Friday, March 18, 2011

Foods I Don't Like - Part II

"Three tomatoes are walking down the street- a poppa tomato, a momma tomato, and a little baby tomato. Baby tomato starts lagging behind. Poppa tomato gets angry, goes over to the baby tomato, and smooshes him... and says, Catch up."  -- Uma Thurman as Mia, in Pulp Fiction

That bottle of ketchup up there in the picture? It has a bow on it because it was a gift from my mom to Doug. She knows he loves ketchup and that I hate it. She knows I don't even like to buy it, so when it went on sale she bought extra and gave it to Doug in case he started running low. She's pretty nice that way.

She also knows that's just how much I dislike the stuff. I've always been this way; as a child my poor mother never had that advantage of just being able to hide "good for me" foods in ketchup so I'd eat them. According to some, I'm lucky I survived.

Doug has had to suffer through this part of our relationship. If we go out and order a hamburger to share, it has to be with no ketchup. Wiping ketchup off something will not do. Ketchup for a shared plate of fries must go in a separate bowl on his side of the table, lest it touch any that I might eat. Sometimes I think he might take advantage of this situation to make his serving a little bigger than mine (as in, "Oops - this has ketchup on it, guess I'll have to eat it!").
Doug's gotten used to it over the years. We marry for better or for worse (but not for ketchup), right?

The one exception I make to this rule is if there's a nice big addition of fresh, zesty horseradish sauce added to it, and lovely little pink shrimp (or boiled perch) to dip in it.  Then I can get past the sugary strangeness of the sauce and eat it just as (what seems to be) the rest of the world does.

Needless to say, after mayo, next on my list of things I was convinced I could make better if I did it myself was ketchup. (Are you starting to wonder who is the toddler in this house?) After my failure with the mayo, I'll admit my hopes were not particularly high for this condiment, but I was still willing to try.

With careful consultation of several sources and encouragement from my dad who remembers my Busha making her own ketchup, I went with a recipe from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything cookbook.

Here's the short of it:

I started by steeping some (old, but still fragrant) pickling spice in cider vinegar.

I chopped up an onion, a red pepper, celery and some garlic.
And sautéed them until the onion was soft.
Then I added some tomato paste and cooked it a bit more
I missed two photos in here where I added about three pounds
of canned tomatoes and simmered it for about an hour, then
added the (sieved) steeped cider and cooked it another hour.
Here, I'm using my beloved immersion blender to soup it up.
And here's what I got.
About a quart and a half of homemade ketchup!
The verdict?

Doug:  "It's definitely not ketchup, but it's sure good!"
Wendy: "If this was what ketchup is supposed to taste like, I'd eat it on ... well... a lot of things!"

Success!!!  Wahoo!!

This summer I'll definately make it again, and even can it to keep it around for long-term use.

F.P.O.P. from a great day spent mostly outside (heaven, in the eyes of the Bug):

Clockwise from upper left:
"See how fast I can run while helping MaMa carry in the neighbor's recycling that blew into our back field?!"
"Wait a minute - what is it that I'm doing with this jug again?"
"Okay - it's THIS one I drink out of."
"MaMa, do you hear that airplane?"

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