Sunday, June 27, 2010

UnFancy Food Fair 2010

We're always skittish when introducing our youngest children to the most discerning of crowds such as those flooding 2010's UnFancy Food Fair in Park Slope, but The Collective is thrilled to report ecstatic reviews of our Mango Chili Ketchup and Juniper Berry Chutney.

Humbling it was to be in the presence of such a tightly curated collection of NYC's best (smaller sized) gourmet purveyors, but true to its name the event was without a bit of pretension . . . despite every excuse to have been considering the local food celebrity roster. Lots of well-priced Brooklyn Lager and potent Bloody Marys kept a crowd of retail buyers and foodie enthusiasts well lubricated, while performances by a dead ringer for Johnny Cash and a kimchee-lovin' trio of hip hop MCs and DJ heightened the private party atmosphere. Mood lighting didn't hurt either as patrons and vendors alike appreciated the flattering twilight ambiance hiding all our Saturday night excesses.

Big Sellers for The Collective included our two (previously mentioned) new condiments and harbingers of Summer's bounty, Plum Ketchup, Sweet Tomato Chutney with Black Mustard Seeds, Middle Eastern Zucchini Relish and Blueberry and Bermuda Onion Chutney (made with the season's earliest ever bushel courtesy of two Long Island North Fork farms).

Thanks as always to all those who braved sub-tropical heat and humidity to sample, order, buy, say Hello and provide The Collective with valuable insight and input.

The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved

When confronted with arcane and convuluted rules and regulations (cue the Rufus Wainwright track of the same name) JoAnn Kim, the determined mastermind behind Brooklyn's wildly successful Greenpoint Food Market, rallied the food revolutionaries and threw a huge potluck and Think Tank event to explore ways and means to continue NYC's ONLY "incubator" food fair for budding entrepreneurs and proactive gourmet cooks (home and otherwise).

Spurred by a controversial, recent featured article in the New York Times, and in attendance, were bigwigs from the NYC Dept. of Health, our charming City Councilman, local business owners and more, all sitting on stage in a round table discussion later opened to the hundreds of attendees eager with questions and comments. Topics discussed included the Byzantine maze of licenses required to sell food in NYC, the economic incentive to NYC of affordable commercial kitchens and lots of pep talks for those Foodies With A Dream determined enough to navigate these choppy legal waters.

Naturally enough, a staggering array of riches groaned on multiple buffet tables, further proof of the Greenpoint community's generosity and support of micro-businesses aimed at fostering growth in the borough. Brooklyn continues to show mad love for local biz!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Biscuit Awaits His Plum Ketchup Burger

Just in Time for Summer

The DP Chutney Collective is soon releasing - Batch July 2010 - one of our biggest sellers, Plum Ketchup. Based on 18th and 19th century American prototypes for the once fruit-based condiment (ketchup, of course), The Collective is proud to proclaim the recipe perfected and the product a silky puree of New York State plums, onions, garlic, rice wine vinegar, Fair Trade sugar and our treasured blend of spices including (but not limited to) mace, nutmeg, coriander and cloves.

We love it with the ultimate High/Low partnering of fries, tater tots and onion rings, or topping burgers livened up via the recipe below. We're talking ultimate Warm Weather comfort food!

(And vegans take note: Plum Ketchup rocks as a burger spread, so cook your favorite veggie patties then spread bun lavishly with Plum Ketchup and crown your guilt-free masterpiece with a thick ring of Vidalia onion and summer's best beefsteak tomatoes).


Combine 1 lb. of ground chuck/sirloin mix with: 1 t. each salt and fresh ground black pepper, 1/2 a small onion (grated) and 2-3 T. Plum Ketchup. Mix well with your hands and leave to marinate in the fridge for 1-24 hours, whatever is convenient. Shape patties loosely and cook according to your favorite method (grill, broil or pan-fry in 2 T. olive oil). Place on good quality rolls or toasted English muffins, slathered with mayo and more Plum Ketchup.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Chili Sauce Gets a Mango Facelift (and renamed as Ketchup)

Have a taste for kitsch yet still require quality? Do we have a new product for you!

A hexagonal bottle of Heinz' Chili Sauce was probably last seen in the side compartment of the Golden Girls' fridge (RIP Dorothy, Blanche and Sofia). In our long ago childhood we remember our grandparents keeping the stuff, but unsure whether it was ketchup or cocktail sauce, we avoided it almost completely. Yet when served with home fries and eggs, a young DP Collective found the ever-so slight tingle of peppers enticing.

In the business of refreshing nostalgic memories, and updating them to our contemporary tastes, The DP Chutney Collective has just jarred our first batch of Mango Chili Ketchup, based on the (admittedly pretty genius) concept of spicy ketchup.

We're pretty certain we've improved the current Heinz recipe which officially label-lists as its ingredients: : Tomato Puree (Tomato Paste, Water), Distilled White Vinegar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Salt, Corn Syrup, Dehydrated Onions, Spice, Garlic Powder, Natural Flavoring.

No need to fret over The Collective ever using dehydrated vegetables, corn syrup or the mysterious entity known as "natural flavoring"; we brew only whole tomatoes with ripe mangoes, onions, garlic, two varieties of chilies (to a point: fresh Thai green and dried red), organic ginger root, fresh pineapple juice and a maelstrom of tropical and regional spices to sculpt a truly complex-flavored condiment redolent with numerous lingering after-notes. And Heat Seekers (so long clamoring to The Collective for fire) will heart our Mango Chili Ketchup's sharp bite of chilies. We promise.

From The Highlands of Scotland

. . . comes The Collective's youngest creation, Juniper Berry Chutney. Drawing inspiration from an age-old Scots recipe, this chutney bears all the hallmarks of that country's mountainous (wild herb berry) locale and love of wild game. Essential to venison, pheasant, duck and all dark meat (btw, we love you gourmands who, like us, always choose dark over white when questioned at the carving board), Juniper Berry Chutney is a slow-cooked medley of ripe tomatoes, sweet onions, tart green apples and the namesake spice, famous worldwide for its primacy in flavoring gin. That's right, Martini slurpers and Bombay Sapphire sychophants, you've met your match in this floral-noted chutney.

More timid but still lovable palates will want to scoop this luscious goodness atop roasted chicken and nestled next to grilled sausages. Our vegetarian fan base will no doubt covet a jar alongside cheese omelets and stewed black beans, while fish lovers will thrill to its compatibility with virtually all finned creatures.

Brooklyn Coalition Dinner an Educating Evening

The DP Chutney Collective learned so much at the recent potluck dinner and roundtable discussion sponsored by the Greenpoint chapter of the Brooklyn Food Coalition. These food activists are pro-active, organized, know what they're talking about and (not surprisingly) are wizards in the kitchen! We were happy to contribute a couple of appetizers and even happier to hear our neighbors discuss - and tackle - issues from legalities thwarting micro food businesses to school wellness programs aimed at changing blighted lunch menus.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Bad Weather - Good Market

Despite the gloom and wet of Sunday all was cheerful and dry inside Mister Market at Public Assembly , where a lively and stylish group of vendors and shoppers congregated to meet and greet. We're always earnest when we gush over how much fun it is to chat with chutney lovers, new and old customers and all those who sample our wares. Thanks for inspiring us with your recipes, suggested uses and general enthusiasm for The Collective!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Chutney Appetizes at Brooklyn Food Coalition Roundtable and Dinner

The Brooklyn Food Coalition is an all-important and ultra-cool local organization dedicated to changing the food system in Brooklyn neighborhood by neighborhood. These grassrooters state the org's mission as "a partnership of groups and individuals working in Brooklyn to achieve a just and sustainable system for tasty, healthy, and affordable food and to provide a platform for Brooklynites to speak to food issues." As like-minded comrades we say Amen! to that and The Collective is looking forward to joining Friday's upcoming roundtable dinner addressing North Brooklyn concerns, kindly hosted by Brooklyn Kitchen. The DP Chutney Collective will be donating our wares and preparing appetizers for the participants: Chicken Liver Crostini with our Blueberry and Bermuda Onion Chutney and, for vegetarians, ricotta salata and Spiced Pickled Grape mini skewers.

Find out more about the BFC here and, if you live or work (or just hang out sometimes) in our borough sign up and make a difference in the ongoing revolution of affordable, sustainable and ethically-produced and sourced foodstuffs.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Time Out's Shopping Pick of the Week

The DP Chutney Collective will set up shop ths Sunday from noon till 6PM at Williamsburg's One Day Only MISTER MARKET, chosen by Time Out NY magazine as their #1 choice for the weekend. Vintage clothes, accessories, local gourmet food products and more can be found under the roof of Public Assembly on North 6th St, so come out and shop early for Dad and all other important men in your life. And yes, of course Fathers love chutney, the perfect accompaniment to backyard cookouts and fire escape hibachis.

The Chutney That Summer Loves

(samples of The DP Collective's Sweet Tomato Chutney never last long at food fairs)

The glory days of Tomato Season are soon approaching here in New York and The Collective is counting the days till the first bushels arrive from our upstate farmer friends. We still have a few jars left from our last batches to placate all that anticipatory excitement and present below a recipe perfect for backyard barbecues and summer potlucks. The genesis of this recipe came from a customer conversation at a recent food fair, yet another perk of meeting chutney lovers face-to-face while selling our products!

If you just can't handle turning the broiler on at all during these sweltering times, give the mushrooms a try on a pan set on the grille. And if you're not the outdoorsy type, try our Sweet Tomato Chutney with Black Mustard Seeds via the following simple, low-stress suggestions:

  • atop or inside an omelet (Swiss and Gruyere cheese and veggie ones are especially compatible)
  • a spoonful stirred into a refreshingly cold cup of gazpacho
  • mixed with equal parts yogurt or mayo (or a combo of the two) and used to dress pasta or chicken salads
  • as a sandwich spread for avocado, cheddar and sprout wraps (or pita sandwiches)
  • to spice up BLTs!
  • as a marinade (mix with a bit of olive oil) for grilled or fried chicken and fish
  • crown deviled eggs with the hard-boiled yolk mashed with mayo and tomato chutney


Fast and easy and delicious served either hot or at room temperature. Regular button mushrooms work fine here but even tastier are creminis and the baby portobelloes available in all supermarkets.

Preheat the broiler.
Wash and remove the stems of as many mushrooms as you wish to prepare.
Place mushrooms on an oiled cookie sheet, caps down, stem-side facing up.
With a small spoon, carefully place a dollop of tomato chutney in each mushroom.
Sprinkle all with a light dusting of grated Parmesan, Romano or Asiago cheese.
Lightly salt and pepper all the mushrooms and pop in the broiler till bubbling and browned. Check often to avoid burning.

Friday, June 4, 2010

We Will Not be Shushed (says The DP Chutney Collective)

On June 12-June 13, from 5PM through 5PM, 24 hours of readings will be conducted on the steps of the Main Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library in Park Slope. If you're in town please come hear us read (The Collective goes on at 5:20PM June 12, hoping to do justice to the gorgeous, outlaw prose of Jean Genet) and if you can't make it . . . go to this website to learn more about how you can help thwart the proposed 30% budget cuts to one of our city's most vital institutions.

Look Closely and You'll See us Hawking Our Chutneys

The DP Chutney Collective is glanced upon in the opening seconds of the video accompanying the New York Times recent article on the glorious explosion of local foodies, gourmet producers and the otherwise Unemployed that is the Greenpoint Food Market.