A local radio station says, "Summer ain't over till we say it's over!" Same goes for my garden.The leaves are turning, the days are shorter, the air is brisker, but the garden was still churning out a few tomatoes and peppers.
But all the tomatoes and peppers have been sauced, pureed, chopped, jarred, jellied, frozen or consumed. Just a few stragglers were left. These last few tomatoes and peppers needed to get dressed for fall. So instead of summer's ketchup and mustard they became tomato bacon jam and shasha sauce.
Don't get me wrong: There's absolutely nothing wrong with ketchup and mustard. There's nothing more All American than squirting good gobs of the yellow and red stuff on a hot dog grilled on an open fire.
But come fall, it's time to warm things up. Both these sauces are great condiments and very versatile They can dress up a hot dog or hamburger -- or a steak. They can be spread on a sandwich or toast or be part of a crudite platter.
Side by side, they're a great pair of hot and sweet. The mustardy shasha sauce is very hot, especially when I used the last of the serrano peppers as part of the mix along with jalapeno and bell peppers. And the tomato bacon jam is smoky and spicy. Just like fall.
I first learned of the shasha sauce reading Pass the Sauce. This saucy blogger was inspired by Michael Symon's recipe. So mine is a combination. Both recipes used Hungarian banana peppers, one canned, one fresh. I just used the variety of "leftover" peppers from the garden, including my serranos and some banana peppers.
The tomato bacon jam came from sister. Sorta. It's actually a misnomer because the recipe she gave me included apples and was meant to be served with feta on crostini. (Although she confessed to me that she subbed bleu cheese.) But crostini-with-tomato-and-bacon-and-onion-and-apple-jam-with-feta is a mouthful, a pretty tasty mouthful. Anyhow, what doesn't bacon make better? (Maybe bleu cheese.)
The recipe my sister gave me also included apples and used canned tomatoes, but since I had the tomatoes (and no apples) this is what I came up with.
Before the recipes, let me share with you a couple pictures of the garden's guardians this summer.
My neighbor shared my garden this year with me and fashioned these great scarecrows. They must have done the trick because, although we had a very dry summer, we still had a pretty good bounty.
They're stored away in the barn now, in hibernation before they have to go on duty again next spring.
Now that I've made you look at my scarecrows, here are the recipes . . . .
inspired by Pass the Sauce, inspired by Michael Symon
12 fresh Hungarian peppers or a jar of banana peppers (or, like I did, their rough equivalent in volume!)
4 cloves garlic
1 cup yellow ballpark mustard
1 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all purpose flour (optional)
Process peppers with the garlic, mustard and vinegar until pureed. Add puree to a hot saucepan and add in sugar. Simmer 30 minutes. Add a slurry of flour and water to thicken if desired. Simmer for another 20 minutes or so. When cool, pour into glass jars and store in the refrigerator up to a month.
Tomato Bacon Jam
inspired by my sister and from Better Homes and Gardens, September 2010
½ pound smoked bacon
about dozen (1 1/2 pounds) tomatoes, mixed variety, chopped
1 cup sugar
1 small yellow onion, diced
3 Tbsp. cider vinegar
1 ½ tsp salt
¼ tsp. ground pepper
In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until it is just browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain excess fat. Crumble or cut into small pieces.
In a large saucepan, cook the chopped tomatoes on medium heat until they're softened and their liquid cooks down, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes. Add the, sugar, onion, vinegar, salt, pepper and bacon. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook, stirring often for 12 minutes or until most of the liquid is reduced. Store in fridge up to a week.