Crazy for condiments
May 14, 2014
The next big adventure in the kitchen at Chez Brockwell is going to be condiments. Although, being that it is presently 48 degrees outside (in mid-May? Seriously? I had to bring the basil inside!), I might think about something like braised short ribs or beef stew.
But I’m enamored of the notion of condiments, in part due to the fact my Memphis Guinea Pig finally brought back a batch of jars I’d sent home with him over the years with bacon jam and other goodies in them. The other issue was a confluence of three seemingly unrelated things: I bought a smoker box to hold wood chips in the gas grill; the Farmers’ Market has greenhouse tomatoes; and today, the Commercial Appeal published a recipe for Smoked Tomato Jam.
Let me type that again, slowly. Smoked. Tomato. Jam. Are there words on the face of the planet to begin to contemplate how awesome that concept really IS? Would that make a hellacious BLT, or what? And on a burger? Just kill me now.
Essentially, one takes two pounds of tomatoes, cuts them in half, puts them in a pan with olive oil and some sea salt,and smokes them at 250 degrees for a couple of hours. Then one dumps them, juice and all, into a pot with sauteed onion and garlic, sugar and assorted marvelous spices, cooks it until it’s thick, blenders or fo-pros it up, and then jars it. They suggest keeping it in the fridge, but I’d prefer to can mine.
I suspect that may go on my Saturday to-do list, after a Farmers Market trip.
That’s Condiment No. 1. Condiment No. 2 is going to be homemade mustard. My friend who owns the craft brewery, Superior Bathhouse and Distillery, in Hot Springs (Go there. Ask for Rose, Marque or Jimm. Tell them I sent you.) serves a spicy beer mustard that is To Die For. She told me basically all that was in it. I was at the Kountry Kupboard (I detest business places which replace C’s in their names with K’s, but this place has an excellent selection of spices, flours, and specialty items, plus country eggs, so I grit my teeth and go on) and, on a whim picked up mustard seed (both white and brown). I checked the trusty Interwebs to find some idea of proportions (one part vinegar, one part whatever other liquid you want, two parts mustard seeds), and, after I make a liquor store run tomorrow to pick up the appropriate beer, I will set those seeds to soaking and we will then have homemade mustard in a couple of days. Or I may just use the Green Flash double stout I have.
Let’s see. A grilled grass-fed burger with smoked tomato jam and homemade mustard. Yes, I believe I’m seeing a menu plan developing for the weekend, here.
The final condiment I’m planning to make is Comeback Sauce. Now, any Southerners, particularly any Mississippians, among my readership will know from Comeback Sauce. I first had it on the Gulf Coast. It’s sort of a Thousand Island-y type sauce, but spicier and much, much better; good on any variety of fried thing or even a cracker or potato chip. Makes an excellent sandwich spread, too. It has chili sauce and mayo and ketchup and worcestershire sauce and an assortment of spices. If you make it with mayo from the grocery, it’ll last as long in your fridge as mayo does. I’m thinking it’d be primo on a blt. Or a burger. With tomato jam and homemade mustard.
You ‘n y’mama ‘n ‘em come on over Saturday, and I’ll throw you a burger on the grill, too.