I finally got around to making some chutney this weekend with the two absolutely gigantic asian pears I bought last weekend. We're on the last jar of the green tomato chutney we made aaaaages ago, and so I thought I would stock up on some of the asian pear and red pepper chutney that I made a few months ago. The recipe is from the Millennium Cookbook, which is one of those fancyfancy cookbooks with time consuming recipes that become even more time consuming when you have to hunt down all the crazy ingredients that the recipe calls for first. This chutney is surprisingly straightforward, though: It has asian pears and red peppers (surprise), a sugar-vinegar base, some chili paste and roasted cumin seeds. With all the vinegar/sugar/spice in there, I think this one has a good chance of surviving on the shelf, so I made a big batch to can.
I've done some canning before using regular kitchen equipment, but this time I thought I would invest in some proper canning tongs to make the process a little easier. This did make a BIG difference. Pulling those cans out of the boiling water with barbecue tongs is a bit slippery and unpredictable. I'd say the rubberized tongs were totally worth the extra five bucks and kitchen drawer space.
After 25 minutes of rattling cans, and the fun sound of lids popping as they cool, I now have five nice jars of chutney. Nom.
I also made some spicy corn chowder for dinner, which unfortunately I didn't take a picture of. I always get really excited when this soup comes up at CTB, but my SO doesn't really get my love of this soup. Last night I made a veganized version of it so that he could finally try it, and I have to say it turned out really well! The CTB version is already vegetarian, but a lot of the internet recipes I found called for bacon. Ah, bacon. It's one of the few meats that I really do miss the taste of. So, I thought this might be a good time to bust out the bottle of liquid smoke that I've had in the cupboard for a while (impulse purchase at the grocery store) and see what that did. It's fantastic! A couple shakes of that stuff really did give the soup that smoky, bacon-y smell. I'm getting hungry again just thinking about it.