Fall hasn’t always been my favorite season. As a child, I preferred spring with its blooming trees and flowers and lively birds’ chirping. Appreciation of fall came along with age and by now I can definitely say that I have FALLen in love with fall. There is something mysteriously charming in nature changing its colors in preparation for the long hibernating period. Indeed, fall is a beautiful, bewildering and very poetic season!
In fact, nature is the most talented painter as it is able to mix up colors to perfection. And fall season generously offers a versatile palette of colors with many shades of green, yellow, red… Many famous painters were inspired by its beauty, including Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh, Ivan Shishkin and Isaak Levitan. Besides, fall is generous in its gifts: not only it offers food for your eyes, but also food for your stomach: apples, pumpkin, various types of squashes…
One of my favorite fruits that are back in fall are kumquats. I love these little fruits that remind so much of mini oranges. Kumquats are very versatile: you can eat them raw, baked or add them to salads or stews. The word Kumquat is derived from the Cantonese and it literally means “golden tangerine”. However size of these fruits makes me wonder how “SMALL tangerine” is pronounced in Cantonese? Anyways, small or golden, they are delicious and I like to cook with them whenever I can. This spicy kumquat chutney is one of the staples I like to keep in my kitchen.
- Halve* the kumquats and remove seeds.
- In a large saucepan bring water to a boil and blanch kumquats for 1 minute. Drain and set aside.
- In a skillet heat the shortening over medium heat, add cloves and cinnamon stick and cook for 1 minute.
- Reduce heat to medium-low, add onion, ginger and salt and cook stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, about 8 minutes.
- Stir in the maple syrup, vinegar, orange juice and kumquats; bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes.
- Next stir in raisins and simmer uncovered stirring from time to time, about 8 minutes. The sauce should thicken. Let it cool and discard cloves and cinnamon stick.
- Serve as a condiment!
** Feel free to replace with dried cranberries.