Fermented Chow-Chow Relish

a jar of chow chow and a half jar of sauerkraut juice
Fermented Chow-Chow alongside some sauerkraut juice

FERMENTED CHOW-CHOW
3 cups roughly chopped green tomatoes
1 cup sweet red peppers, roughly chopped
1 cup green bell peppers, roughly chopped
1 cup roughly chopped onions
1 or 2 habanero peppers, seeded and quartered
2 T salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups naturally fermented sauerkraut, chopped
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp celery seeds

Chop and mix green tomatoes, sweet peppers, bell peppers, onion and hot peppers. Add salt and sugar. Combine and let sit for 3 hours until juices make your brine. (I keep the veggies in chunks so they will be easier to keep below the brine while fermenting.) Then add chopped sauerkraut (homemade or fresh only), mustard seeds, turmeric and celery seeds. Sauerkraut jump-starts the ferment.

Pack into a 2 quart jars and cover with a cabbage leaf if you have one and use your favorite method to weigh it all down and keep veggies below brine. Cover with tight lid and let sit at room temperature for about a week to ferment.

Remove the weight and covering and taste to be sure it is becoming sour. At this point, you can transfer to a food processor (in batches) and pulse until you get the chop and texture you prefer for chow chow. (Yes, you can leave it big and chunky if you want.)

Return to jar and refrigerate. Flavors develop over time and this tastes best when refrigerator-aged a month or longer. Very good served with hot dogs and brats, but also with chicken and pork (spoon over meats and bake or cook in a slow-cooker). Keeps for months.

Note: You can vary your vegetables depending on what you have on hand, but keep proportions the same with about 3 cups vegetables to each tablespoon of salt. If you do, uses moderately firm textured vegetables. Example: Cauliflower would be a good substitute if you don’t have enough peppers.

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Ratatouille

a vegetable stew in a tomato base
Ratatouille

RATATOUILLE

My Aunt Frances calls this “peperonata” but it is the same dish. She adds eggplant and potato where I use bok choy. In this summer vegetable stew, you can get creative and use what you find in the garden.

1/4 cup olive oil, plus more as needed
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped yellow onion
1 cup diced carrots
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup coarsely chopped bok choy
1 cup coarsely chopped green bell pepper (or fresh
green beans)
1 cup coarsely chopped red bell pepper
1 cup diced zucchini squash
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/2 cups peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes
1 cup chopped Swiss chard or kale
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Set a large saute pan or high-sided pot over medium heat and add the olive oil. Once hot, add the onions and carrots to the pan, stirring occasionally, until they are lightly caramelized, about 5 to 7 minutes, then add garlic. Add the bok choy and green and red peppers. Continue to cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add zucchini, tomatoes, oregano, Swiss chard, salt and pepper and cook for a final 5 minutes. Stir well to blend and serve either hot or at room temperature.

Variation: substitute ¼ c tomato paste and 1 cup chicken (or vegetable) broth for the chopped tomatoes.

Tomato Pie

 

Tomato Pie
Tomato Pie

TOMATO PIE
Adapted from a recipe found at simply recipes dot com:

1, 9-inch pie shell
½ large onion, chopped and sautéed until translucent
8 Roma tomatoes, skins removed, seeded and chopped
2 Tablespoons flour
½ cup basil leaves, chopped
2 cups grated cheese, cojack or a mixture of cheddar and mozzarella
¾ cup mayonnaise (try yogurt for a lower fat option)
1 teaspoon Sriracha (or other brand) hot chili sauce
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake pie shell for about 10 minutes, or until lightly golden. Lightly saute the chopped onion until translucent and cool. Set aside.

Drop tomatoes into a pot of boiling water. Then place in cold water to cool. Peel away skins. Halve tomatoes and squeeze out seeds and excess water using a clean towel or paper towels. Chop. You should have about 3 cups of chopped tomatoes. Toss with 2 T flour.

Sprinkle the bottom of the pie crust with onions, then add basil followed by tomatoes.

In a medium bowl, mix together the grated cheese, mayonnaise, hot sauce, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Spread cheese mixture over the tomatoes.

Place in oven and bake until browned and bubbly, about 30-45 minutes.