The Kumquats of Wrath


UPDATE: Good idea, Margot…consider this “Lakshmi-Spiegel Green Chutney” entered in AFAM


I never spend much time with dead tree cooking publications. After I get through all the blogs, there’s just no time left. Plus, as you can probably tell, I’m not one for following recipes.

However, as Gansie mentioned previously, every time I go down to D.C., she sends me back on the bus with a pile of Bon Appetites, Gourmets – and if I’m lucky – Cook’s Illustrateds. Because she’s strangely obsessive a truly dedicated co-editor, she even steals little arrow flags from her office and marks every page for me that mentions pine nuts, phyllo or Padma Lakshmi.

It was this way I learned that the December issue of Gourmet featured the famed cookbook author/Top Chef host/2nd runner-up for Eater of the Year, and offered a few of her chutney recipes. The new doesn’t seem to have this one in their archives, so here it is:

“Green-eyed Monster” Chutney

1 3/4 lb seedless green grapes (5 cups)

5 cups loosely packed mint leaves

1 cup fresh lemon juice, or to taste

2 1/2 fresh habanero chiles or 5 small serrano chiles, stems discarded.

Puree ingredients with 1 1/4 teaspoons salt (or to taste) in a food processor until almost smooth. Transfer to jars and keep chilled, covered.


I’m big on the sweet-and-spicy lately, so I thought I would give it a try. However, they didn’t have green grapes this time of year at the co-op, so instead I grabbed a green tomatillo and a handful of kumquats (I’m sure anyone who has taken a basic home-ec class knows when you can’t find green grapes, just sub in tomatillo and kumquats).

Also, I grabbed a jalapeno instead. And since kumquats are citrus-y enough, I skipped the lemon. OK, I can’t follow an effing recipe. Still, my newly-invented chutney, which I slathered on pieces of pork tenderloin, was pretty great.

Lakshmi-Spiegel Green Chutney

2 cups loosely packed mint leaves

1 jalapeno pepper, stems and seeds discarded (or kept, if you like it crazy)

1 tomatillo

8 kumquats (I cut these and picked out the seeds – there aren’t many – but it’s just fine to eat the rind).

1 garlic clove

Blend these ingredients together in a food processor. Drizzle in olive oil to thin it out a bit. Add salt to taste, and pepper. I know, Indian food never has pepper, but I think it should.

ps – if anyone has tips for what to do with leftover kumquats, speak now.

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