Nearly every year, we give away some sort of hand-made food product for the holidays. In the past, we've given jams, chutneys and pasta sauce. This year, we decided to take on the holy trinity of American condiments: Ketchup, mustard and relish. After all, why pay less than two dollars in the grocery store for what you can make at nearly equivalent cost plus hours of back-breaking labor?
Why? Because we can. Because there is more to this delicious life than the flavors served to us by the major food manufacturers. And because when you take the most basic things back into your own hands, you can apply your own stamp to them.
The genesis for this project was when I saw Sarah waxing rhapsodic on Twitter about a maple black pepper ketchup she made, the recipe for which she then shared at my behest (and which I of course had to tinker with). Meanwhile, we've been meaning to make mustard for some time now. What's left? Why, relish of course, and we had just made up a big batch of delicious sweet yellow squash pickles from a cookbook given to us by the lovely Amy. It's a small step to go from sweet pickles to sweet pickle relish. We availed ourselves of the final harvest of summer squash and set to work. (Sidenote: I tried, oh how I tried, to find locally harvested mustard seed, but evidently the much-vaunted mustard of Napa county is mainly for show. The seeds I got came from San Francisco Herb Co. So, that makes them locally sourced, right?)
And so the plan was hatched: Classic American flavors, each with a twist — Maple bourbon ketchup, tarragon Dijon mustard and sweet yellow squash relish. Sorry, hot dogs not included.
Maple Bourbon Ketchup
Adapted from Cafe Mama
26 oz tomato purée
1/2 c. maple syrup
1 tsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp bourbon
1 tsp black peppercorns
7-8 cardamom pods
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1/4 c. cider vinegar
1 tsp fish sauce
Bring tomato purée, syrup, bourbon and salt to simmer. Wrap peppercorns, cardamom and coriander in cheesecloth and add to tomatoes. Simmer for a few hours, stirring frequently to avoid scorching, until it darkens, thickens and is reduced by about 1/3. Add vinegar and fish sauce, and stir to combine. Refrigerate or can as desired.
Sweet Yellow Squash Relish
Adapted from A Love Affair with Southern Cooking: Recipes and Recollections by Jean Anderson
3 to 3.5 lbs yellow squash, sliced to 1/4" discs
4 to 4.5 lbs yellow onions, thinly sliced
1/2 c. kosher salt
3/5 c. sugar
2 c. white distilled vinegar
2 c. cider vinegar
2 tsp mustard seed
1-3/4 tsp celery seeds
1-3/4 tsp ground turmeric
1 packet pectin
Layer the squash and onions, salting each layer with kosher salt, in a large nonreactive bowl. Let stand in sink for 3 hours. Drain the squash and onions, transfer to a large colander and rinse well under cold water. Place a bowl over the vegetables, and add a couple cans of tomatoes or whatever you have on hand to weigh the bowl down to squeeze out as much of the water as possible.
Bring the sugar, vinegars, mustard and celery seed and turmeric to a rolling boil in a large nonreactive stockpot or Dutch oven. Add the squash and onion. Bring back to the boil, stirring gently. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Transfer the pickles in batches to a food processor, and pulse until broken down to a fine, even consistency.
Return the processed relish to a pan and bring back to a boil. Add the pectin and stir until completely dissolved. Remove from heat, and refrigerate or can as desired.
Tarragon Dijon mustard
Adapted from Emeril Lagasse
1 c. yellow mustard seed
1 c. brown mustard seed
1-2/3 c. crisp white wine, like sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio
1-2/3 c. white wine vinegar
4 shallots, minced
several sprigs tarragon, chopped
salt and pepper
Combine all ingredients in a large nonreactive bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight. The mustard seeds will swell and absorb the liquid. Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor and blend until the desired smoothness; if you want a very smooth mixture, let the mixture stand longer in the fridge prior to processing, to soften the mustard seeds more. Refrigerate or can as desired.