I knew I would be spending part of the day in the kitchen. I was awash with green tomatoes, and so planned to try a relish recipe I found online. And a few reds were tipping into overripeness, so I wanted to make some plain ol’ soup as well.
The relish recipe could not have easier. Chop stuff up, let it drain, cook it for a short time with spices, bottle it. I planned to freeze instead of vacuum can, so I didn’t even need to prep the jars. The only issue was how to scale the recipe. I didn’t have 24 large tomatoes. I had possibly a pound of green cherries, and regular greenies of various sizes. To me, a “large” tomato is a beefsteak the size of a softball, so that was the mental image I worked with as I sorted tomatoes and estimated size. The equivalent of 9-10, I decided, so I cut the spices and sugar, etc, to about 40%. Chopped, drained, cooked, and thought that gee, given the amount of grated stuff, there wasn’t much liquid and spices. Doled it out into jars, and found myself hunting for more and more jars. When I passed 10 jars/5 pints, and saw I still had half the pot to go, I tasted the relish. Flat. Flat flat flat. Like raw celery flat. I know pickled foods need time for flavors to develop, but what I had was pretty hopeless.
So I figured out how much relish I had and how much more stuff I needed to add. Chopped more pepper and onion, added the additional sugar, vinegar, mustard seed, etc, and the contents of the jars. Cooked it, then jarred it. I’ll let it chill for a few days, then try it. If it doesn’t blow my socks off, it’s for the compost bin.
I haven’t suffered a true kitchen disaster–inedible results fit only for the garbage–since the Palmer House Brownie Mishap of several years ago.** If this relish gets added to the list, it will be because I don’t know how large a “large” tomato is. They’re apparently smaller than I thought.
After I finished the relish and cleaned up, I really wanted to leave the soup for Sunday. But some of the ripe tomatoes were in bad shape, so I went ahead and made this recipe, kinda. Since I used fresh tomatoes, I didn’t roast them. Instead, I cooked them atop the stove in olive oil, then ran them through the mill to remove skins and seeds. Used beef stock instead of chicken. I had used the last of the onion during the relish regroup, so I substituted chives, courtesy of my Indestructible. Added tomato paste and a small can of fire-roasted chopped. A slug of dried basil. Hit it with the stick mixer and cartoned it up. I may have some for lunch tomorrow. I’m tomato’ed out today.
Dinner was a fry-up of mashed potato, sausage, and egg. Beer. Yes, I was that sick of tomatoes. And disappointed. I like making new things, and when they turn out, I enjoy the sense of accomplishment. But when you work for hours and realize that you may be looking at a waste of perfectly good veggies and a sunny Saturday afternoon….
**I used all-purpose flour instead of cake flour. I didn’t realize it made a difference. The stuff actually boiled over the side of the sheetcake pan.