Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Waiter! There's something in my...

Believe it or not, after a horrid, rainy, drizzly, disgusting morning, the sun decided to shine and warm up my little patch of earth this afternoon.

Even so, I realized that I had some tomatoes that were about to go beyond their shelf life. As I began to grate them to make a homemade ketchup, I remembered this month's "Waiter! There's something in my... savory preserves!" event hosted by Johanna of The Passionate Cook.

Yay! I've been wanting to enter a WTSIM event for a while now! Click here to view the roundup for this event.

So here it is... my savory preserve. Spicy Italian Ketchup.

Making ketchup is basically just reducing a sauce to an almost paste-like consistency. With some tomatoes on the windowsill bursting at the peak of freshness, today was the perfect day to make just that.

As a diabetic, it's hard to find tasty condiments that are not loaded with added sugar or... *gasp* the dreaded high fructose corn syrup. So I find it's easier to just make my own--then I can make it taste any way I like.

I was raised in a small Italian-American town, so it's understandable that my tastebuds tend toward italian flavors--basil, oregano, olive oil, tomatoes, garlic and onion. The flavors all blend together to bring me back home, no matter where I've lived or traveled in the world. And, well, spicy is a must in my house.

So my ketchup is just that--spicy and full of italian flavor. It's great on anything, from eggs to french fries (though I don't indulge in those too often these days), and unlike store-bought ketchup, this can be used almost like a sofrito, to season other dishes with a burst of tomatoey italian flavor.

Here's the recipe:

Spicy Italian Ketchup


olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon chopped yellow onion (I used one small boiler onion)
4 ripe tomatoes, grated over large holes of box grater, skins discarded
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil (I used a basil ice cube)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
pinch dried oregano
1/2 cup red wine
2 teaspoons crushed red cherry peppers (these were home-grown red cherry peppers that I chopped and stored in white distilled vinegar in the fridge)


1. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a medium saucepan; saute onion until translucent. Add garlic and saute 1 minute--be careful not to burn the garlic.

2. Add grated tomatoes with their seeds & juice (okay, if you want to take the time to strain out the seeds you may. I'm just too lazy for that) with remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, and continue to simmer, stirring frequently, until liquid is reduced to 1/3 the original amount.

3. Remove sauce from heat and empty into a tall container. Puree using an immersion blender until fairly smooth. This only takes a few seconds. Return sauce to saucepan and return to a simmer over medium heat and continue to reduce until almost all liquid is gone and you have a ketchup-like consistency. Remove from heat and cool 5 minutes.

4. Pour sauce into a clean glass jar (with a metal spoon to keep glass from cracking). Float a little olive oil over the top and seal the lid. When fully cooled, store in the refrigerator.

I keep this in the refrigerator for about 3 weeks. Note that I do not process the jar--hence the time limit to use this stuff up. If you want to make a larger batch and process, go for it. Or it could be frozen in a plastic freezer-safe container.

Whoo-hoo that IS spicy... and my tongue is tingling! You have to try this if you love a spicy tomato condiment!

Bye for now,


thepassionatecook said...

what a treat! homemade tomato sauce (aka ketchup) must be so much nicer than store-bought... i should give this a try!
thanks so much for participating and greetings from one mrs.w to another!

Mrs. W said...

Thank you! I look forward to the round-up... can't wait to read about all those delicious savory bits people are making this month!

Elle said...

Nice that you are now home and can make something as lovely as this ketchup. The ingredient list itself is mouthwatering!

marye said...

Yum! I love homemade catsup!!!! This sounds wonderful..
Thanks for visitng my hand I dont knwo any resources other than google because I am just learning myself and trying to balance my ethical responses with my budget..LOL! NOt always an easy task.

Mrs. W said...

Elle--I promise it is worth the time to make this. You'll love the way it tastes. I had some on a hamburger last night an oh, so good!

Marye--I agree, it's not an easy task to figure out which companies actually support ethical business practices AND are affordable! I've started looking at locally-grown items as much as possible, now that I've been living here long enough to find the best farmer's market stands. That works for fresh produce, at least! But coffee and chocolate... I'll be researching Lindt!

Kit said...

Hi and thanks for coming by my blog. I'm just trying to think what to do for WTSIM myself - I haven't got any family recipes for chutneys, so am going to try a Madhur Jaffrey one - only trouble is it's winter here still and there are no gorgeous ripe tomatoes.

Mrs. W said...

Hi, Kit, thanks for stopping in! I love to read your blog--it reminds me of a short time I spent in SA a few years ago. What a lovely time it was for me.

Ooh I love Madhur Jaffrey's recipes--the sweet tomato chutney sounds divine. In my experience, a slightly overripe tomato still makes a good sauce... so perhaps less than perfect produce would still work?

Jeanne said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog recently - and for taking part in WTSIM! I have always loved tomato sauce, even when I didn't eat tomatoes (!) in my youth. This sounds awesome - making my own has been on my culinary to do list for a while ;-)

Mrs. W said...

Hi, Jeanne! Thanks for the comment. When you do get around to your tomato sauce/ketchup experiments, I can't wait to read about them. There are so many delicious variations!

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