Dot-K Ranch, here in Ketchup, Idaho.
In response to two avid readers (oh, I've got a huge base, people), I'm going to talk about the ketchup I made yesterday.
I didn't use a recipe, though I'm sure you could find one on the Internet (a quick check turned up a few with — shudder — bell peppers added to the mix, along with gobs of sugar and spices... and then there was the one with added cornstarch!).
Here's what I did. Last summer I oven-roasted scads of tomatoes (quartered, tossed with good olive oil). When they had cooked down a bit (an hour and a half at about 400ºF, IIRC), I passed them through a food mill to remove the skins and seeds. I spooned the resulting sauce into freezer bags, and I've been picking them off ever since. Still got a few to go before real tomato season begins this summer.
So, my recipe would go like this:
1. Last summer, make some tomato sauce and freeze it.See how simple it is? See why I'm not being specific about quantities?
2. Today, take out as much frozen tomato sauce as you think you'll want (I only made about four or five tablespoons of ketchup, so I guess I used a half cup or less).
3. Put the tomato sauce into a saucepan with some honey to taste, along with salt and just a few semi-hot red chile flakes. Don't forget to throw in a fresh laurel leaf (see, this is where it gets all wonky, because you don't have a Greek laurel tree on your patio like I do), and a tiny peeled, cracked clove of garlic. Oh, and a little splash of nice vinegar. (These quantities, though terribly vague, are for that small dab I ended up with.)
4. Cook it all down very gently, probably no longer than 30 minutes, tasting and adjusting flavors once in a while (you really can't resist, but try and save some for the burgers, now, willya?).
5. This recipe is the Eat Local Challenge 100-mile version. If you want to use dried, imported spices, by all means... go ahead. I find the fresh laurel leaf adds all the exotic, aromatic flavor I want.
And oh, boy. It is tasty. The tomato flavor really comes through, it's so fresh. I really wouldn't want to muck it up with cloves and brown sugar and long, long boiling.
But I couldn't resist putting it in one of those squirt bottles. Strictly for photographic purposes, you understand.