The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me. ~ Psalm 16:6 nasb

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Salad Dressing - French/Catalina

I never know whether to call it French, or Catalina.  I know it's sweet and tangy, and I love it on salad.  I know that it's my dad's favorite, too.  ;)  And, if you have read my blog, you know the recipe is at the end.  :)

Salad dressings are so incredibly easy to make; most of my dressings can be made in ten minutes or less!  They store in the fridge for a few weeks, and they taste so much better than their store-bought counterparts.  Not to mention, they're so much healthier, too!

I love all different types of salad, and this dressing works on most of them!  Here's a traditional green salad, topped with chopped chicken and cubed cheddar cheese...

And below is a less traditional green salad topped with corn and some leftover grilled steak, which I diced.

Here's another salad, red leaf lettuce and tomato, sprinkled with brown rice and crumbled feta cheese.  My French/Catalina dressing was perfect on all these salads!

I usually halve this recipe, since I tend to make just one dressing at a time and use it until it's gone.  I just found out that it's not safe to can oil-based recipes, so canning this would not be an option.  It takes so little time to make, though, that canning doesn't matter.

French/Catalina Salad Dressing
Yields about two cups.

2/3 cup ketchup
2/3 cup oil (I use grapeseed; evoo will cause it to get thick in the fridge)
1/2 cup sugar (I use cane juice crystals; you could also use honey)
1/2 cup red wine vinegar (or to taste; I've found this amount works fine)
salt to taste (I end up using more than just a pinch)
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon chopped onion

Combine all ingredients in blender; blend until smooth.  Store in fridge 2-3 weeks.  NOTE:   I use my Braun stick blender; it's way quicker than hauling out my blender, and clean-up is a breeze, too!

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Homemade Ketchup -- Or Is It Catsup??

I've always wondered about those two different spellings.  Apparently they're both acceptable, with ketchup being the more popular of the two.  I hope you were wondering, too.

Necessity is the mother of invention.

Commonly ascribed to Plato, and seen as early as the mid-1500s, this phrase took on pertinent meaning for me this week since I was out of grocery money.  As in--none.  And we were out of ketchup.  Those faint noises you heard a few days ago?  That was the guys.  I won't say if it was screaming or crying. 

Either way, we were out of it, and we needed some.  I had a few hours, and figured, why not.  It's a table sauce, technically, and I've made mayonnaise, barbecue sauce, and various salad dressings, so this would probably be just as easy.  And it was.  Seriously.

When I made this recipe, we didn't have any French fries lying around.  But we did have an almost-gone bag of Kettle ridged potato chips.  Seriously awesome on their own, but I have a few sons who love ketchup on them.  Potatoes + ketchup = happy tummy.

I invented the recipe only so far as to tweak one that a dear friend gave me a long time ago.  Dear friends do that a lot.  That's another reason they're dear.  :)

This recipe called for some unusual spices, and I added one more--turmeric root--to the mix as I tweaked.  Side note--be careful with turmeric, as it will stain yellow whatever it touches.  Even my Corian countertops.  (It's mostly gone now, whew!)

On to my recipe!  I feel a little (tiny) bit of tweaking is still in order, but I wanted to get this up on the blog and share it with you.  Plus I haven't blogged in a month--yikes!  You'll see an "Updated" alert under the recipe if I've done that.  For now, here is the recipe!  It is tangy, and a bit sweeter than I'm used to because of the honey.  You may try substituting cane juice crystals (or plain sugar if that's what you use).  I may reduce the honey as part of my tweak.  Here we go...

Christine's Homemade Ketchup
Yield:  Not quite five half-pint canning jars

four cans tomato paste (those little cans)
1 1/4 cup honey (start with 3/4 cup and taste-test, then tweak)
3/4 cup vinegar (I used about half raw cider vinegar and half white)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
pinch garlic powder  (literally--pinch a bit between your fingers!)
pinch cayenne powder
pinch allspice

Place all ingredients in saucepan and whisk to combine well.  Heat over medium heat for 10-15 minutes, until it's bubbly and warm.  Allow to cool before storing.  I put mine in Mason jars and am storing it in the fridge.  The ketchup can be made without heating; just combine well (a blender would work great) and store 1-2 days before using to allow flavors to marry.

Since this is mostly tomatoes and vinegar, you could water-bath can it.  I'm going to double the recipe and try canning it next time.  My Ball Canning Book recommends boiling for 15 minutes in pint jars.  I'll let you know how it goes!

If I update this recipe, I'll be sure to let you know!

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