Sweet ‘n Savory Spiced Rhubarb Chutney

Summer savory, the star ingredient in today’s Paleo Pen Pal guest post.

Today’s recipe is from my Paleo Pen Pal from Maryland who e-mailed it to me from Portugal on her way to Italy.

As you may remember from the last time I participated, the Paleo Pen Pal program matches up two paleo peeps to trade ingredients.  Each person is challenged to create a new recipe using that ingredient and share the recipe. For more details or to sign up, check out their Facebook page.

I signed up again to participate this month.  It’s a fun way to get cooking inspiration.

I was “pal”led up with Dana from Maryland.  She sent me a container of Old Bay spice and a letter that evoked a lovely scene of eating Old Bay-sprinkled crab legs during summer picnics at the beach where everyone is laughing and wearing really cute J.Crew clothes.  (I might have made up that last part myself.)

Despite my delight at receiving this new-to-my-kitchen spice blend and a few attempts, I wasn’t able to come up with anything tasty enough to share.

Dana, however, more than made up for my lack of success in the kitchen.  In fact, she amazed me with her dedication to creating and sharing her recipes.

I sent her a bundle of dried summer savory, a strong spice that I had dried from last summer. A few days after I mailed it, I got this e-mail from her. “Hi Mary, Just wanted to let you know I got your package in the mail yesterday, and made a delicious dish with it last night! I might make a few more recipes with it and see which one I like best to send you. :)”

Since Dana doesn’t have her own blog (yet), I offered to post the results of her summer savory cooking fest on my blog.

“Great!! I’m actually leaving tomorrow for vacation in Italy with my family, so I’ll have my post done before tomorrow night and get it straight over to you!”

Later that day, I got this e-mail. “Well I hope we finally get there!! It’s been such a horrible and crazy day. Our flights got cancelled this morning and we got re routed multiple times, they lost our luggage already, and we’ve been traveling for 10 hours already and haven’t left the US yet!! I have my post and pictures all ready to go on my computer but haven’t been able to get Internet to send it to you. So sorry!! We have three connecting flights in Europe tomorrow before we actually get to Italy and a couple layovers, so hopefully ill be able to find some wifi and send it over as soon as I can!!”

Finally, a few hours later – “Well, we arrived in Portugal (definitely not our final destination) and still have two more flights to Italy. But the good news is I found some wifi and can send you over my recipe and pictures! I don’t have Microsoft word on my MacBook, but I’ll send over the text here and attach the pictures of the ingredients/first product.”

And what that this, she attached this delightful post which I am excited to share today.  Thanks Dana for the tasty recipe and your efforts to get it to us!

Dana and her mom

Dana and her mom

Hi friends! I’m thrilled to be participating in my first Paleo Pen Pals and am so grateful to Mary Catherine for offering to post my recipe on her blog.

When I opened my package from Mary, I was excited to see she had sent an ingredient I’d never worked with (or even heard of!) before: Summer Savory. As Mary kindly explained, Summer Savory is a very abundant herb in Colorado, and has a taste similar to oregano and sage – though a little goes a long way. Apparently I have a lifetime supply of Summer Savory! (Thanks, Mary!)

My mind immediately started whizzing with ideas of how I could best use it. I wanted to test out the flavor spice first in a recipe where it could really shine through, so I went with a simple oven-baked salmon. I love salmon because it has a great flavor on its own, but you can also use it as a blank canvass to showcase many different flavor combinations.  My go-to recipe includes a brushing of olive oil, salt, pepper, and a little lemon squeeze, baked in a glass dish covered in foil at 375 for about 30 minutes, depending on the size of your pieces. To try out my new ingredient, I added a few shakes of the herb on top of the prepared salmon filets, and let it go in the oven.

Baked Salmon & Sweet Potato Wedges with Summer Savory

Drum roll please, for the results: YUM! It has a taste similar to sage, and is clearly very versatile. And then the problems started…I had too many ideas of how I could use the ingredient to narrow it down to just one! (Typical me.)

So I used my family as my guinea pigs, of course. My Dad is the kind of taste-tester that, no matter what I make or wherever we eat out, it’s “pretty good” unless it’s some variation of “HOLY YUM AMAZING” or just plain not good. Luckily, nothing I’ve ever made has fallen into the latter category. But my dad has been known to send a dish back at a restaurant every once in a while, especially if something isn’t piping hot when it arrives at the table. Because heaven forbid your plate isn’t up to the standard of so-hot-it-could-burn-your-tastebuds-off, or it will go straight back to the kitchen (much to the rest of the table’s immediate signs and slight embarrassment). So when I made this recipe and got the “WOW that’s GOOD” seal of approval, I knew I had hit the nail on the head.

Sweet and savory has been one of my favorite flavor combinations lately, and I got the inspiration for this dish from my Sunday trip to our local CSA. Spring in Maryland brings a beautiful crop of fresh rhubarb, another ingredient I had never experimented with before. I tend to get a little carried away sometimes and like to try a whole bunch of new things at once…

simple paleo pancakes. Hope you enjoy it!!

Sweet ‘n Savory Spiced Rhubarb Chutney

10 oz rhubarb, cleaned and chopped in to 1/3 – 1/2 inch pieces

⅓ c red wine vinegar

½ small yellow onion, sliced

⅓ c craisins

1 T honey

1 tsp minced garlic

½ tsp cumin

½ tsp cinnamon

2 T chopped candied ginger

⅛ tsp nutmeg

⅛ tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1-2 tsp summer savory spice (to your liking!)

1. Wash and dry your rhubarb, and chop it in to 1/3 – 1/2 inch pieces. Starting at the bottom of the plant (the red end), only use about 3/4 of the way up. Do not eat the leaves! They apparently have toxins in them that are not so good for you. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

2. Put the ginger in 1/4 c warm water and allow it to sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients (or for about ten minutes)

3. Measure out the rest of your ingredients, and pull out a medium-sized sauce pan.

4. Over medium-high heat, sauté the onion and garlic in a little bit of coconut oil until fragrant and onions are almost translucent.

5. Combine the rest of the ingredients in the pot and allow to cook at medium heat for about 5 minutes, until a light boil starts around the edges of the pot.

6. Reduce the heat to low, and allow to simmer for about 30 minutes uncovered, stirring about every 5-10 minutes. If you would like the chutney to be thicker, allow it to simmer for longer. If you’d like to thin it out to make it more of a sauce, add some water.

7. Eat it up!!