by Jane Rodmell for All The Best Fine Foods, a ‘Certified Good Food Fighter

At All The Best we’re always looking for ways to share our passion for food that is local, natural, sustainable and, of course, delicious. This weekend we bring tastes of wonderful Canadian cheeses to the Conscious Food Festival. It takes place this weekend (Saturday, August 13, 11 am to 8 pm and Sunday, August 14, 11 am to 6 pm) at Fort York National Historic Site in Toronto. Now in its second year, the festival brings together chefs, farmers and local food producers and offers a wide range of food-related activities that highlight the connection between our planet and our plates. [See also this piece on the festival and its founder Scott Rondeau by GFR’s Jamie Drummond. -Ed.]

For the occasion Ryan Rivard, manager of All The Best Cheese department and a talented chef, has created a dynamite Tomato Onion Chili Jam made from heirloom tomatoes harvested from his garden in Norfolk County. It will be the secret ingredient in our entry in the Grilled Cheese Contest to be held during the festival.

Come join us, learn a little, taste a lot and have fun.

Ryan’s Tomato Onion Chili Jam
A delicious condiment for cheese and so good you will want to add a spoonful to everything…

4 large Vidalia onions, peeled and thinly sliced
¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil
2 ounces (60 g) fresh ginger, chopped
4 ounces (120 g) garlic, chopped
1 ounce(30 g) Thai chilies, chopped
4 lbs (2 kg) juicy ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
½ cup (125 ml)  tomato juice or water
2 cups (500 ml) red wine vinegar, divided
2 lbs (1 kg) brown sugar
1 bunch thyme, tied with kitchen string
Kosher or sea salt
Freshly ground pepper

In a large heavy saucepan, heat oil. Add onions and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until soft and nicely browned, 45 minutes to an hour. Set aside. 
Using a blender or food processor, combine ginger, garlic, chilies, 2 cups (500 ml) tomatoes and tomato juice and blend to make a smooth purée.
In a large heavy pot, combine purée, with 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) vinegar and the sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar is melted. Lower heat, add the rest of the tomatoes and the bunch of thyme. Simmer, stirring occasionally until mixture reaches desired jam consistency, about 2 hours. Remove thyme, stir in caramelized onions and adjust flavouring with remaining vinegar, salt and pepper. Heat through. Ladle hot jam into sterilized jars, seal with sterilized lids and rings and set aside to cool.

Makes 5 x 500ml jars


All the best