Ever have one of those days that is just… meh? The one where you have laundry to do, a house that’s a mess, a husband who is working on his 70-something hour of work, oh and it’s Sunday and there’s so much going on at work the upcoming week that you should be mentally preparing for but instead you’ve actively put it all out of your mind? Yeah. That was today. No let’s be honest, that was this whole week. I have also been sick all week, a sick that didn’t completely put me out of commission, just the come-home-from-work-and-go-straight-to-bed sick.
With that said, I needed (and I know my husband needed) some comfort food. Looking at my incredibly bare fridge (oh yeah, I should have gone grocery shopping today too…), French Fries it was. Ok, that was really our only option based on the embarrassingly barren fridge. Did I mention I was sick all week and my software programmer husband who works for a company that writes software for law firms was ironically working lawyer hours? Anyway, we did happen to have a bunch of roma tomatoes. And potatoes. Time to make ketchup too.
So, this was a total experiment. I didn’t have a recipe to go by. I couldn’t really find one. Everything called for tomato paste or canned tomatoes. I read a few different recipes gathered these ingredients which seemed like common denominators / flavors and said, what the hell. Tomatoes (duh), onion, garlic, all spice, cloves, mustard, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, dark brown sugar, salt, white wine vinegar.
First thing’s first, saute up the onion and garlic. This wont actually go in to the ketchup, they’ll get strained out, I’m just using them for their flavor.
Then I prepped my tomatoes. I guess I didn’t really need to dice them, a coarse chop would have been fine, I just diced them out of habit.
Added them to the onions and garlic.
Then added a half a cup of brown sugar and gave it a good mix.
And the other spices. From what I gathered form multiple ketchup recipes, cinnamon, cayenne, all space, clove, and mustard are all standard ketchup flavors. Works for me.
First I added the spices that were already ground, cinnamon and cayenne. How much? Not sure. I just did a few shakes. See all that cinnamon, though? That’s way too much. I fished out half of it. If I had to guess, maybe 1/4 tsp. of cinnamon and 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of cayenne. The cayenne is more preference, where as the cinnamon would totally overpower the ketchup if there was too much. Hence my fishing expedition.
The rest of the spices, mustard, cloves, and all spice I ground up with the mortar and pestle. Again, maybe 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of each. I was totally winging it and doing the ground some up, look at it a go, “meh, maybe some more,” then ground more and tossed it in with the tomatoes.
I let this mixture simmer away on a low-medium for awhile. How long? I don’t remember. I was winging it.
Until it was like this.
Then I needed to strain away with tomato skins, seeds, and onions and garlic. We actually bought the kitchen aid vegetable strainer attachment, but last time I mentioned using the attachments, my husband informed me there was some kind of leak and he needed to take the Kitchen Aid in to be fixed… to which I replied, ‘uh, what?’ I was going to ask the who, where, when, and cost, but then realized that’s a honey-do list item. So, our sieve it was.
I poured a little bit at once then would use a wooden spoon to strain the juice.
Then I used a masher to squeeze out the rest of the juice from the skins.
Until I had this. Skins and ketchup flavored tomato sauce.
Then it was time to thicken up into a ketchup. I added a half a cup of vinegar and returned the sauce to a low-medium heat so it could reduce and thicken.
While the sauce thickened, I prepped the fries. Just a few cleaned russet potatoes cut into fry shape.
Then I just mixed oil with some minced garlic and drizzled it onto the cut spuds and gave a toss so they were coated.
On to the baking sheet sprinkled with some sea salt and kosher salt and popped into the oven at 350 degrees.
While they baked, I turned them a few times so they didn’t burn to the pan and so they got crispy on both sides. I like my fries super crispy and crunchy.
Truth be told with the ketchup, I got impatient. Really, it should simmer for awhile. A long while. Like 6-12 hours. Crock potting it would have been best. But I didn’t have that type of time. Comfort food is meant to comfort which I wasn’t willing to wait until the next day for. So I added some cornstarch mixed with water to help quicken the process. But it did simmer and cook down for at least an hour.
It wasn’t as thick as I would have preferred, but thick enough. And super flavorful. Slightly sweet, slightly tangy, and smooth. With super crispy, salty, slightly garlic-y fries, it was exactly the comfort food both my over-worked husband and I needed.
And we had plenty left over. Not too bad for 11 roma tomatoes. Definitely not as cheap as you can buy it in the store, but so much better.
Ketchup from Scratch
- 10-12 Roma Tomatoes
- ½ C White Wine Vinegar
- ½ C Dark brown sugar
- ½ large onion
- 3 large garlic cloves
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- ¼- ½ tsp cayenne
- ¼ – ½ tsp all spice
- ¼ – ½ tsp ground gloves
- ¼ – ½ tsp ground mustard
- 1 Tbsp of olive oil
- Sieve or vegetable strainer
Sautee onions and garlic in a little oil in sauce pan. Chop tomatoes and add to pan. Add sugar and spices and let simmer on low to medium heat until tomatoes are broken down and beginning to come to a light boil. 30 mins – 1 hr.
Drain tomatoes into sieve to separate skins / seeds / onions.
Heat remaining sauce to low – medium and add white wine vinegar. Let simmer and reduce until ketchup is at the thickness and consistency you want. At least 1 – 2 hrs – add some cornstarch mixed with water if necessary. Or transfer to crockpot and put on low for 10 – 12 hrs.