Homemade Ketchup and French Fries

IMG_2388I was driving home the other day thinking about, and craving french fries and ketchup. It made me start wondering if I can really even be considered a foodie, because I still do like to eat regular food, such as …well… french fries and ketchup.

Would a foodie be driving down the road craving french fries?
Maybe. Or maybe not.
I mean, what exactly is a foodie?

Well, according to Wikipedia:

“A foodie is a gourmet, or a person who has an ardent or refined interest in food and alcoholic beverages. A foodie seeks new food experiences as a hobby rather than simply eating out of convenience or hunger. While gourmet and epicurean can be used as synonyms they have fallen out of favor and bring to mind a stodgy or snobbish attitude.”

My interest in food is definitely ardent, or passionate, if you will…and sometimes it’s refined..although I truly cannot be called an epicurean. I admit that my knowledge of food is limited, but I’m continually learning, and growing in that knowledge.

Like most foodies, I enjoy trying new things…I’m one of those people who will “ooh and ahh” over a one inch cube of tuna tartare sitting in the middle of a fine china dinner plate… topped with a truffle paste, and a single pea, all drizzled in 1000 year old tahitian olive oil. I’ll enjoy that three second bite of it, and then rave about it for hours on end.

But then…

There are days like the other day, that I just want a pile of french fries with a dollop of ketchup on a plate in front of me, while I sit back for the rest of the night with the button on my jeans undone, watching an episode of Seinfeld that I’ve seen 100 times before.

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So, in the end, can I really be called a foodie? You know what? It doesn’t matter. I get excited for something extraordinarily crazy and new….and I get excited for something comforting and familiar.

Call me what you want.
Foodie or not….I just love food.

Like ketchup. And french fries.

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And of course, I prefer homemade. I prefer homemade everything…

There is such a freshness to it.
You know… it tastes real.
Better.

And there’s something about making everything from scratch…it’s satisfying. It’s fulfilling. It’s a little wiggle of the hips to the music in your head.. gratifying.

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Life is good, it’s a “call me what you want, but just don’t call me late for dinner…” kind of good…

Sweet and Spicy Ketchup

This ketchup is a touch spicy, yet a touch sweet. It’s nice and thick, so it sticks to your fries, or your hot dog, burger, or whatever you love to eat ketchup on! It’s easy to make, but it’s always better the next day, so plan for keeping it in the refrigerator overnight before serving. Of course you can serve it immediately…but like most foods, it just tastes better when all of the flavors have time to get to know each other. It will keep up to four weeks in the fridge.

2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp jalapeño pepper, minced
12 oz can tomato paste
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp dry ground mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/3 cup cider vinegar
4 tbsp worchestershire sauce
1/3 cup water

Feeling a little frisky? Add a teaspoon or more of anchovy paste to the mix when adding the tomato paste and other ingredients to the sautéed onions!

In a medium saucepan, saute the onions, garlic, and jalapeño in the olive oil until translucent and tender. Add the tomato paste, brown sugar, ground mustard, salt, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, cayenne pepper, cider vinegar, worchestershire sauce, and water. Simmer on low for about 1/2 hour. If it seems to be thickening too quickly, add about 1/4 cup more water.

Let cool completely. Pour the ketchup mixture into a food processor, and blend until smooth.
Transfer to a container with a lid, and refrigerate overnight. Keep refrigerated up to four weeks.

The French Fries

These are basically made the same way as my potato chips…except cut into fries, rather than slices.

4 large russet potatoes
1 cup vinegar
5 cups water
3 cups canola oil
sea salt to taste

Wash and dry the potatoes. Slice into 1/4” thick fries. Try to keep them as uniform in thickness as possible, so that they cook in the same amount of time.

Bring the vinegar and water to boil in a medium saucepan or dutch oven. Add one half of the potatoes and boil for exactly four minutes. Remove with a wire spider skimmer and place on a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Let them dry completely, flipping them so that they dry on all sides. Let cool completely. Repeat with the other half of the potatoes.

While the potatoes are cooling, heat the canola oil in a large saucepan (You want the oil to be at least 2” deep, so add more oil if you think you need it). I deep fry them when the oil reaches 350 degrees.

When the oil is ready, add a few potatoes at a time to the pan. Don’t overcrowd them. Deep fry for 3 minutes. Remove with a wire spider skimmer to a baking sheet with a cooling rack placed on top. Repeat with remaining potatoes, and let cool completely on the cooling rack, which by the time you’ve finished the last of the potatoes, the first batch will have already cooled.

At this point the fries will still be white and soft.
Now to bring a little color and crispiness to the fries….This is where you really need to stand over the pan and watch the french fries cook…Add 1/2 of the cooled potatoes back to the oil, and let them fry until they’re golden brown and crispy. Remove from the oil with the wire skimmer, and drain them on the baking sheet with the cooling rack.  Keep in warm oven until the remainder of the french fries are cooked.

Serve immediately!
Enjoy!
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