This is my fridge. (You can say ‘frigo’ if you want to frenchify it.) From my marriage in 1988 until we bought our first house in 2002, I lived in 11 rented accommodations internationally. Some locations were better than others, and we never lacked for basic requirements, but I always joked, “if we ever buy our own house, we’re having an American fridge.”
There’s something about that vast white enamel; it’s a harbor for magnetic attraction. There’s no better place to display photos of friends and loved ones. You go for your orange juice, you lift them up. You pop in for a beer, they make you smile. It’s time to prepare dinner, and you wish they were at your table. When it’s party time, you’re even asked to make introductions!
When I’m the only one at home, I don’t spend quality time in the kitchen. There’s really no point. But as I eat my way through the backlog, the residue that the emptiness exposes bothers me exceedingly.
Here’s an assortment of jams and whatnot that I pulled out. They’ve been in there too long, nobody’s going to eat them, they MUST GO!
American BBQ sauce
Combine in pot and simmer until onion is tender, 5-10 minutes:
1 C tomato sauce or juice 1 t paprika
4 sliced onions ½ t ground cinnamon
1 or more crushed cloves garlic ½ t ground cloves
2-3 T vinegar ½ t ground ginger
2 T prepared mustard chili powder to taste
1 bay leaf ground black pepper
1 t salt 1 t celery or fennel seed
2-3 T brown sugar 175ml (3/4 C) water or beer
And here’s what happened…
Tomato is an important ingredient—start with it.
I had 2 onions, so I chopped them; and I crushed 4 cloves of garlic, because we love it.
Because we have an unaccountable accumulation of pickle juice, I used that for the vinegar. French mustard—no, not le Grey Poupon—is sold in nice drinking glasses, so I cleaned out one more for this recipe, more than 2 tablespoon, but it’s for a worthy cause.
The spices were easy to find in my stock, although I could be tempted to add Chinese 5-spice or anything else that came to hand….
The liquid can be a past-it’s-sell-by beer or fruit juice instead of water. I had so much pickle juice, it made up for the difference, but I did add a spot of rum for Captain Billy—it does help young Jim-lad sleep so well at night!
Before adding the sugar, I throw in whatever half-eaten jams I happen to find. This lot included homemade apple-butter, Chinese oyster sauce (FF 1350, okay, how old is THAT?!), and unsweetened cranberries—nobody’s jumping to eat it, I assure you. I simmered the whole combination for about 20 minutes, then added the sugar 2 T at-a-time, until it was a delicious balance of sweet & sour.
It’s ready to go into the jars when it’s lovely, thick and bubbly. I recycle glass jars by washing them, then running them through a hot dishwasher cycle. It’s important that they’ve been sterilized, you don’t want to risk 24-hours of intestinal hell from your own carelessness. I’ll go into the details in another episode, but considering how much I did today, it can wait.
The cooling BBQ sauce created its own vacuum seal in those jars. If I wanted to increase their self-life, I’d heat process them. Instead, I know that one jar will make a wonderful homecoming for my skiing Sarah, and the remaining will be consumed in short order. They’ll be fine in the fridge for 6 months.
On Saturday, I’ll tell you about how I make BBQ chicken with my sauce….
I’ve gotta tell you, this job has its perks!
If you’ve got any questions, be sure to let me know.