There are many reasons to make your own ketchup. The bottled stuff (even the most top-shelf variety) has an indeterminate amount of sugar and “natural flavorings” — what does “natural” taste like, anyway?
The easiest way to find out is to make your own, out of strictly natural ingredients. You’ll be able to tweak the flavors to your preference, pulling back on sweetness, if you prefer, or dialing up the spices. And one thing’s for sure: You won’t find bourbon in your grocery store squeeze bottle.
Maple-Bourbon Ketchup Recipe
Continue Reading More Bourbon, Less Sugar: A Ketchup Worth Making
When I was a senior in high school, I spent a week abroad, staying with a family in Nantes, at the mouth of the Loire River on the Western shore of France. It was a world-expanding trip on many levels, but one of the things that surprised me the most was that the food was nothing at all like I expected. Somehow, I figured that in every French household, dinner was a multi-course affair of meats bathed in rich cream sauces, washed down with flagons of claret and followed by mighty towers of croquembouche.
In fact, of course, French home cooking is simple, straightforward and delicious. Humble fare like roast chicken and potatoes is the norm. One evening we had a meal of sausages, poached and then seared, accompanied by tart gherkins and a healthy dollop of grainy Dijon mustard. Previously, my idea of Dijon mustard was Grey Poupon. This was no such thing. It unleashed a chemical blast that crept up the sinuses and seared the backs of the eyeballs, causing involuntary deluges of tears to well forth.
I was hooked.
Continue Reading Mustard That Passes Muster
My refrigerator houses an array of condiments from places near and far, suitable for many cuisines. I tend to buy bottles of random things when snooping about a food market in a neighborhood (or country) I’ve not visited in some time. Mostly these bottles collect dust, the inner goop too obscure for me to make the effort to combine it with its proper mates (though an occasional weekend cooking project will have me rooting through the cupboards).
In principle, I don’t consider chili paste one of these obscure condiments. After all, many cuisines have multiple condiments made of chiles that are critical to their dishes. But until lately, the pastes I’ve picked up along the way remained the wallflower at the prom — I see them there, they look pretty, but I’m afraid to approach them.
Continue Reading The Charms of Chili Paste
Smoky burgers fresh off the grill. Savory BLTs with tomatoes fresh off the vine, still warm from the sun. Club sandwiches with crisp lettuce, salty bacon and creamy avocado. All of these things are mouthwatering all on their own. But to my mind, each of them needs a foil, a companion condiment to bring out their best: a pickle.
Continue Reading Quick Pickles Pick Up Your Summer Sandwiches