Because of the diverse nature of the many different restaurants and chefs Brian Henry has worked under he is highly proficient at a wide range of cuisines.

Brian’s cooking is seasonal, inventive and smart, but in no way unapproachable or fussy. When he is coaxed out of the kitchen and starts talking about food, his passion and knowledge are instantly recognizable.

"Chef Brian Henry cooked a series of delicious appetizers for us as we sat around a table in the kitchen". Thanks

Tony Aspler, Wine writer

“Chef Brian Henry puts one hundred percent of his energy into going all the way.”

Birgit Moenke, Editor Stir Media Read More Reviews

Gastronomically yours,

Deadly Nightshade

 

Tomatoes originally came from the desert regions along the west coast ofSouth Americaand grew much smaller in size and resembled a berry compared to today’s domesticated varieties. The tomatl as it was known in Aztec means “plump fruit” and was domesticated in Mexico where it was found by early European explorers.

It took a number of years for this fruit to be accepted by the early settlers due to the tomato being classified as a member of the deadly nightshade family, it was deemed to be poisonous. Since this hurdle has been overcome the tomato now considered to be a vegetable although still classified as a fruit has become the second most consumed vegetable inNorth Americabehind the potato.

Unlike other fruits and vegetables tomatoes contain a large amount of glutamic acid and sulphur compounds. These properties are more commonly found in meats and give tomatoes their beefy flavour. This makes pairing tomatoes with meat a natural choice and they are often used to give vegetarian preparations a meaty flavour component without the meat.

There are other factors that affect the flavour of tomatoes. One being the different components found inside the tomato. A tomato is made up of four separate types of tissue. The cuticle or skin which is often removed before cooking surrounds the fruit wall which contains the most sugar and amino acids. The fruit wall encapsulates the seed jelly which is high in citric acid. In the centre of the tomato we find the pith. Remove any one of these four parts of a tomatoes anatomy and you will change the overall flavour of a recipe that calls for tomatoes.  As well tomatoes that are left to ripen on the vine naturally contain more sugars and acid compared to store bought tomatoes that are picked green and forced to ripen during transport by spraying them with ethylene gas.

The most important factor on how a tomato tastes depends on how we store them. Tomatoes should never be refrigerated as their fresh flavour is destroyed by cold temperatures. When a tomato is subjected to temperatures below 13 °c they suffer damage to their internal components. This results in tomatoes that have a mealy texture and loss of flavor due to cold-damaged flavor producing enzymes.

At this time of year I find it easy to get lots of locally produced tomatoes from neighbors and friends as their gardens seem to be overflowing with gargantuan tomatoes that are ugly by grocery store standards but are the best in my opinion for making sweet chili sauce with. Also check your local farmer’s markets for this years crop of tomatoes.

 

Chilli Sauce

Ingredients

12 quarts of your favourite tomatoes
4 lb onions, chopped
3 hot peppers of your choice, seeded and minced
1 lb celery, diced
1 lb sweet red peppers, diced
4 tbsp pickling salt
2 cups white vinegar
One-quarter cup pickling spice
6 cups white sugar

Method:

Skin the tomatoes by first placing them in a large pot of boiling water for 2 minutes. Immediately cool the tomatoes in cold water. Next skin, core and coarsely chop the tomatoes. Place the chopped tomatoes in 20 quart heavy bottomed-stainless steel stock pot.

Add the onions, hot peppers, celery, and red peppers to the pot. Combine contents, sprinkle in salt. Cover and let it sit overnight at room temperature. In the morning drain off 3 cups of excess liquid from the pot. Add white vinegar. Place pickling spice in the centre of a few layers of cheese cloth, gather sides and tie off to form a closed spice bag. Add it to the stock pot.

Bring stock pot to a full boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer for 3 hours, stirring occasionally. If you prefer a thicker sauce then allow it simmer for another hour.

Next stir in the sugar and let the sauce simmer for another hour, stirring often.

Finish by pouring the cooked chilli sauce into approximately 12 one pint sterilized glass mason jars leaving about 1/2 an inch of space at the top of each jar. Seal the jars with the lids but do not over tighten.  Place sealed jars on a trivet in a large canner. Top with hot tap water. Be sure water covers the jars by at least 1/2 an inch. Bring water bath to a full boil and allow it to boil for at least ten minutes. Remove canner from heat source 10 minutes later. Carefully remove jars. Store in a cool place.

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