Kicking Ketchup

When I was little I was told the corniest joke but it cracked me up and I still remember it.  A mama tomato and a baby tomato were walking along but baby tomato kept lagging behind.  So mama tomato stomped on baby tomato and yelled “Ketchup!”  Told you it was corny.  🙂

It was high time I tried making my own ketchup.  Given that we are currently being overwhelmed with fresh tomatoes we had enough to make some.  With the experiment using the Epsom salt for the tomatoes this year I have some results.  We have a crazy amount of tomatoes this year and very little cracking which has been an issue in the previous years.  On the flip side the fruit are ripening in a weird way.  Not sure if it’s because the season is cooler than normal.  They fall off before they are ripe and then they are going off a lot faster so we are struggling to keep up with it.  I will try this again next year to see what is what.

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I did a bit of research on ketchup recipes and figured I could come up with my own recipe without too much trouble.  I estimate we had about 6-7 pounds of tomatoes which we chopped and added it to a large pot.

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In addition chop 1 large red onion, 1 medium white onion, a jalapeno, 2 Ring O Fire peppers, and 2 cloves of garlic.

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Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, 2-3 tsps of sea salt, 1-2 tsps of pepper, and a handful of celery leaves.  Bring to a simmer stirring well.

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Simmer until the sauce reduces by about a third.

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Let it cool and then use a hand blender to process the ingredients.  Press the sauce through a sieve to remove the remaining solids into a clean pot.

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Bring back up to a simmer.  Add a cup of red wine vinegar and 3/4 cup of brown sugar.  Simmer until the ketchup is reduce by another 1/3 and is the consistency you want.  I like it on the thicker side so it reduced a bit more than a 1/3.  If you want it thicker add a bit more brown sugar.

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Can in sterilised jars and process for 10 minutes.

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I am really pleased how this came out.  Certainly makes me want to whip up some burgers and fries!  Maybe some onion rings.  🙂  This has a lovely heat finish to it.

Ooh, as I write this I got a little trophy thing saying it’s my two year anniversary!  Woot!  🙂

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I Love the Colours of Summer Food!

We were spoilt when we were in England with the summer weather. My kind of summer weather where I don’t feel like I’m about to melt and I start to wonder if there is room in the fridge for me.  My husband heard a report on the BBC talking about how muggy the weather was.  Ha! I’ll take their version over the mugginess we get here any day of the week.  It was fabulous sleeping weather.  Right now there is a wall of humidity waiting for us just outside the door.  Ugh.  Thank goodness for A/C.

Of course this time of year comfort food is right out the window.  At least the heavy stick to your ribs kind.  Yesterday I reached back to one of my earlier cookbooks that I got when I moved out on my own to make a corn dish that is packed with flavour but is light and easy to make.  I drew inspiration from “Skillet Suppers” by Andrea Chesman.  It was published back in 1994.  I haven’t opened it in years so it was time to dust it off.  This is my version of their Cajun Macque Choux.  Their version has evaporated milk and prawns.  I took out the milk and replaced the prawns with chicken.

I also love this dish for all the bright colours of the ingredients.

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This is a one skillet meal which makes for very easy clean up.  Chop about 5-6 slices of streaky bacon depending on how thick they are and cube a breast of chicken.

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Start cooking the bacon in the skillet to render the fat.  Once it’s about half way cooked add the chicken in. 

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Thinly slice a quarter of a red onion and add it to the bacon and chicken.  When the onion begins to soften add the chopped jalapeno and a cup of chopped pepper.  Any colour you wish.  Stir well as this cooks.

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Add about 10oz of frozen corn, 1/3 – 1/2 cup of chopped scallion, and a teaspoon or so of fresh thyme. Have this on medium heat.

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Once the corn is about half way cooked add a handful of chopped fresh basil and a chopped tomato.  I used about a cups worth of tomato.

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Season with salt, black pepper, and white pepper.  Stir well and cook until the corn and chicken are finished. 

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This is a very simple but flavourful dish.  I only used one jalapeno in this dish but you could use hotter peppers or more hot peppers if you wish.  My son and I liked the mild heat in this dish but my husband would have loved more omph.  🙂 

 

Early Taste of Summer With Grilled Salmon

It was my kind of day yesterday.  Warm sun, a slight breeze, and time available to get in the garden.  Perfect weather!  We are doing a major tackle of our flower garden this year which will be shown in an upcoming post.  But suffice it to say, the grass has been winning.  So we’re rolling up our sleeves and plotting our strategy for winning back the space for our flowers.

Yesterday definitely put me in the mood for bright flavours and grilling.  It also reminded me that I need to get our outside table cleaned and set up with the chairs.  It would have been lovely to have dinner outside.

I discovered at the co-op that wild sockeye salmon is back in season so that was the base of the meal for my daughter and I.  For my husband and son I grilled up some curry chicken sausages and grilled veg.  But for me the salmon was the prize.  I found this recipe for tomato avocado relish and thought I’d do a version for our dinner.  One thing I love about the warmer weather is many dishes that go on the grill are so easy to throw together and you can have a fabulous fresh meal in less than 30 minutes.  And clean up is even easier!

I prepped the food in stages as the sausages had to go first.  I sliced up the lemon for the grilling.  This is one of the lightbulb moments when you first see it.  Grill the salmon on the lemon!  It is such a no brainer but really raises the flavour profile on the dish.  I will definitely be using this method going forward.

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To make the tomato and avocado salad I first did up the dressing of 2 parts olive oil to 1 part white balsamic vinegar and whisked it to an emulsion then seasoned with salt and pepper.

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I sliced up an avocado.  This is fast becoming one of my favourite foods.  It goes well in a lot of dishes but is also a superfood so for me it’s a win-win.  My other favourite foods include crisps which isn’t on the superfood list by any stretch of the imagination.  So I’m getting one right!  🙂  Chop up a fresh scallion.  I’m not a huge fan of raw onion as it is too much for me but in dishes like this it gives it just enough zip.

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I found at the co-op some local cherry tomatoes, they must be grown in a hot house and while not the same as fresh from the garden they taste better than those trucked in from afar.  Slice them in half and add them to the dressing along with the scallion and avocado.  Toss to coat with the dressing.

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Set aside and spread out the lemon slices on the hot grill and place the salmon on top.

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This is a great trick for two reasons, one it doesn’t stick to the grill, and second it imparts a lovely lemony flavour to the fish without overpowering it.  Once the fish is cooked place it on some mixed greens and top with the tomato avocado salad.

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I’ll admit I went for presentation for the photo then added more of the tomato avocado salad!  My daughter and I loved this dish and I look forward to having it again.