Monday, December 19, 2011

LadyLee in the Kitchen!

If you know me, then you know I have my pet peeves.

One of them is that I cannot STAND spending all day in the kitchen.

And I'm not even talking about a hot kitchen, with the oven on high and the pots boiling over on the stove. Nerp. I'm talking about just not liking to spend too much time in the kitchen.

But then there are those times I don't mind. Like when I make my red pepper ketchup.

And to tell the truth, it isn't all day. Maybe a couple of hours.

And that feels like all day.

But I LOVE this ketchup. I first had it at the Watershed some 4 years ago. It came as a condiment with the fried oyster appetizer. I remember saying to the waitress? "Red pepper ketchup? What the world? Bring me a side of tartar sauce with my oysters."

She said I would really enjoy it. And she was right! It is indeed a surpising taste.

So I bought the chefs cookbook, and lo and behold, I saw it in there.

I didn't know you could make ketchup out of any veggie, fruit or nut. I just always thought ketchup was tomato ketchup. So I made it 4 years ago, and I make it now, like, every 2 years.

It's not that hard. It is more a matter of getting all the chopping of the vegetables done. WOW!

I needed 9 cups of red bell peppers, and 5 cups of onions. All chopped.


That was the worst part. Let's just say, I turned on the TV in the living room, hoping to find a good Lifetime Movie. LOL. Nope, I watched a couple of shows on ESPN. That was all that was on good on Sunday morning before Church.

I also had to sterilize my Mason jars.

I boiled those, along with my tongs for gripping them, for a good hour. Not sure I did that right. But I took all the lids and jars out and let them dry on a paper towel.

(That was painstaking. Had to be careful not to touch nothing.)

I threw all my peppers in a skillet, but the skillet was much too small.

That is my favorite skillet, though. It is 20 years old. First skillet I bought for my new place when I was in grad school. That's an ollllldddd skillet.

But I couldn't use it. Had to bring out a dutch boiler (I think that's what it is called).

In addition to the chopped red bell peppers and onions, I also had to finely chope some ginger and garlic (UGH! That took forever). There were also a TON of spices to measure out. Cumin, coriander, cinnamon, salt, pepper, nutmeg, paprika, and some more I can't even remember).

I added all of those to the pot with a half cup of water, and simmered it for about half an hour, while sitting there stirring and tossing it with tongs.

After the peppers and onions softened up, I added it all to a blender and pureed it.

First time I did that, it wasn't cute. Adding hot stuff to a blender... man, I don't even want to talk about it. Let's just say an Oldgirl is much more careful these days. LOL

I added brown sugar and apple cider vinegar, 2 cups each, and let that simmer for about an hour and a half. I carefully poured everything into my cooled jars, and capped them off.

Not sure how much that came out to be. Looks like with all those doggone peppers I cut up, I should have more than that! But once it cooks down and reduces some of the water out, I guess that is all I get. But that is cool.

The top bigger jar is an old jar I used last time, and that alone lasted 2 years in the fridge. I plan to give the others as gifts. I want to leave one on the shelf, just to see if I did the sterilizing process correctly. I wish I could find an older lady from the Celie Color Purple era that understood all this canning stuff. It seems to have become a lost art. Sigh.

I gave a jar to one of my coworkers, who likes to bring me in GREAT meals to try.
I didn't tell her what it is... I just told her it was... ketchup.


But it has a different taste. And used all organic veggies, which makes it EXTRA good. I love it with my french fries, and with seafood, on the rare occasions I eat that.

But it is good stuff. I am trying to summon up the courage to try different veggies and fruits... like mangos. I bet THAT would be good.

If only I didn't mind being in the kitchen for so long... No telling what I could do!

But that was my adventure for the weekend! Spending 3 or 4 hours around the kitchen!

I hope you are having kitchen adventures this holiday season too!


  1. That looks and sounds really good! Hmm

  2. that looks really good! Thanks for sharing. I love your cooking posts. I'm going to look around town and see if I can find this stuff. Of course it probably won't be organic which is my preference but still sounds yummy!

  3. I'm not a ketchup fan, but I really want to learn how to make and preserve my own pasta sauce and jams.

  4. Ok I wanna try it! LOL


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