Yuppers folks, this swine flu business is really starting to heat up. We've got federal governments telling us not to travel to Mexico. We've got health departments advising us to constantly wash our hands with a mixture of water, bleach, disinfectant and plutonium and we've got local authorities closing schools and canceling high school baseball games. Like I've always said, nothing causes overreaction and panic like sensible precautions.
But, if the last three days are any indication, the problem isn't with a flu that appears to be no more harmful than your average every-winter garden variety flu. Nope, the real issue is what we should be calling this potential super bug.
Apparently there are a lot of people upset with the name, swine flu. Everybody from the animal loving swine anti-defamation league to the hey-wait-a-minute-you-guys-are-killing-my-business pork producers, pigs never had so many friends.
Since we're emotionally traumatizing our mud wallowing, slop eating friends, they are proposing to change the name of the flu to the Mexico flu. No, really, I'm serious. The logic is that since Spain took the blame for the mega-flu in 1918 and Hong Kong gets beat up every year, then it's only fair that Mexico has it's turn in the barrel.
That whirring noise you hear is Montezuma cranking up his revenge machine.
Look folks, a nose by any other name runs just as drippy.
But I'll play along. Today's recipe isn't spicy ketchup, or sweet-heat tomato spread. No, today I give you Tomato-Chili Jam. This is a very easy condiment to make and it goes with practically anything, from eggs in the morning to sandwiches at lunch to pork chops, chicken or steak at dinner. So enjoy...
adapted from delicious magazine, volume 5 issue 11
3 pounds Roma tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 TBSP dry mustard
1 inch piece peeled, minced fresh ginger
6 cloves garlic, minced
4 - 6 hot chili peppers, such as Serrano, seeded and chopped
1 TBSP olive oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup fish sauce (found in the Asian section of your supermarket)
Preheat you oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place the tomatoes on the baking sheet, cut side up, and roast for 1 hour.
Remove the tomatoes from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
While the tomatoes are cooling, in a food processor add the vinegar, dry mustard, ginger, garlic and chillies. Puree into a rough paste.
In a large saucepan, heat the tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Transfer the paste to the pan and saute for 2 minutes.
While the paste is sauteing, transfer the roasted tomatoes to the food processor and roughly puree. Add the tomatoes to the chili paste mixture.
Add the sugar and fish sauce. Stir well to combine.
Bring to a simmer over low heat and cook for about 1 hour, or until the mixture has reduced and thickened.
Allow to cool completely and then refrigerate. The jam should keep for up to three weeks, properly stored.
OK, now that was a very easy recipe, one with plenty of downtime to wash any infected hands. Obviously the best thing about this recipe is its flexibility. By adjusting the sugar and chili levels you can customize the heat/sweet ratio to you liking. Until next time, cover your mouth when you cough, wash your hands often and remember, you can do it, you can cook.