Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Week, Day 2: I Am Thankful For Neighbors (and their homemade chutney!)

I have some wonderful neighbors in our little hood. We have an interesting street. It's kind of the intersection of many parts of Fremont. Part arty/funky, part 20's somethings/apartment dwellers, part families with young kids, and part...downright sketchy.

It's the sketchy part that has brought the neighbors together. Banding against the crime literally happening in front of us, we've developed a pretty vigilant neighborhood watch without getting vigilante.

We've fought the crime around us by getting to know our law officers, speaking with city council members, and by banding together at barbecues.

Yep, I even fight crime with barbecue.

At the heart and soul of this group are two folks named Sally and Robert. They are our block watch captains, and two of the nicest people you could meet. While they keep us together by the e-mail loop, they create a sense of neighborhood just by walking their dog and saying hi.

A few weeks back, Sally and Robert brought me over a jar of Robert's homemade chutney. Just 'cause. I've been meaning to post it as a recipe with lentils that I made with it, but thought I'd share the recipe today.

As we bustle around getting ready for Thanksgiving day, hopefully we'll all have the opportunity to stop and say hello to our neighbors, at the grocery store or on the street. I know these two have taught me that you can stop crime, and build incredible connections just by being neighborly.

Here is Robert's chutney recipe. He adapted it from a Mango Chutney recipe from their South Florida days, and believes the recipe is originally from the Beach County Extension Home Economics office in West Palm Beach.


2 cups vinegar

5-1/2 cups sugar (Robert substituted brown sugar for half of this amount)

10 cups green mango slices (Robert substituted about 12 cups of green tomatoes figuring they're more watery than mangoes)

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup chopped green ginger root (Robert used regular ginger root)

1 clove garlic chopped fine (Robert added the equivalent of an extra 2 or more cloves)

3 cups seedless raisins

1 large onion sliced

1/4 cup fresh orange peel

2/3 cup blanched chopped almonds if desired (we did
4 red chili peppers w/ seeds removed -- Robert did *not* use chili peppers in his batch

This chutney is good by itself, but I used about half of a jar with lentils and it made a delicious and seasonal side dish.

Chutney Lentils
8oz fresh chutney (above)
1 cup lentils, rinsed
2 12 cups water
1 tsp. kosher salt

Put lentils and chutney in water and boil for 3 minutes. Turn down to simmer for about 45 minutes, or until lentils are soft.

(I added this after I first posted).
Incidentally, both Sally and Robert are journalists and free lance writers.

Robert writes for InvestigateWest (invw.org). His long bio is here: http://invw.org/team. You can follow him on Twitter: http://twitter.com/robertmcclure.
He is a "veteran journalist exploring new frontiers in investigative reporting, particularly on the environment. Board member, Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ)."

Sally is a freelance writer for numerous publications. Her AOL Green Police column is here: http://www.walletpop.com/blog/bloggers/sally-deneen, and she's on Twitter at twitter.com/sdeneen.

She also volunteers for a nonprofit news site started by laid-off staffers of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer: http://www.seattlepostglobe.org/

Check out their work and say howdy to your neighbor. With the web, we're all neighbors now!

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