end of the year. I’ve learned so much in the last five months of culinary school. Applying to Escoffier has made me get out of my comfort zone. I have cooked and baked so many different dishes I never thought of making prior to this program. Things like fresh bread and pasta, sauces/condiments, and purées. Some dishes have been challenging, but it’s been worth the frustration. It’s taught me to have a lot of patience. These culinary skills continues to fuel my passion every week. Furthermore, it’s reminded of why I started this journey. I love to cook! And, sharing my dishes with others is the absolute best!

Highlights this week

This week, I’m highlighting two of my newest favorite sauces and condiments that are simple to make: tomato raisin chutney and mostarda. Chutney originates from India and mostarda derives from Italy. Chutney can be used as a dipping sauce, a glaze, a spread; with cheese, gamey meats, in sandwiches… You name it! Mostarda is served with meats and cheese that make up a beautiful charcuterie board.

These sauces were so fun to make. And oh-so-yummy! I plan to make a variety of chutneys and mostardas, using different dried fruits this holiday season. I can’t wait! It’s going to be phenomenal!

Recipes:

Tomato raisin chutney:

  • 1 lb 4 oz fresh tomatoes
  • 1 oz garlic, chopped
  • ½ oz fresh ginger root, peeled and chopped
  • 2 fl oz red wine vinegar (1st quantity)
  • 3 fl oz red wine vinegar (2nd quantity)
  • 4 oz sugar
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp chopped hot chiles
  • ¾ oz raisins
  • Mixing bowls/cups/spoons for mise en place ingredients
  • Food scale
  • Cutting board
  • Chef knife
  • Paring knife
  • Sauce pot
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Food processor (or blender)
  • Wooden spoon
  • Airtight container

Mostarda:

  • 4 oz dried fruit (i.e., raisins, cranberries)
  • ¼ of red onion, minced (or 1 shallot)
  • ¼ c dry white wine
  • ¼ c white wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp dry mustard powder
  • Mixing bowls/cups/spoons for mise en place ingredients
  • Food scale
  • Sauce pot
  • Wooden spoon
  • Food processor or blender (optional)
  • Airtight container

Production steps:

Tomato raisin chutney:

  1. With a paring knife, make an “x” on the bottom of the tomatoes.
  2. Blanch tomatoes in boiling water for 10-20 seconds to loosen skins.
  3. Peel and trim.
  4. Cut tomatoes into quarters.
  5. Combine garlic, ginger, and first quantity of vinegar into a food processor to purée.
  6. Combine tomatoes, purée mixture, second quantity of vinegar, sugar, and salt in a saucepan.
  7. Bring the mixture to a boil and stir to dissolve sugar.
  8. Cook at a slow simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture becomes thick. 
  9. Add the chiles and raisins. Simmer for another 5-10 minutes.
  10. Remove from heat and cool.
  11. Store in an airtight container, refrigerate for up to a week.

Mostarda:

  1. In a small sauce pot, combine dried fruit, red onion (or shallot), wine, vinegar, and sugar and bring to a boil.
  2. Cover and cook until dried fruit is hydrated.
  3. Stir in mustard powder.
  4. Cook, uncovered until mostarda has a jam-like consistency.
  5. If desired, mostarda can be pulsed in a food processor for a smoother texture.
  6. Store in an airtight container, refrigerate for up to a week.

Holiday wishes and tips

Wishing you and yours a jolly holiday season. Remember to enjoy this time of year and not stress out. The holidays can be very busy and hectic with all the hustle and bustle. This weekend, I’ve been reminded to set small, reasonable goals to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Also, to accept what is and do what I can. One of the many things that’s important to me is being able to reminisce and create new memories during this special time.

Be safe, stay well, and take care of one another.

Cheers~

FS x