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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Why Bother? 2012 - Ketchup & Mustard

With Memorial day weekend just a few days away, it's time to get to making our toppings for hot dogs and hamburgers!  Don't put away your car keys just yet, you may still need to make a trip to the grocery store! 

I was on the fence about making my own ketchup and mustard.  I mean, they cost about a dollar.  Two dollars if you want to buy organic ketchup.  Would it really be worth the time and effort to make my own condiments?  Yes and no.

First, in order to make your own condiments, you need a well-stocked spice cabinet.  Celery seeds, cumin seeds, whole yellow mustard, whole cloves, cayenne pepper, the list could go on.  If you decide to make either of these recipes, be sure to check your cabinet thoroughly and make a list. 

You'll need to head to a grocery store or spice market that has a large spice selection.  Penzey's spices is a great store with just about everything you'll need.  You can also order online and you'll have your spices in a few days.  Whole Foods had a smattering of spices that I needed and I filled in the remainder at Fairway (a popular tri-state area grocery chain).  When I thought that I had them all, I realized I was missing celery salt and had to make a last minute trip to Pathmark.

I decided to make honey-mustard, since I already had plain yellow mustard and Dijon mustard in the fridge.  It was simple enough to make.  Just combine all of the ingredients and let it sit overnight.  In the morning, pour it all into your favorite food processor and pulse the heck out of it.  It smells amazing.  How does it taste?  Mine came out super spicy!  The reason?  The freshly purchased mustard seeds.  Those little guys really pack a flavor punch.  While it doesn't have a distinctly honey flavor, it will be amazing on hamburgers and hot dogs.

I put off making ketchup until just last night because I couldn't find the time to make it.  The process is simple enough, you just have to have enough time to allow the tomatoes to reduce and reduce and reduce.  It took a long time.  Complaints came left and right about how weird/bad it smelled.  The boiling vinegar made my eyes tear up.  Sure, I got some tasty ketchup out of the process, but it took a long time.  Maybe make this on a lazy Sunday.  Personally, I'm going to just buy organic ketchup when I run out of my own!

There we have it.  We can make our own condiments!  It's up to you as to whether it is worth the price of all of the specialty spices to have homemade ketchup and mustard.  I think I'll try a few different mustard flavors before hanging up my condiment hat.

Stay tuned for next weeks final installment of BBQ food - pickles!  Then we'll see how all of these homemade foods do near the grill.  How will homemade ketchup and mustard pair with my own refrigerator pickles?  Will I be overwhelmed with flavor?  Will I eat all of the pickles before they make it to the burger?  Will I even put them on a burger?  We'll find out!

One Year Ago: Casatiello

Honey Mustard
Adapted from D.I.Y. Delicious

You can make mustard with this basic recipe, changing out the alcohol source, vinegar type, aromatic flavors and sweetener.  The flavor options are endless!  Maybe you want to make a beer mustard or perhaps a cilantro mustard?  It's all up to you!

1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tbsp brown mustard seeds
2 tbsp yellow mustard seefs
1 tbsp shallot, finely diced
pinch allspice
1 tbsp honey
pinch kosher salt

Combine all ingredients in a container with a lid.  Shake to combine.  Let sit overnight.

In the morning, pour the contents of your jar into your blender or food processor.  Blend until smooth.  The brown mustard seeds will not break down as much as the yellow seeds.  It might take up to 5 minutes for the mustard to smooth out and it won't be as smooth as the storebought stuff. 

Transfer the mustard to an airtight container and store in the fridge.  This stuff will keep for about 3 months.

Spicy Ketchup
Adapted from D.I.Y Delicious

Due to the addition of cayenne pepper to the ketchup, it is pretty spicy.  If you would like a more traditional ketchup flavor, omit the cayenne.  Be prepared to babysit your ketchup as it reduces on the stovetop.  You don't want to heat it up too hot.  You should slowly reduce off the water to thicken your ketchup.  Make this recipe when you have time to hang out in your kitchen!

2 - 28oz cans whole tomatoes
1/2 white onion, chopped roughly
2 cloves garlic, peeled and ends trimmed
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 - 3-inch cinnamon stick
2 tsp yellow mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp whole cloves
1/2 tsp celery seeds
6 black peppercorns
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Pour contents of 1 can of tomatoes (juice and all) into your blender and puree until smooth.  Add onion and garlic and puree.  Pour tomato puree through a medium mesh sieve set over a 4-quart pot.  Puree second can of tomatoes with juice.  (If you have a huge blender, you can blend everything together.  Mine wouldn't fit everything).  Strain the second batch of tomato puree.

Place tomato puree over medium heat and bring to a bubble.  Lower heat to medium-low and allow the tomato puree to reduce by half.  This took about 90 minutes on my stovetop.  It may take more or less time where you are.

While the tomatoes are reducing, combine remaining ingredients in a small pot and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Once it comes to a boil, remove from the heat and allow to steep.

Once the tomato puree has reduced by half, strain the spices from the vinegar and add the liquid to the tomato pot.  Stir to combine.  Continue to reduce, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes.  Or until you reach your desired thickness.  Remove ketchup from the heat and transfer to your storage container.  Store in the fridge for only 2-3 months.
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