I was watching Top Chef the other day (episode 6 of this season).

Yes I am quite behind. Yes I think that this season’s competitors are among the most talented yet. Yes I think Tom Colicchio is incredibly attractive.

Not that that has anything to do with anything. Just putting it out there. In case he’s reading. (Hi, Tom!)

Anyway, so I’m watching this episode. The one with Penn and Teller. And for the elimination challenge, they are each assigned a different comfort food dish that they are supposed to recreate, albeit in a deconstructed form.

But what is deconstruction, you might ask? (To be or not to be – another pertinent question. Maybe for another day.) To deconstruct is to break something down into its components; to dismantle it. It is construction in reverse.

Or it is an obscenely incomprehensible vein of literary theory created by Jacques Derrida that no one can actually understand. “Deconstruction is not a dismantling of the structure of a text, but a demonstration that it has already dismantled itself. Its apparently-solid ground is no rock, but thin air.”

It is all about the irreconciliable and contradictory quality of everything. Nothing is steady or sure or stable in any way, except for that we can depend on the fact that nothing is steady or sure or stable in any way. But even those two clauses are mutually exclusive. So where does that leave us? At the beginning. Or the end. It’s all very chicken-and-egg (i.e. which came first).

I’m feeling a strong desire to emote this morning, in case you couldn’t tell. Probably a sign that I shouldn’t be blogging. But here I am. So bear with me.

After watching the episode I had a strong desire to deconstruct something. And it’s stayed with me ever since.

The thing about deconstruction that I failed to mention before in all my pessimism was that it is actually all about breathing new life into something so that, even though what it once was no longer exists, the materials can live on, albeit in a different form. Same parts, different whole.

So I bring you this deconstructed peanut butter and “jelly” sandwich. Cranberry chutney instead of your traditional grape or raspberry jelly. Whole wheat pumpkin pie brioche because cranberries signify Thanksgiving and you can’t have Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie. (Pumpkin pie brioche thus becomes pumpkin pie deconstructed.) And peanut butter because, well, old habits die hard. All assembled into a somewhat cohesive whole and then eaten open-faced. Piece by piece. Because that is actually how I have always eaten sandwiches. Sometimes the whole is not better than the sum of its parts. Or in a more positive light, sometimes you just want to stop and smell the roses. And appreciate everything for what it is and not what it could be if you just tweaked it or changed it or molded it in some way.

Again with the emoting.

I’m going to go make myself another sandwich.

Cranberry Chutney
Makes about 2 cups, adapted from Closet Cooking

1 (12 ounce) package fresh cranberries
1 apple (peeled, cored and diced)
1 onion (diced)
1 jalapeno pepper (finely diced)
1 tablespoon garlic (grated)
1 tablespoon ginger (grated)
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup cider vinegar

Place everything in a large pot and boil until thickened.

The end.

I am sending this to Deb of Kahakai Kitchen for Souper Sundays!

You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at https://joanne-eatswellwithothers.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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29 Responses to Cranberry Chutney (Take Two)

  1. Barbara says:

    Fun post. I saw that episode too. Their portions were so tiny! I enjoy that show so much. This is the first season I have watched it.
    (I think Tom is sexy too!)

  2. Looks yummy! I think I might just have to give this a try! Thanks 🙂

  3. This is a new recipe to me completely. That means, I should try it and expand my horizons.

  4. Megan says:

    I like the addition of jalapeno to the chutney. Sounds like it would really amp up the flavor.

    I thought of you the other day – as I was eating peanut butter straight from the jar. I had just finished a 10 mile bike ride, and needed an energy fix quick. It worked!

  5. Pam says:

    It’s so sad, but I am even further behind in Top Chef then you.

  6. Debinhawaii says:

    I agree–Tom Colicchio is very attractive. 😉 What a great combination of ingredients–perfect! After all that emoting you should get another sandwich. Thanks for sending it to Souper Sundays.

  7. Katy ~ says:

    Yumm, boy does this look spicy good. Love the texture.

  8. Kim says:

    Funny that you like Tom Colicchio! I never really found him appealing, but I’ll have to take a closer look. I bet Tom would like your deconstructed sandwich. Doesn’t he have a famous sandwich shop in there in NYC?

    I like the way this chutney sounds with the jalapeno and what a festive way to enjoy your pumpkin pie brioche!

  9. Shannon says:

    ooh, apple and jalapeno! gotta love it! and i mirror your sentiments about top chef… and tom 😉

  10. Now that is a unique creation! Sounds delicious.

  11. SE(Denufood) says:

    this sounds interesting with all the ingredients..hey about the advice on my blog post..it is believed that jackfruit induces miscarriage in pregnant women and thats why it is asked to avoid eating jackfruit during pregnancy!!

  12. J – This looks like a terrific combination of flavors. I’ve been reading about people undergoing the deconstruction process of various dishes and didn’t understand it, but I have a better idea now. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Elra says:

    Thanksgiving is coming, and must have cranberry chutney.

  14. oh this is cool and educational post

  15. That sounds every bit as nice as it looks !

  16. Jennie says:

    Great recipe Joanne! I love the addition of jalapeno! I’m loving bacon, brie and cranberry sandwiches at the mo. This chutney would be perfect!

  17. Erica says:

    This looks great!Wonderful recipe for this time of year.

  18. Velva says:

    First, I need to check Tom out! Your blog post today made me smile and then made me laugh. I really enjoyed it. I really like the idea of cranberry chutney instead of jam on my peanut butter sandwich.

  19. radha says:

    Chutneys areteh funniest tomake up, ia m also on teh way to post a couple. hey u live in upper east side, it’s one of my fav place in NYC,iw as living on upper est side for a loong while years ago.~ thank u for visiting me ~ healthy conscious lifestyle s nice and it s also nice to keeping the balance on it as much as possible ~ lotsa cheers 🙂

  20. Yum! I love your deconstructed PB and J! I have yet to make a chutney. Your recipe looks like a great one!

    I’ll have to go check out that cute boy! 😀

  21. radha says:

    was livin on upper west i meant ~~~~

  22. Donna-FFW says:

    Tom Colicchio huh??

    What a great dea for a sandwich. I had almost forgotten about that delicious chutney.. thanks for the reminder.

  23. Really? I don’t find him attractive at all! I always wonder what he would look like with hair. I like the way you eat your sandwiches, it lasts longer! Your chutney looks so yummy with all those spices!

  24. I love your “deconstructed” pb & j sandwich idea. I have some cranberry relish leftover and will make it for my daughter’s lunch!

  25. Nat says:

    Thats such a mesmerizing slice of bread ! : ) … Wow !
    …you did great with that idea of a PB&CJ Sandwich : ) …

  26. Cucinista says:

    You are forever my hero for working Derrida and signifiers into a food blog.

  27. Kevin says:

    I am so going to have to try some with peanut butter!

  28. lata raja says:

    Thanks Joanne for dropping by my salad. Cranberries are my favourites and just happened to read a spicy chutney post elsewhere. Both the slice of bread and the topping are smack worthy.
    Thanks once again.

  29. SnoWhite says:

    I’ve never tried cranberry chutney… looks yummy.

    might you be able to send your email to me?! 🙂

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