Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Two of Summer's Favorites Are Back

Now Available and crafted from local farms and orchards, Middle Eastern Zucchini Relish and Plum Ketchup are making a triumphant return to summer shelves and pantries. Below, our original descriptions posted in 2010. Hey, they're both as delicious as ever so we saw no reason to change! 

(Note: this year's batch of zucchini relish is made from both yellow and green squash, courtesy of Goshen, NY's J Glebocki Farms.)

                                         MIDDLE EASTERN ZUCCHINI RELISH

Based upon a treasured family recipe from a Madison, WI home gardener friend of the Collective, our Middle Eastern Zucchini Relish draws inspiration from the exotic desert spice - sumac. (No, not the poisonous variety!) Used everywhere from Turkey to Iran (and pretty much nowhere else) sumac is harvested and produced from dried red berries of the plant itself and lends a tangy, vaguely citrus note and rich purple shade to many Mid-East dishes.

We've liberally added the intriguing spice to fresh zucchini and organic Roma tomatoes, along with nutmeg, cloves, chili flakes, fresh green chilies and onions, to bring you a deep fuchsia relish fit for a sultan. A great addition to stews and sauces, this relish happily garnishes all grilled and roasted meats and veggies. Try it with sliced turkey or provolone cheese and lettuce in your next awe-inspiring wrap sandwich and watch your co-workers swoon at lunchtime.


Did you know the original ketchup recipe had a centuries-old Chinese pedigree and was blended from various varieties of pickled fish? British sailors in the 18th century brought this unique (and we imagine rather smelly) concoction home to the U.K. and eventually re-gifted it to the West as a tomato-based, sweet and tangy condiment.

Historical research reveals more than a dozen variations popular in Colonial America, including Green Tomato, Mushroom and Green Pepper ketchups. The Collective merged these bold examples with a new take on the perennial throwaway Chinese take-out packet of syrupy, bland "Duck Sauce" and ended up with Plum Ketchup.

Sweet, slighty tart and spiced with nutmeg, cloves, garlic and malt vinegar, this is the ultimate French fry accessory, and equally luscious on beef or soy dogs, hamburgers and their veggie counterparts. But Plum Ketchup is a bit too fancy to be confined to "everyday use" and should also be basted on turkeys and roast chickens or spoon-brushed across plates (drizzling is too 80s, too Patrick Batemen, no?) as a "chef's sauce".