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
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,