Green Tomato Chow-Chow

This is my Dad’s Green Tomato Chow-Chow recipe. I think it originates from Nova Scotia, Canada as it is also known as “Nana’s Chow-Chow. It is made only with green tomatoes and onions, vinegar and spices. All my life, I’ve eaten precious rationed portions of this delicious mixture and called it Dad’s Green Tomato Chow-Chow.

I’m here to tell you this is really good stuff.

There are many recipes for chow-chow out there, Southern recipes call for everything left in the garden that is harvested just before the first frost: cabbage, peppers, onions, cucumbers. This one is different. And, it gets better as it ages.

Wash the tomatoes, and there is no peeling or seeding required!

Green Tomato Chow-Chow

Chow Chow PicIngredients:

8 cups chopped green tomatoes

4-6 medium sweet onions, sliced

1/2 cup kosher salt

(use non-iodized salt)

2 cups granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups white vinegar

1 teaspoon turmeric

(If using fresh turmeric, shred about 1 inch of a knob)

Grating fresh turmeric

Grating fresh turmeric

2 Tablespoons Pickling Spice in a bag (I used a tea ball)

Wash and slice the tomatoes and onions.

in a large bowl, sprinkle the salt over the tomatoes and onions; set a plate on top, cover and let this sit overnight. In the morning, rinse the tomatoes and onions to remove the salt. Strain, place into a large pot with the vinegar, sugar, turmeric and pickling spice.

Simmer the tomatoes and onions with pickling spices

Simmer the tomatoes and onions with pickling spices

Green Tomato Chow-chow

Bring to a boil, reduce to an active simmer and then let this simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Stir frequently to prevent sticking.

The entire mixture will cook down to a lovely sweet, tangy concoction with a jam like consistency. This is so good on grilled meats, as a glaze for ham or chicken or as a condiment with cheese.

One of our favorite ways to have it is with beans and cornbread. It makes the meal.

Chow-chow with grilled chicken leg quarters

Chow-chow with grilled chicken leg quarters

This is what it looks like when finished

This is what it looks like when finished

My Dad says this is a real treat because it is only made with the green tomatoes picked just before the first freeze. He says he can’t pick a tomato when it can turn red on the vine. He loves his tomatoes! I know he spoiled me from store-bought tomatoes. Every year, I always grow a plant or two. Sometimes successful, sometimes not. It’s a tradition to grow tomatoes every year.

I’ve encouraged mom to make him a Green Tomato Pie because he has been fascinated with making pies that taste like apple but not using apples. In the past he’s used zucchini and Ritz crackers (separate pies), so I hope he can add green tomato soon.

Another delicious slice of Green Tomato Pie

Another delicious slice of Green Tomato Pie

When I asked mom to make him a pie, he quickly said there weren’t enough greens left and frankly he’d rather have chow-chow.

I’ll have to wrap and send him a bottle to see how he likes it.

#greentomatochowchow #chowchow #southerncooking #pickling #dadsrecipe #southernfoods #passeddownrecipes #recipesfromhome

Jar of Green Tomato Chow-Chow

Jar of Green Tomato Chow-Chow

 

Ketchup or Catsup? Make Your Own

Whether you call it Ketchup or Catsup, we all love vibrant tomato ketchup for one reason or another. I can’t imagine eating pot roast without it, and it is divine with burgers and fries.

Did you know you can make it at home? Leave all the preservatives, artificial flavorings, high fructose corn syrups, red dyes behind you and follow this recipe. This looks vibrant, tastes great and your friends and family will simply LOVE it! Best of all, you know exactly what is in the food you are serving.

Picmonkey Homemade tomato ketchup

This is one small way we can take control of our food and avoid GMO‘s, high fructose corn syrup and other hidden sugars, fats, salts and preservatives. Take a stand against Big Food and learn to make your own ketchup! It’s small, but it will have a very healthy effect of your family!

Homemade Ketchup

For the spiced vinegar:

  • 1-1/2 cups white distilled vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon broken stick cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed

For the ketchup:

  • 5 ½ pounds tomatoes
  • 1 cup granulated sugar – separated into two ½ cup measurements
  • ½ medium onion chopped fine
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon non-iodized salt

Method:

Combine the first four ingredients. Bring to a boil; remove from heat then set aside to cool.

Wash the tomatoes. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Remove the core from the top of the tomatoes and cut a shallow X into the bottom end.

A "Tomato Shark" makes removing the blossom end simple and quick

A “Tomato Shark” makes removing the blossom end simple and quick

Scratch a shallow X on the bottom

Scratch a shallow X on the bottom

The skin will split when ready, the more ripe the tomato, the quicker this happens.

The skin will split when ready, the more ripe the tomato, the quicker this happens.

When the skin splits, plunge into ice water to stop cooking.

When the skin splits, plunge into ice water to stop cooking.

Slip the skins off the tomatoes, cut and squeeze out the seeds.

Slip the skins off the tomatoes, cut and squeeze out the seeds.

Set a large bowl of ice water near the pot of boiling water. Place the prepped tomatoes into the boiling water. As soon as the skin splits, remove and place the warm tomatoes in the ice water to stop cooking.

Slip the skins off the tomatoes. Slice them in half around the center of the tomato, not from top to bottom. Squeeze gently to remove all seeds. Do this over a strainer that is over a bowl to catch the juices that come from squeezing the seeds out.

Cut the tomatoes in quarters. Combine half of the tomatoes with ½ cup sugar, onion, garlic and cayenne pepper in a deep stainless steel pot. Bring to a boil and allow the tomato mixture to boil vigorously for 30 minutes, stirring often to avoid scorching.

After 30 minutes, add the remaining tomatoes and sugar and boil for another 30 minutes. At this point you will need to stir it often as the mixture gets thick.

Strain the vinegar and discard the spices. Add the spiced vinegar to the boiling tomato mixture, stirring constantly for 15 minutes or until the desired texture is reached.

Test the consistency by placing a small amount of the ketchup on a small plate. There should be no watery run off. If there is, keep cooking.

For smooth ketchup, puree using a stick blender, or use a blender to puree the hot mixture. Bottle the hot mixture in sterilized jars or another non-reactive container.

Store under refrigeration unless processing in a water bath canner. An “Old Wives” trick is to wrap each jar in brown paper to protect the color during storage. Not necessary if you store the jars in the refrigerator.

A vibrant bowl of homemade ketchup

A vibrant bowl of homemade ketchup

How to Make Mustard

Learning how to make mustard can be as simple as mixing a few things together or as complicated as soaking a few seeds. It’s not hard at all to make.

Make Your Own Mustard

While there are many different kinds of mustard you can make, this is a kinder gentler mustard, not too pungent.

All it takes is mix the ingredients together, heat until thick, bottle and cool.

Simple!

Make Basic Mustard

  • 1/2 cup dry mustard powder, Coleman’s is my favorite.
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, light or dark doesn’t matter
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (non-iodized)
  • 1/2 cup good quality white wine vinegar

Measure and mix everything in a heat-resistant bowl until a thin smooth paste forms.

Place the bowl over a pot of boiling water to make a double boiler, heat the mixture until it becomes thick. As the mustard thickens, whisk so it remains smooth.

Use a silicone spatula to get all the mustard in to a clean glass jar.

Allow to cool, cover, label and store.The mustard needs to sit for at least 2 hours before serving. The mustard will also “mellow” as it ages in the refrigerator.

Homemade Ketchup, Mustard and Relish

Homemade Ketchup, Mustard and Relish

I haven’t had a jar around long enough to tell you how long it lasts.

Use it as you would any mustard but be warned, it will spoil you from buying  processed store-bought mustard.

Dip a tasty sausage into mustard!

Dip a tasty sausage into mustard!

Decorate your hot dog the homemade mustard

Decorate your hot dog the homemade mustard

More mustard recipes coming soon such as whole grain mustard, Dijon style, champagne honey, and pear/apple mostarda.

Learning how to make mustard is an easy thing to do to reduce your consumption of processed foods.

Basic Mustard

Basic Mustard – Got a Pretzel?

Sweet Pickle Chips

Making Sweet Pickle Chips

Making Sweet Pickle Chips

I have to admit I have a great weakness for sweet pickle chips.

Well, actually not just sweet pickle chips, I have a weakness for nearly ALL things pickled.

Chances are if it hangs around on a pickling day it just may get processed into some kind of something sweet or sour or both.

Sweet Pickle Chips

Sweet Pickle Chips

There is something about the simple process and the synergistic reaction of all the ingredients that results in some of the most amazing flavors on earth.

OK, I can get carried away with pickles, but who wouldn’t? I’d rather look at silly pickle pictures on Facebook than all those animal pics. At one time, at another house, in another time, there was a 100 gallon propane tank above the ground to one side of the property. I wanted to paint it like a giant pickle. The gas company told me I would get fined so I didn’t. It was the perfect shape for a giant pickle too!

I get my love of pickles from my Dad. For years now, whenever it is time for a gift, I send him a renewed subscription to The Pickle of the Month Club. He loves them!

Anyway, back to these little gems. They aren’t too sweet. Here are a few pointers:

  • Select cucumbers the size of the pickles you want (Look at the diameter and the length)
  • A basket of goodies to pickle!

    A bowl of goodies to pickle!

  • Dissolve 1/2 cup salt in some luke-warm water. Add enough ice to cool the water down to cold. After washing add the cucumbers , soak them for 30 minutes in the salt water. There should be enough water to cover the cucumbers.
  • By the way, they will float, so dunk them a bit as you work around them. Play like they are submarines . . .

Soaking does a couple of things:

  • Helps eliminate any bugs and garden debris
  • Starts extracting excess water from the cucumbers so they absorb more brine. This step also helps to not dilute the brine when the cucumbers are added later.

Sweet Pickle Chips

Making Sweet Pickles Chips

Making Sweet Pickles Chips

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds of wax-less Kirby cucumbers, cleaned and cut into slices 1/4 inch thick
  • 8 ounces sweet onion, sliced into 1/4 inch thick slices

Simmering Brine:

  • 1 quart of water
  • 12 ounces apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon mixed pickling spice

Mix brine ingredients in a large pot, bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the sliced cucumbers and onions, return to a boil and lower heat. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Drain, discarding liquid unless processing another batch.

Pickling Vinegar Brine

  • 10 ounces white vinegar (NOT WINE Vinegar!)
  • 13.5 ounces granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon celery seeds
  • 1 teaspoon mixed pickling spice
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed  whole allspice berries
  • 2 bay leaves

Optional:

  • 2-3 cloves fresh garlic – for a fresh garlic flavor
  • 1-3 dried red chili pods or red jalapeno pepper – to give some heat!

Combine everything in a sauce pot and bring to a boil. It will need to be stirred to encourage the sugar to melt.

Stir the spices and sugar as you bring to a boil for the Pickling Brine.

Stir the spices and sugar as you bring to a boil for the Pickling Brine.

This mixture needs to be boiling when the vegetables are done simmering.

Procedure:

Wash the cucumbers in water slightly warmer than the cucumbers. Soak in a large bowl of cold water with 1/2 cup salt in it.

This helps eliminate any insects and garden debris that may be lurking on the cucumbers.

Mix the simmering brine ingredients, put on the range top over high heat to bring to a boil.

Mix the pickling vinegar brine and put that over high heat, stirring often to prevent the sugar from burning.

Drain the cucumbers after they have been soaking for at least 30 minutes.

Slice the cucumbers and onions into 1/4 inch slices.

Slice the cukes 1/4" thick

Slice the cukes 1/4″ thick

When the simmering brine reaches a boil, drop in the cucumbers and onions, return to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.

Drain the vegetables, discarding liquid (Unless processing another batch).

Place the cukes and onions in a large canning jar. Using a wide mouth funnel, pour the boiling pickling brine into the jar all the way to the top. Leave as little head room as possible. Everything must be submerged under the pickling brine.

If you find there are pieces that want to float, place a small glass plate or dish on the surface to hold everything down.

At first the jars may appear cloudy but as the turmeric and celery seeds settle to the bottom, the vinegar will clear up and you can enjoy looking at gleaming bottles of an amazing turmeric colored sweet pickles!

A Jar of Sweet Pickle Chips

A Jar of Sweet Pickle Chips

Resist eating them for at least 4 days but they are amazing if you can hold off for 3-4 weeks. Everything mellows and they become one divine pickle. But if you must, you can taste the next day, just remember they will mellow considerable as they age.

Once you try these, the half sour pickles and the pickled cauliflower, and pickled beets, you will never buy pickles again! I really like that idea – “No processed food unless you process it yourself” is my new motto!

Slicing cucumbers for Sweet Pickle Chips

Slicing cucumbers for Sweet Pickle Chips

You may notice this recipe is the same as the pickled cauliflower recipe and it is! All I have done is substituted the main pickling ingredient.

Cool thing with these is if you ever need pickle relish and don’t have any, simple chop of some of the pickles and onions and you have a great relish! Especially if you add a red chili or sweet red pepper, but not much. The flavor would overwhelm everything else in the jar.

Remember to serve the onions too! If you use a sweet onion like Vidalia, they become another kind of special.

Keep these in the refrigerator unless you want to process them in a canning process to make them shelf stable.

A Jar of Sweet Pickle Chips

A Jar of Sweet Pickle Chips

I find the sweet pickle chips don’t last long enough to can so just get set to make more.

Enjoy!

Pickled Cauliflower

Pickled cauliflower ingredients

Pickled cauliflower ingredients

I don’t know about you, but I LOVE cauliflower, especially when its pickled cauliflower! When I was little, I would go into the jar of mixed pickles in the refrigerator and pick out the few bits of cauliflower that could be found. It was always disappointing because if you were lucky, you could find two pieces in a single jar.

And my dad likes it as much as I do. I always wanted to see a jar of pickled cauliflower on the shelves of the grocery, but when I have seen them, the contents have always been disappointing.

Yummy Pickled Cauliflower!

Yummy Pickled Cauliflower!

SO, using a pickling method I use to make sweet pickles, I used cauliflower instead of cucumbers with lip-smacking good delightful flavor.

Pickled Cauliflower

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds of cauliflower, cleaned and broken into 2-3 bite size bits – measure after cleaning the cauliflower
  • 8 ounces sweet onion, sliced into 1/4 inch thick slices

Simmering Brine:

  • 1 quart of water
  • 12 ounces apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon mixed pickling spice

Mix brine ingredients in a large pot, bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the cauliflower and onions, return to a boil and lower heat. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Boil the vegetables in the simmering brine for 10 minutes

Boil the vegetables in the simmering brine for 10 minutes

Drain, discarding liquid unless processing another batch.

While vegetables are simmering, make the vinegar pickling brine.

Pickling Vinegar Brine

  • 10 ounces white vinegar (NOT WINE Vinegar!)
  • 13.5 ounces granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon celery seeds
  • 1 teaspoon mixed pickling spice
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed  whole allspice berries
  • 2 bay leaves

Optional:

  • 2-3 cloves fresh garlic – for a fresh garlic flavor
  • 1-3 dried red chili pods or red jalapeno pepper – to give some heat!

Combine everything in a sauce pot and bring to a boil. It will need to be stirred to encourage the sugar to melt.

Stir the spices and sugar as you bring to a boil for the Pickling Brine.

Stir the spices and sugar as you bring to a boil for the Pickling Brine.

This mixture needs to be boiling when the vegetables are done simmering.

Procedure:

Wash the cauliflower in water slightly warmer than the cauliflower. Cut into florets. Soak in a large bowl of cold water with 1/4 cup salt in it.

This helps eliminate any insects that may be lurking on the vegetable.

Mix the simmering brine ingredients, put on the range top over high heat to bring to a boil.

Mix the pickling vinegar brine and put that over high heat, stirring often to prevent the sugar from burning.

Drain the cauliflower it should soak for at least 15 -30 minutes.

When the simmering brine reaches a boil, drop in the cauliflower and onions, return to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.

Drain the vegetables, discarding liquid (Unless processing another batch).

Place the cauliflower and onions in a large canning jar. Using a wide mouth funnel, pour the boiling pickling brine into the jar all the way to the top. Leave as little head room as possible. Everything must be submerged under the pickling brine.

If you find there are pieces that want to float, place a small glass plate or dish on the surface to hold everything down.

At first the jars may appear cloudy but as the turmeric and celery seeds settle to the bottom, the vinegar will clear up and you can enjoy looking at gleaming bottles of an amazing pickled cauliflower!

Fresh and Pickled cauliflower

Fresh and Pickled cauliflower

Keep these in the refrigerator unless you want to process them in a canning process to make them shelf stable.

Pickles Cauliflower, Sweet Pickle Chips and Half-Sour Pickles chilling

Pickles Cauliflower, Sweet Pickle Chips and Half-Sour Pickles chilling

Fresh and pickled cauliflower

Fresh and pickled cauliflower

I find they don’t last long enough to can so just get set to make more.

Enjoy!

Pickled Turnips

OK, before you turn your nose up, make a small batch and see. It is hard to believe something so simple can taste so good!

Besides October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and this pickle is the color of choice.

This recipe comes from David Lebovitz, who lives in Paris. I pretty much copied the recipe and fell in love with the results.

In the most recent batch, I added some red radishes to see how they turn out. The turnips really are wonderful done this way as are the beets that give the pickle the lovely magenta hue. The beets and turnips and radishes all turn out to be quite equal in color.

In my next batch I’m going to add some dill and instead of beets for color, I’ll use saffron or turmeric.

At your next gathering, no matter how small, set out a dish of these lovely pickled turnips and see how strangely addicting they are.

You will find yourself sneaking over to the dish for just one more.

Recipe from David Lebovitz

Pickled Turnips
You can dial down the amount of garlic, but I like the slightly aggressive flavor of the slices in the brine. Use whatever white salt is available where you are, but avoid fine table salt as it’s quite unpleasant and bitter. Gray salt will discolor the brine.

For those who like to tinker, although these are usually served as they are, a few sprigs of fresh dill, or dill flowers, in the brine will take them in a different direction. A hot pepper will add some zip.

3 cups (750 ml) water
1/3 cup (70 g) coarse white salt, such as kosher salt or sea salt
1 bay leaf
1 cup (250 ml) white vinegar (distilled)
2-pounds (1 kg) turnips, peeled
1 small beet, or a few slices from a regular-size beet, peeled
3 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced

In a saucepan, heat about one-third of the water.

Add the salt and bay leaf, stirring until the salt is dissolved.

Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Once cool, add the vinegar and the rest of the water.

Note to Davids Directions:

I added the remaining salt and vinegar as soon as I was ready for it. The salted water cools quickly; adding the remaining water and vinegar definitely cools it quicker.

Cut the turnips and the beet into batons, about the size of French fries.

Use a mandolin and square off the ends for a nice appearance. Cut the garlic by hand, just do it carefully!

Put the turnips, beets, and garlic slices into a large, clean jar.

Pickling Jars with wire bales and silicone or rubber seals

I like to use gallon or 2-gallon Ball or Mason jars with wire bales and rubber or silicone seals. After the process is complete, I transfer the pickles into smaller Ball or Mason jars for the refrigerator.

Pour the salted brine over them in the jar, including the bay leaf.

Make sure everything is below the surface of the liquid. Use a small dish or a water-filled plastic bag as a submersion weight.

Place a small bowl inside to hold contents below the surface. Look carefully as this bowl is clear like the jar.

Cover and let sit at room temperature, in a relatively cool place, for one week. Once done, they can be refrigerated until ready to serve.

Storage: The pickles will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator. They’ll be rather strong at first, but will mellow after a few days. They should be enjoyed within six weeks after they are made, as they tend to get less-interesting if they sit too long.

So there you have an amazing and unusual recipe for the age-old question: What can I do to turnips so someone will like them?

Watch everything change color while curing. The batons are turnips, the wedges are radishes.

Now you have your answer!

 

Thai Style “Green Sauce”

We went to “Thai Taste” for lunch the other day. On the table were several bottles of different sauces. One soy, a hot fiery red sauce and this green sauce. It was simply delicious.

We bought a pint of it to bring home, not only to enjoy over several meals, but to figure out just what is in this Thai Style Green Sauce so I could make it.

Spooning the sauce over rice gave a clear distinctive flavor of all the ingredients. The woman at the restaurant looked quite nervous when I asked her what was in the sauce. “Just jalapeno and vinegar” she said.

Right, I thought, she doesn’t want to revel her recipe.

Something that really bothers me about some cooks is how they “hoard’ their recipes, keeping them secret as if they were some precious commodity. Taking a well-loved recipe to the grave is shameful and is not viewed in a good light, in my eyes anyway.

What is the purpose of keeping recipes for well-loved dishes secret? Is it a control issue? A fear issue? I knew someone once who said they are glad to share recipes but they always leave a key ingredient out.

Why? So that someone else wouldn’t make the dish as good as they can.

That is ridiculous.

So what if someone makes the green sauce at home? I will still come eat at your restaurant. I’m not coming for your green sauce, I am coming for the other things you offer on the menu.

So here is my recipe for Thai Style Green Sauce.

Make it and share. Tell the entire world how to make it, everyone should know.

Thai Style Green Sauce

There are no quantities here, just ingredients. Make a small amount, use it and make more.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 bunch Cilantro, washed
  • 1 green jalapeno pepper, remove ribs and seeds for milder heat, use 2 or more for hotter sauce
  • 2 scallions
  • small handful of both garlic and onion chives
  • 1 clove fresh garlic
  • 1″ piece of fresh ginger, sliced thin so it blends well
  • seasoned rice wine vinegar
  • fish sauce like Nam Pla

Place all the herbs, garlic and ginger into a blender. Add enough rice wine vinegar to cover. Add a generous splash of fish sauce and blend for 2-3 minutes to get it all blended together.

Taste and adjust flavors by adding more fish sauce or more vinegar.

I served this on cedar planked salmon for dinner.

Use the sauce on noodles, over rice, on grilled meats and seafood. It is very versatile and has many uses.

How do you use Thai Style Green sauce?