Priya's Tomato Lavender Chutney

Something short and sweet for today.  I'm catering Erika's 40th birthday tomorrow night--munchies for 75 karaoke-singing, beer-drinking folks.  In other words, they may not appreciate this sublime little concoction, but I thought maybe you would. Also, if the next 20 posts seems like cocktail food, they are.  This blog goes as my life goes, even if that means cabbage for 6 days in a row.

Priya brings this chutney to book club sometimes with triple cream brie and crackers.  If we had actually started talking about the book (doubtful), that conversation ceases when this appears.  I usually eat it quite quickly so as to get more than my friends.  Now they know.

I've copied it several times in my kitchen, but this time got the the official recipe from Priya.  It was better, mostly because I used shallots instead of onions.  I roll my eyes when people talk about the delicate flavor of shallots, but it's true (and they are cheap at MacPhersons).  As my mom discovered recently, there's something to be said for following the recipe.  She made Dara's oven-dried tomatoes and turned the oven way up for speediness.  She woke in the middle of the night to little charcoal briquettes.  I wish she had sent a photo.

I'm serving this tomorrow night with crackers and Cambozola, but have used it to fill galettes or as an accompaniment to pork. I've often made it without lavender, which I bought at PFI.  Loretta stuck her nose in the bag time after time--"Mommy, I want to smell again!"  

Happy 40th, Erika.  In five years that will be me, and I hope I'm half as hip and accomplished as you are.

Priya's Tomato Lavender Chutney

2 Tb. olive oil
3 Tb. minced shallots
2 Tb. minced garlic
3 Tb. minced ginger
2 ts. dried lavender
1 c. red wine vinegar
1 c. sugar
2 28 oz. cans whole tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped (or whizzed quickly in food processor)
salt to taste

Heat olive oil in a medium sized pot over low heat.  Add garlilc, shallots and ginger.  Stir until soft and fragrant.  Add vinegar, sugar and lavender.  Reduce to half the volume.  Add tomatoes and stir on until thickened (about 40 minutes).  Season with salt. Chill.