Tuesday, July 26, 2016


Patience. The key ingredient to making ketchup is patience. Other than that, it is a breeze to make. The recipe can be found in Curtis Stone's book What's for Dinner, or here.  You may note that the recipe is part of a meat loaf and mashed potatoes meal, but with the temperatures hitting triple digits, I'm not about to turn on the oven or make a heavy meal. We'll just have to use the ketchup on grilled hamburgers or hot dogs. 

Frankly, I was a bit skeptical about the value of making home-made ketchup. Perfectly fine brands of ketchup are available for purchase at reasonable prices, so is it worth it to make your own?   
At first, I was doubtful, but a quick glance at the ingredient list convinced me that if I didn't like the result as ketchup, it would make a terrific base for barbecue sauce, so I had nothing to lose. 

The main ingredient is fresh tomatoes. They are cut into quarters and pureed in a blender. No need to peel or seed them. Saute minced onions, mix in the readily available ingredients, bring to a boil, then simmer.  Next, the waiting. Except for the occasional stirring, you wait...and wait...and wait. 

The only deviation I made from the instructions was to use an immersion mixer at the end to get a smoother texture. 

The finished result is very tasty, but I won't be using it in place of ketchup. Maybe I'm a creature of habit and too used to Heinz. As I mentioned before, it seemed like a good base for a great barbecue sauce and it would be a wonderful sauce for the meatloaf. As a ketchup, it was too sweet for my tastes and it might have benefited from even more simmering to thicken it up a bit.  

It's potluck week over at I Heart Cooking Clubs. This means that member bloggers will be posting their tasty recipes from Curtis Stone and other chefs featured at IHCC. Check it out. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Grilled Ginger-Sesame Chicken Salad

Aaaaaaah, Summer. How I love you. Endless lazy days with time to plan and cook those meals that somehow rarely get made during the busy school year. On today's menu is Curtis Stone's Grilled Ginger-Sesame Chicken Salad from What's for Dinner by Curtis Stone. If you don't have the book, you can use this link from a 2013 Redbook magazine article that calls Mr. Stone "gratuitously handsome."  Hmm, not even sure what that means.

The article did describe this recipe as "no-hassle".  I might have said "a little hassle," but I would also describe this as a perfect summer dish; lots of fresh veggies and no oven required. While the chicken marinated, I chopped the veggies. I grilled the chicken on the gas grill outdoors, so no heating up the house.  It had been a while since I had grilled outside. I forgot to oil the grate and regretted it when I had trouble turning the chicken. Even though I had preheated the grill and let the chicken cook undisturbed 4 minutes, it still stuck. Oh well. You cut the chicken into 1/4" slices for the salad so it didn't look bad.

The salad has wonderful flavor and crunch.  And more importantly, it was a hit with the family. Everyone enjoyed it, even the youngest who rarely eats vegetable, especially in a salad. 
 Summer means salads and Tides baseball
I'll be sharing this post with all the other avid cooks at I Heart Cooking Clubs. The theme this week? Grilling on the barbie. Head over to their web site to check out other tasty recipes. 

I haven't posted in quite a while. I didn't think my hiatus would be that long. I figured I wouldn't post over the Passover holiday, but then I was busy with my older daughter's college graduation, job negotiation and other life events. I'm looking forward to rejoining IHCC.