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Roasted Garlic and Chutney

Years ago, my parents used to take me to eat at the California Cafe in the Mall of America. This was around the time that the mall first opened and it was–in my wide 12-year-old eyes–insanely cool.

(Side note. I just checked the MOA media kit to find out the year it opened its doors. 17 years ago. Time flies).

The California Cafe was a relatively nice restaurant for a mall. During that time, an upscale dining atmosphere in the land of the food courts came few and far between. I felt pretty darn special to be seated amongst clean white tablecloths, with a wait staff who wore ties, and who continuously refilled a little plate of olive oil to dip my bread in.

To be honest, since then I’ve grown to dislike eating in malls. Now they make me feel overwhelmed and sneezy, (thanks to the dense hodgepodge of department store perfumes). But I did take away a yummy food memory, and menu item, that I’ve been able to recreate at home.

This recipe is the closest I’ve found to the original. It is adapted from a September 1990 issue of Gourmet magazine.

It makes enough for a great starter to any dinner party. Or perhaps a Sunday brunch plate to nibble off of for a few hours while you read and futz around the house. I’m guilty of serving it both ways.

Ingredients:

1 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups cider vinegar

1 tablespoon freshly minced ginger root

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon coriander

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 1/2 pounds chopped tomatoes

1 large white onion, chopped

1 cup raisins

Baguette

Two heads of garlic

Olive oil

Chevre

Recipe:

First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Then, mince the ginger. I use a peeler to slice the outside skin off, then madly chop away with my knife.

GingerGinger

Now chop onion and tomatoes.

Once oven is preheated, chop off tops of garlic heads with sharp knife.

GarlicGarlic

Drizzle olive oil on garlic head and rub oil into it. Put in oven proof dish, cover tightly, and bake for one hour.

Garlic

During this time you can also slice the baguette and drizzle it with olive oil, then toast it on a baking sheet in the oven for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile combine sugar, cider vinegar, ginger, coriander, red pepper flakes, and salt into a large pan and set heat between low and medium. Stir to dissolve sugar.

ChutneyChutney

Once sugar is dissolved, add onions, tomatoes, and raisins. Stir to coat, and simmer at low/medium heat for about an hour, until it thickens. Be careful here. The cider vinegar is strong-smelling.

Chutney

Chutney

Once time is up, remove garlic from oven and chutney from heat. Let both cool for a few minutes.

Serve with baguette and goat cheese. Spread roasted garlic on toasted baguette, then goat cheese, then chutney. Yum.

Garlic and Chutney

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