Friday, September 26, 2014

Sweet Cherry BBQ Sauce & Ketchup

Simmie Sinow

The photo below appears very brown, but really is not! It was made with dark cherries which for some reason made the photo look almost brown (that and lousy lighting in my kitchen!)

This recipe makes about 1 1/4 quarts of BBQ sauce or Ketchup.

This recipe can double as a recipe for ketchup as well as BBQ sauce. When making it into Ketchup, I simply add a little bit of water and blend it with my Immersion Blender (really, any blender will do) until it is very smooth and has a ketchup consistency.

Easy Peasy, eh?

1 lb cherries, pitted (or a bag of frozen that's been defrosted)
3/4 cup water
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp yellow mustard (I use dry, but any type will do)
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
6 Medjool dates, pitted (do not use regular dates, they need to be Medjool)
24 oz can crushed tomatoes, strained
5 Tbsp coconut aminos OR 5 Tbsp heavily salted water (1/2 cup water + 3/5 Tbsp salt)
2 tsp paprika (I use smoked)
1 tsp black pepper

In a large saucepan, heat the cherries, dates, and water over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, until softened.

Add the rest of the ingredients, stir well to combine, and heat until bubbling. Reduce heat to low, and let it cook for 30-45 minutes until it thickens.  I cook this until the cherries break up easily when mashed a little bit with a potato masher.

Mash with a potato masher if you want it to remain thick, then put into a storage container and store in your refrigerator.

For a Smoother, More Liquid Sauce (Ketchup-y, even):

Put the mixture, along with some extra water (start with 1/4 cup) in your regular blender or use an Immersion Blender to puree the mixture well.

This serves a dual purpose as BBQ sauce and ketchup, depending on the consistency you choose!

This stays fresh and tasty for two months in your refrigerator -- if you don't consume it before then!

One of these days, I will remember to take a picture of the final product for this post!

A Note On The Coconut Aminos

Coconut aminos are a replacement for soy sauce, but in no way do they taste like soy sauce.  They are sweeter, and not very salty.

Instead of paying the high price for Coconut Aminos, I just use heavily salted water in my recipes instead of the coconut aminos -- it is actually a closer taste to soy sauce than the aminos are.  Plus you're saving your checkbook!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Crockpot Ghee

Simmie Sinow

What you will need:

Butter from grass-fed cows, salted or unsalted (2-8 bricks, depending on how much you want to make)


Nut Milk Bag or Doubled-Over Cheesecloth

Strainer (optional: mostly just to make things easier than wrangling the nut bag or cheesecloth)

Please! Do not scrimp on the butter being from grass-fed cows--I've tried this with butter that was not from grass-fed cows and trust me, you do not want to do this.  With the salted butter, a lot (but not all) of the salt mixes in with the milk solids and gets strained out.

Let's Get Started

Place at least two "bricks" (totaling 1 lb or more) butter from grass-fed cows that is unsalted into your crock pot and set to Low.  I use 2 bricks, as the crockpot I use is a small one that is 2 quarts. I've made it with 3-4 bricks in my small crockpot. If you have a larger crockpot, you can use anywhere from 4-8 bricks. Just make sure you have a container large enough to store it in once you're done!

Set it on high for about 45 minutes, then low for 8-12 hours.  Lid ON.

How Do I Know When It's Done?

After a number of hours, the mixture will start bubbling a bit. Let it keep bubbling, just make sure it doesn't burn -- it is still usable if it turns brown, but tastes much better if it doesn't.

You will notice the clear butter (or ghee) is sitting on top of the milk solids (the milk solids sink to the bottom of your crockpot).  That's the way it should be -- it's just the opposite of how it works on the stovetop.

Straining the Butter To Get The Milk Solids Out

Put a Nut Milk Bag or doubled over Cheesecloth over the container you'll store it in and pour your entire mixture through it to strain out the milk solids. You should end up with almost as much product as you started out with. There should only be a small amount of milk solids left that can be trashed.

This photo shows a small amount of the milk solids in the Nut Milk Bag that I used -- 
you can just toss these out once you're done.

Voila! Homemade Ghee!

The product in your storage container will be completely liquid -- that's the way it should be. If you want to firm it up a bit, put it in your refrigerator for a few hours -- but long term, there is no need to refrigerate it.

The photo below is actually more translucent/see-through than it appears to be.