Thursday, May 31, 2012

To Spoon Over Everything

I'm really a person of utmost class. It's just that no one can tell, because my sophisticated self hides behind several layers of unsophisticated habits. For example: I can't survive one day without a bottle of ketchup. Ketchup is my favorite food in the entire universe and I eat it on eggs, burgers, broccoli, peas, green beans, potatoes, and anything else I can find. I've been wanting to make my own ketchup for like freaking forever, but with a bottle of Heinz in the fridge, I always wondered why I'd bother peeling a million tomatoes.

This afternoon, I decided that I'd finally make my own homemade ketchup. Let's call this semi-homemade ketchup (in the style of Sandra Lee). I was too lazy to blanch tomatoes, peel them, cook them down, and finally strain the seeds, so instead I just started with tomato paste. I made a combination of two recipes with a few adaptations. I swapped some honey for dark molasses for a deeper caramel flavor, I decreased the salt, and I changed the spices. The amounts here for spices are approximations, because I didn't actually measure anything that comes after the salt. All the spices are optional - use what's in the front of the cabinet and don't bother with the rest.

This ketchup is perfect for me. The initial sour bite gives way to a complex balance of sweet, dark spices. It's thick and addicting and makes me crave some steamed broccoli to dip. I believe in the hierarchy of ketchup flavors, sour ought to trump sweet which in turn comes before salty, and all three have to hide behind the deep umami of the tomatoes. Thus, my ketchup has a whole lot of vinegar in it. But I recognize that your ketchup tastes are deeply personal, like what god you pray to or what color you paint your toenails. Feel free to adjust this recipe to your taste.

Spiced Honey Ketchup
Adapted from An Oregon Cottage and Paleo Diet Lifestyle

12 oz tomato paste
1/3 c honey
1/6 c molasses
1 c vinegar (I used cider vinegar)
1/2 c water
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 pinch ground cloves
1 pinch ground allspice
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Whisk until smooth in a saucepan.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer. Partially cover the pan to avoid a big red splotches all over the kitchen. Keep tasting to adjust flavorings. After about twenty minutes, it'll be thick and gooey and dark. Remove from the heat and let cool.
Keep refrigerated. If it thickens too much in the fridge, just add some water (a couple teaspoons at a time) to reach pouring consistency.
Makes 2 1/2 to 3 cups.

1 comment:

  1. "Paleo Diet Lifestyle" eh? Lots of homemade ketchup on that wooly mammoth steak? :)