In these over-processed, over stimulated, disconnected times, I think a little bit of old-school home-grown kitsch can go a long way. But that doesn’t mean it has to be low-brow or boring. I say, infuse your home-grown efforts with a touch of yuppie fanciness.
As I was creating a recent recipe, I found myself doing just that. Yes, I picked a mess-o-greens from the garden and plopped them on a plate, but I also created pecan crusted tempeh and a quick, sweet ketchup and plated it like a fancy restaurant. It’s down home southern cooking paired with NYC high-brow cuisine. It’s got just a touch of pretension in its perfectly stacked and drizzled presentation. But the flavors are satisfying and enjoyable in a way no teeny-tiny California cuisine nibbles could ever be. And that’s what I strive for. The perfection of restaurant presentation with all the organic, just-picked, clean ingredients of home. And yes, I wipe the borders of the plate before I serve. Just call me Martha in yoga pants.
Just to prove it, here’s a little sneak peek at a recipe from my upcoming e-book. A quick little thing I threw together mostly from the husband’s garden. Not quite ketchup. Not really barbecue sauce. Utterly delicious.
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Quick Ketch-ecue Sauce
1 Tablespoon Ghee, Grapeseed Oil or Coconut Oil
4 Cloves garlic, minced
1 Large sweet onion (white or yellow) coarsely chopped
2 Large Tomatoes, coarsely chopped (about 2 heaping cups, local heirlooms if possible–one can dream!)
1 Cup water, divided
3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
1Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar or Organic White Vinegar
2 Teaspoons Blackstrap Molasses
1 Teaspoon Sea Salt (or more, to taste)
2 Teaspoons Chili Powder (your everyday, easy-to-find blend)
1/2 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
Tiny Pinch Cinnamon
Tiny Pinch Ground Cloves
Ground black pepper to taste
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
Heat butter or oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat.
Add garlic and onions and stir frequently until soft and beginning to brown.
Deglaze pan with 1/2 cup water and stir to scrape up any brown bits.
Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and let simmer until well broken down, about 15 minutes. If it seems to be drying out/sticking add more water as you go.
Pour into blender jar and blend until smooth.
Taste, adjust seasoning with more sea salt, more chili powder or vinegar. This is your time to make it yours!
Serve warm or refrigerate for up to 5 days. This is even better the next day, after the flavor
All photos by Noelle Smith