Photo by Regina Charboneau
This is the time of year that I start thinking about preserving all the pleasures of summer. I guess that is what canning and preserving is all about--trying to put summer in a bottle to get us through the other seasons. I know I never like to see summer end. Maybe there is a reason the days are longer and we seem to have more energy this time of year. It is the time to store for the months to come.
If the effort is put out during the summer when tomatoes, peaches, and cucumbers are at their peaks, then the rewards come later. Opening a jar of brandied peaches in November and topping them with some crème fraiche and cinnamon-sugar is a reminder of summer but hearty enough to fit into a fall menu. How easy it is to enhance a pork roast or a fish dish with something you canned during its peak season, making entertaining simple.
As I have told you, I love doing buffets at my dinner parties. Part of creating a memorable buffet is having little dishes of relishes, sauces, chutneys, and even flavored butter. Sometimes those small dishes that have three to four ingredients are the most memorable.
I know everyone knows about fried green tomatoes, but green tomatoes also make some of the best relishes and chutneys. One of my favorite recipes out of my last cookbook is skewers of green tomatoes and shrimp with a green peppercorn-orange glaze. Very few ingredients often provide an amazing dish full of flavor. I make a green tomato relish that is wonderful on top of a thick hamburger with sharp cheddar cheese or a grilled hot dog. The same relish seems downright elegant when served with roast pork loin stuffed with andouille sausage and served with scalloped yams.