Archive for the Category ◊ Appetizers ◊

26 Jul 2020 Homemade Ketchup
-:: Fresh Homemade Ketchup ::-

Every year I plant tomatoes and every year, for a period of a few weeks, I have more tomatoes than any one family could ever use. I have some recipes on this blog that call for a lot of homegrown tomatoes: Fresh Tomato Lasagna and Tomato Tart jump to mind because we make them every summer. This year we have added two wonderful new recipes, Homemade Tomato Ketchup and Tomato Jam.

This is my recipe for Tomato Ketchup. The recipe originated with Saveur Magazine, was adapted by someone, and then adapted again by myself. I switched from using whole spices wrapped in cheesecloth to ground spices stirred in at the beginning. So much easier!

This ketchup is DELICIOUS. We even taste-tested, side-by-side with Heinz ketchup, this ketchup, and McDonald’s fries. Eight testers, and not one chose the Heinz over this ketchup. One tester even complained about the gluey texture of the Heinz ketchup, something she had never noticed before (OK, so that tester was me)… ?

The ketchup is EASY to make, but it does involve a lot of dishes and utensils: cutting board, sharp knife, stockpot, wooden spoon, a blender, a sieve, measuring spoons, and small bowl. But really…, that’s not too much for a six month’s supply of delicious homemade ketchup with no preservatives, no artificial flavourings, and no chemical thickening agents, is it?

Homemade Tomato Ketchup

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 pounds homegrown tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 large onion peeled and chopped
  • 1-2 Anaheim chilies, seeded and chopped, optional
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed or diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 -1/2 teaspoon chile flakes, optional
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 4 oz. (125 grams or 10 tablespoons) light brown sugar

To finish, optional:

  • 1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2-3 tablespoons cold water

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place all ingredients, except for the cornstarch and cold water, in a large stockpot.
  2. Simmer mixture over medium heat until tomatoes and chiles are soft and onions are translucent and limp, about 45-60 minutes.
  3. Turn off heat, and let mixture cool (because blending hot liquids can be dangerous and messy). Remove bay leaves.
  4. In batches (probably 3 batches, depending on the size of your blender and temperature of tomato mixture), place tomato mixture into a blender and blend until very smooth.
  5. Strain the ketchup through a fine-mesh strainer and return to the cooking pot (straining removes seeds and peels). Press on the solid pieces to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids.
  6. Once all the pureed liquid has been returned to the pan, cook over medium-low heat for an additional 30-45 minutes or until thickened to your preference.
  7. OPTIONAL: If your ketchup doesn’t thicken to your liking (some tomatoes have more liquid in them than other tomatoes), mix a slurry of cornstarch and cold water. Bring tomato mixture to a rapid boil and, stirring constantly, pour in the cornstarch slurry.  Continue to boil and stir for a full minute.
  8. Remove ketchup from heat and let cool.
  9. Ketchup can be stored in a sealed container (preferably glass) in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks and frozen for 6 months or more.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today. Tomato Jam will be up soon!

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27 May 2020 Fresh Cherry Salsa

I am fortunate to live in an area with some remaining cherry orchards. For a few weeks each year these orchards are open for U-Pick cherries.  Seeing as how we are in the midst of a pandemic (80 days of Shelter-In-Place and counting), and U-Pick Cherries being a relatively safe outdoor activity (with masks in place), we’ve been twice in two weeks. That’s a lot of cherries!

Caution #1: U-Pick cherries are not cheap, they might even be a bit more than you’d pay in the grocery store, but they’re good, and fresh, and last a surprisingly long time.

Caution #2: If you go cherry picking, you will undoubtedly come home with more cherries than you would if you bought a bag of cherries at the grocery store or famer’s market. So bookmark a few of our very favorite cherry recipes: Fresh Cherry Salsa, Cherry-Limeaid, and Fresh Cherry Pie.

First up, Fresh Cherry Salsa. It’s surprisingly good. I ate it with tortilla chips, layered on top of grilled tri-tip, and the last was layered on top of chicken in a chicken taco. So, so good!

Fresh Cherry Salsa

  • 3 cups (575 grams/1 ¼ lbs) fresh cherries, pitted and coarsely chopped
  • 2 ½ cups tomatoes, chopped (453 grams/1 lb./2 large)
  • ½ cup very finely chopped red onion (OK to sub sliced green onion, if preferred)
  • 1-2 jalapeños, seeded and minced (adjust to taste)
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped (about ½ cup)
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice (2 limes)
  • Salt to taste

Chop everything up, combine with the fresh lemon juice and salt. Adjust the lime, salt and jalapeños to taste.  Pour into a pretty bowl and serve with tortilla chips or on ladled on top of grilled meat, or layered in a taco.

One of these might make your cherry-picking life easier. I’ve had this one for years, there might be better models out there now.

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25 Aug 2019 Tropical Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Toasted Tortilla Chips

The biggest issue with this dish is: when to eat it! Dessert? Appetizer? Snack? All three work but I think the best is a quiet summer afternoon on the porch with a chilled beverage of choice.

Tropical Fruit Salsa

  • 1 cup finely chopped fresh pineapple
  • 1 cup finely chopped fresh mango (1 large or 2 small)
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped kiwi (2)
  • ½ cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/3 finely chopped red onion
  • ¼ cup finely chopped cilantro
  • Juice of ½ fresh lime (2-3 teaspoonfuls)
  • Salt, optional, to taste (I never add salt)
  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Season with salt, if desired.
  2. Serve with Cinnamon Toasted Tortilla Chips.

Cinnamon Toasted Tortilla Chips

  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 flour tortillas
  • 3 T. butter, melted
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a small bowl combine sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
  3. Brush one side of tortillas with melted butter then sprinkle with 1 tablespoon cinnamon-sugar mixture.
  4. Using a pizza wheel or knife cut tortilla into 8 triangles (cut into 16 triangles if using XL tortillas)
  5. Place on baking sheet and place in preheated oven.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until crisp.
  7. Let cool.
  8. Serve and share!

NOTES: Salsa can be made the night before and stored covered in refrigerator. Tortilla chips can be made a few hours before serving.

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09 Aug 2019 Korean Chicken Wings
 |  Category: Appetizers, Poultry  | Tags: , , , , ,  | Leave a Comment

I love these! This recipe is one of my very favorite new recipes this year. I have my daughter, Abby, to thank for it. She’s been to a lot of Korean BBQ restaurants (I’ve been to none) and she fell in love with these wings. She then searched out a fabulous recipe and cooked them for me a few times, then I got addicted, which is odd since I don’t particularly like chicken or chicken wings. This recipe is based on one found in “Our Korean Kitchen” by Jordan Bourke and Rejina Pyo. These little pieces of heaven won me over though! These wings have a little bit of everything yummy, a little bit sweet, a little bit spicy, a little bit crispy, a little bit saucy and a little bit sticky and they are so very addicting. I think I had a dream about them once…

The recipe has a lot of steps, but they are all easy (and well worth it!). You’ll probably need to visit a Korean grocery store for a few items, but once there you’ll find everything and be able too cook multiple batches of these wings before needing a return trip. The wings are very easy to pull together after making them the first time. Honest, they are easy! You’ll want to make them for all your friends.

Here’s a picture of the not-so-common items you’ll need for these wings. Helpful note, Glutinous Rice Flour is also known as Sweet Rice Flour.

Korean Fried Chicken Wings

Sauce

  •  2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
  • ¼ cup Rice Vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp Gochujang (available at Korean grocery stores)
  • ¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp Honey
  • ½ cup  Ketchup
  • ¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 Tbsp sesame oil

Flour Coating for Wings

  • ¼ cup potato flour
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup glutinous rice flour (AKA Sweet Rice Flour-available at most Asian markets)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground pepper

To Cook Wings

  • 3 pounds party wings
  • Vegetable Oil for frying 

Garnish (optional)

  • 1 tsp toasted black sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp toasted white sesame seeds

Make the sauce

  1. Combine first six sauce ingredients (except vegetable oil, garlic, and sesame oil) in a medium bowl and set aside.
  2. Place vegetable oil in a medium saucepan, over medium heat. Once oil is hot, add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  3. Once garlic is golden, add all the combined sauce ingredients to the pan, and cook until it has thickened and is glossy, approximately 4-5 minutes.
  4. Add sesame oil, mix thoroughly.
  5. Set aside until ready to use.

Make the chicken

Pour vegetable oil into a deep, medium-size pan, with at least two inches between the surface of the oil and the rim of the pot. Place pan over medium-High heat, and using a deep-fat or candy thermometer to guide you, bring oil to 325 F.

  1. Meanwhile, place the ingredients for the flour mix in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Add chicken to the flour mix, coating every part evenly. (Shaking wings with flour mixture in a Ziploc works well)
  2. Shake excess flour off wings and set on a baking rack to dry slightly. If flour soaks into wing and looks a little gummy, shake in flour mixture again.
  3. When oil has reached 325F, add the chicken in batches and fry for about 7 minutes.
  4. Remove and drain on paper towels.
  5. OK to keep cooked wings warm in 250 degree oven until needed.

To Serve

  1. Once all chicken is fried, reheat sauce and toss hot wings in warm sauce.
  2. Sprinkle saucy wings with sesame seeds if using
  3. Share and enjoy!
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