Is Ketchup The Secret of Happiness?

Mommy adores ketchup; it is almost an addiction for her. She puts on on everything from scrambled eggs to macaroni; cooking would be unfathomable without the addition of this ruby-colored condiment. I always thought it was strange – this all encompassing obsession with gloopy tomatoes, that is, until recently when I started adding it to marinades and curries.

My mother always makes fun of me saying that I put curry powder in everything I cook, well, she does the same with ketchup – she puts it on eggs, sausages,  adds it to stews, uses it as a sauce for rice and pasta. The only things she does not use ketchup for is for cake and ice cream.

Sometimes, when you make fun of people for whatever reason, you end up acquiring some of their habits. Little by little, I was pulled into the world of ketchup, adding a dash of it, almost involuntarily, to many of my dishes. Mommy won, she was right – it does tend to balance out flavors and make food happy.

What is ketchup, though? What’s in it? Ketchup originated in China and was made famous in America by Henry J. Heinz. It is usually made of tomatoes, sugar, salt, vinegar, and spices. Heinz is still the most popular brand in this country, but it has an incredible amount of sugar, that is why I am currently using Sir Kensington’s Ketchup, which has 50% less sugar and 33% less sodium, or so they say.

Ketchup is now precious to me, using only a few squeezes at a time – it adds a special savory-sweet touch to cooked dishes. It is not only for hot dogs and hamburgers anymore. There is one red line though, where ketchup is unacceptable – no steak with ketchup for me. Ever.

Photo by iStockphoto

If you ever decide to make ketchup at home, below is a healthy version by The Vegan Corner.

INGREDIENTS

14oz tinned tomatoes

13oz fresh tomatoes

1 oz shallots

1 clove garlic

1 oz granulated sugar

¼ tsp mustard seeds

1 clove

¼ tsp ground allspice

¼ tsp ground ginger

1 oz red bell pepper

1 pinch cinnamon

⅛ tsp cayenne pepper

⅛ tsp sweet paprika

2 tbsp apple vinegar

¼ tsp salt

To thicken the ketchup

⅛ tsp agar agar powder

1 tbsp water (to disperse the agar)

Turkey Wing Soup, A Family Tradition

 

We have a family tradition that we have been practicing for the last ten years – on the day after Thanksgiving; I buy the Christmas tree and while the chickens decorate I make turkey soup using the leftovers from the day before.

pot-of-turkey-soup

Over the years, I have tweaked the soup a little, using fresh turkey wings instead and leaving the leftover for sandwiches. I chuck all the ingredients in a pressure cooker but you can also use a regular pot, it just takes longer to cook. I really do not measure, so use the ingredients and methods below as a guide. Whatever you do, it will be delicious if you make it with love.

Serves four people with normal appetites.

4 turkey wings, each one cut in 2 pieces

1 yellow onion, thinly sliced

4 green onions, in long, thin slices

9 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

1 piece of ginger, about the length of your thumb, thinly sliced

4 or 5 potatoes cut in chunks

3 carrots, cut in slices

1 bouquet garni made with thyme, rosemary and sage tied with a string

1 package of frozen cooked mashed squash

1 box of chicken stock

2 sprigs of chopped cilantro for garnish

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Some of the ingredients for the soup. You can use any brands.
Some of the ingredients for the soup. You can use any brands.

Prepare the turkey wings by cutting them in half, either with a pair or scissors or a sharp knife. Make sure that you cut off the excess skin and fat. You should have 8 pieces of turkey.

Put everything in the pot at the same time. After you add the stock, add enough water to cover all the ingredients completely. You can add a tiny bit of curry to the soup if you are feeling crazy.

If using a pressure cooker, time it for 10 minutes. If using a regular pot, bring to a boil and then simmer for about 1 hour, until the turkey is soft.

Fish out the bouquet garni and serve in big bowls, garnished with the chopped cilantro. The Christmas tree should be decorated by then!

xmas-tree

 

 

Simple Korean BBQ Ribs

This dish is simple and delicious. I got the inspiration from Seonkyoung Longest . She used baby back ribs for her recipe, and I used short ribs. Because short ribs are not as thick, I did not boil them first. I also charred the green onions on the grill, instead of using it raw as a garnish.

ribs for posting

These ribs are so yummy and easy to make that there is not much point talking too much about. The Sempio Kalbi Marinade Sauce is so delicious that upon opening, the deep whiff of garlic was hypnotising, almost fell in a garlic coma. You can use any other Korean BBQ Sauce.

kalbi

The resulting ribs were incredibly delicious – sucking on the bones was a bonus. The most beautiful part of these ribs is how easy they are to prepare.

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Watch the video and start salivating.

 

 

 

 

Chef Sabrina’s Egg Scramble With Blistered Tomatoes And Crispy Kale

I had the pleasure of meeting Chef Sabrina Dora López in a brunch at Paradise Farms. The food she prepared was glorious and she was very generous to share her special egg scramble recipe with me. Believe me; this dish is spectacular, equally good served for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner.

A sprinkling of red pepper flakes on top kicks up the flavour.

 SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided 1-pint grape tomatoes (about 2 cups)

1-pint grape tomatoes (about 2 cups)

1 garlic clove, finely chopped 6 cups kale leaves 1/2 cup chopped scallions

1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped Crushed red pepper flakes 6 large eggs, beaten

1 tablespoon fresh thyme

6 large eggs, beaten

Chopped crushed red pepper flakes for garnish

kale-2

PREPARATION

Heat 2 tsp oil in a large, heavy, well-seasoned skillet over medium-high heat. Add tomatoes and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes are lightly browned and blistered, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Spread half of the kale leaves onto a roasting pan, drizzle with oil and roast at 425 degrees for 20 minutes until leaves are crispy. In the same skillet (do not wash), heat remaining 2 tsp oil. Add other half of kale, scallions, thyme and a pinch of red pepper flakes; sauté until kale is tender, about 5 minutes. Arrange kale evenly over the surface of skillet. Scatter blistered tomatoes over kale and season with salt and pepper. Pour eggs over vegetables and remove from heat. Immediately stir with a heatproof spatula until eggs are gently scrambled, about 1 minute. Serve hot!

You can also serve as pictures, in a big serving bowl. Scramble the eggs first, then top with the tomatoes and then with the kale.

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scramble 2-2

scramble-2

A Miami native, Sabrina Dora López founded Vesta Foods in 2014 to offer South Florida fresh, farm to table catering and weddings, classes, and private chef services. Sabrina is committed to teaching people that healthy cooking using fresh ingredients is accessible to everyone and is a crucial piece in nourishing ourselves and our earth.

Before founding Vesta, Sabrina worked in food marketing in New York. After one too many hours in the office, she decided to start working with food instead of just talking about food. Her teachers are the land, the ingredients, the farmers, and the grandmothers and many cooks she’s met across her global travels. Chef Sabrina is studying Ayurvedic cooking and is currently working on a line of organic herb and spice preparations.

Visit Chef Sabrina Dora López website.  She is versatile and a genius in the kitchen. Her company, Vesta Foods, offers to cater for weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, cocktail parties and any other special occasions you may have. Chef Sabrina is also a personal chef who serves up freshly cooked meals every day of the week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Vesta Foods