Peel 4 plums, and halve, pit, and cut into 1/2-inch wedges. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 large, sliced shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until shallot begins to soften, about 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 1 Tbsp chopped garlic, 1 Tbsp mustard seeds (or 1/2 Tbsp ground mustard), 2 tsp freshly grated ginger, pinch of black pepper, 1 bay leaf, 1 tsp kosher salt and 1/4 cup water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture is fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in plums. Cover and simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until fruit is soft and juices have thickened, 20 to 25 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Let cool slightly. Chutney can be made one week ahead. Wonderful with grilled pork or turkey.
With a food processor running, drop 3 anchovy filets and 1 peeled garlic clove through feed tube and finely chop. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add 3/4 cup chopped Italian parsley, 1/3 cup chopped celery leaves, 1 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice, 1 Tbsp grated lemon peel, 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar, 1 1/2 tsp chopped rosemary, and 1 1/2 tsp chopped sage. Pulse until almost smooth. With machine running, gradually add 1/2 cup olive oil. Transfer salsa verde to bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Can be made 1 day ahead. Great for seafood or chicken, or use as a dip for crusty bread.
Basic Tomato Sauce
Heat 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil in a saucepan until simmering. Add 1 large onion chopped and 4 thinly sliced garlic cloves and cook for about 10 minutes, or until slightly golden. Add 1/4 cup white wine to pick up any little bits on the bottom, and once it’s reduced to 1 Tbsp of liquid, add 1 Tbsp finely chopped thyme and 1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano and cook for another 5 minutes. Now add two 28-oz. Cans of whole peeled tomatoes and the juices. Using a whisk or a potato masher, crush the tomatoes in the pot. Bring the sauce to a boil. Add 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar. Simmer over low heat, stirring often, until thickened and reduced to about 5 cups. This will take about 30 minutes. For a creamy sauce, gently stir in some heavy cream. Add fresh grated Parmesan cheese. Brown some beef or pork to make more of a Bolognese sauce. The sauce can be refrigerated up to a week. (This is an adaptation of Chef Mario Batali’s essential tomato sauce.)
Tamarind Raisin Chutney
Combine 1 Tbsp tamarind concentrate (found at most Indian/Asian food stores), 1/2 cup golden raisins and 1 1/2 cups water in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer to dissolve the tamarind. Add V cup packed brown sugar and cook over low heat, stirring, just until sugar is dissolved, then pour mixture into the bowl of a blender or food processor. Toast 1 tsp each coriander, cumin, and anise seeds in a small skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until fragrant and a shade darker, about 2 minutes. Cool completely, then finely grind in grinder. Stir spices into tamarind mixture along with 1/2 tsp chile powder and 1/2 tsp salt. Pulse in a blender/food processor until thick and the raisins have broken up. A good balance of sweet and spicy. Very good with chicken or grilled lamb chops.