Since I started writing about food and cooking almost two years ago, I’ve only used what’s referred to as a P&S (point and shoot) camera – a Canon PowerShot SX200IS to be specific – and was damn proud of the photos I produced with my cute blue camera. I’ve always been a tiny bit envious of the sharp macro images and dreamy depth of field of images on other blogs, but was happy being the rebel 😉
Well no more! For my birthday, the Don gifted me with the Canon Rebel T2i with a Tamron macro lens. I’m excited, but apprehensive about the learning curve. I’m trying not to wimp out and resort to Old Faithful, but it is a little exasperating, here you are witness to my first attempts. *sigh* Please, if you have any helpful tips, leave me a comment, I would really appreciate it!
Let’s get to the recipe for today: homemade ketchup. It may not sound very exciting, but making your own special recipe ketchup is all the rage now. Ketchup is the quintessential American condiment and, while there are some foods that my family must eat with ketchup – like the typical burger, hot dog or fries; we’re certainly not one of those people who like ketchup slathered on everything. Two things inspired me – actually three – to concoct a gourmet ketchup. (1) an abundance of tomatoes* – of the three varieties we have, I thought the yellow Tangerine tomatoes would be perfect because of their natural sweetness and low acidity, (2) Don loves ketchup and even the organic brand I was buying had more sodium than he wanted, and (3) an LA Times Food feature with a recipe for homemade peach ketchup from Sang Yoon of Father’s Office – notorious for not serving ketchup with their famous burgers.
I decided to impart a tropical twist by adding roasted mango, some heat with the red peppers we have growing, and a touch of the exotic with crushed cardamom seed. And, as the mixture was cooking down I decided that a sauce might be more versatile – that’s how I roll, subject to change at any moment 😉 The ketchup turned Tomato Mango Sauce has proven to be very versatile – terrific as a marinade for pork tenderloin and chicken, drizzled on salads, and as a dipping sauce – and, most importantly, Don loves it and is asking for more!
Tomato Mango Sauce/Ketchup
8 medium sized yellow tomatoes
6 clove garlic
½ cup light brown sugar
½ cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon ground cardamom seed
1 red hot cherry pepper, minced
salt to taste
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the tomatoes and mango in half, leaving the skin on.
3. Set aside to cool, then peel the tomatoes and, using a spoon, scrape the mango flesh from the peel and the seed, discard the seed. Remove the garlic cloves from their skins. Pour the pan juices into a blender or food processor, add the peeled tomatoes, mango, and garlic. Puree until smooth.
4. In a large sauce pan, combine the sugar and vinegar. Whisk the mixture over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Add the cardamom, ginger, and minced pepper, whisk to combine. Stir in the tomato mango puree, stir to blend. Cook, uncovered, over low heat for about 30 minutes to thicken, stirring occasionally. For ketchup, cook for another hour or so until desired consistency is achieved.
* Ketchup does not have to be tomato based, actually ketchup (or catsup) was brought to Britain in the 1600s by traders from China and Malaysia where the brine from pickled fish was used as a dipping sauce. Affluent Brits were served dishes with the rich brines from pickled walnut and mushrooms. Eventually, they began bottling these condiments, calling them catsup. Catsup came with British settlers to Colonial America and it wasn’t until the mid-nineteenth century that entrepreneurs began tinkering with the recipe to suit the American taste for sweet foods and sold catsup made with tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, cinnamon, cayenne, and salt. Its popularity took off when Heinz company added tomato catsup to their condiment line in the 1870s – so there you have your history of ketchup.
Edit: 8/27/12 Featured on Huffington Post Taste ‘s slideshow of homemade ketchups. Thank you!