Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Cherry Chipotle Not Ketchup meatball sliders

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I believe I have now managed to work my new Not Ketchup sauces into a full 50 percent of the meals I have served my family in 2014.

On the Sunday morning I made these Cherry Chipotle Not Ketchup meatball sliders, my 15-year-old son's string quartet was rehearsing in the living room. Those poor kids had to smell these delicious meatballs the whole time they were playing Beethoven. When they finished rehearsal they destroyed a large platter of these meatball sliders in mere minutes.

I have a meatball secret (meat loaf, too): I mince a large amount of mushrooms in the food processor, cook them down, let them cool, and mix them in with the ground beef. The mushrooms keep things moist, add fantastic flavor, and keep us all a little healthier. In this version, the earthy background flavor of the mushrooms works particularly well against the sweet, tangy Cherry Chipotle Not Ketchup.

What's Not Ketchup and where can you get it, you ask? Click for answers: http://www.notketchup.com

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Cherry Chipotle Not Ketchup Meatball Sliders
Juicy beef meatballs laced with minced mushrooms take a bath in sweet, tangy Cherry Chipotle Not Ketchup. Serve on a soft dinner roll garnished with chopped green onions.
  • 1 pound mushrooms
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 3/4 cup green onions, chopped, divided
  • 1 slice white or whole wheat bread, broken up into little pieces (use a food processor or your hands)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 bottle Cherry Chipotle Not Ketchup
  • about 24 small soft dinner rolls, like King's Hawaiian
Clean the mushrooms and remove any woody stems. Finely mince the mushrooms in a food processor. Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large skillet. Add the minced mushrooms and cook until they're soft and the water they give off has mostly evaporated. Remove from the heat and let cool.In a large bowl, use your hands to mix together the ground beef, mushrooms, 1/2 cup green onions, bread, salt, and freshly ground pepper to taste until everything is well combined. Form the meat mixture into 3-inch balls. Heat the skillet in which you cooked the mushrooms over a medium-high flame and add the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil. Put the meatballs into the skillet (if you don't have room, do this in batches). Brown the meatballs on all sides until they are crusty and well caramelized.Pour the Cherry Chipotle Not Ketchup into the skillet and turn the meatballs so they are all coated with the sauce. Turn down the heat to medium-low, cover the pan, and cook another 10 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through and the sauce is bubbling and slightly thickened.To serve, place each meatball on a roll, spoon over some of the sauce from the pan, and sprinkle with green onions. Serve immediately.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 8-10 servings

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Not Ketchup on #KitchenParty: How to start a food business

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If you've ever thought about bottling your grandmother's secret recipe spaghetti sauce or selling your famous brownies to stores, you'll want to watch this video.

A few weeks ago I was a guest on BakeSpace.com's #KitchenParty show, where I talked in detail about the process I went through to develop Not Ketchup, my new line of gourmet sauces.

Be forewarned: The video is long and covers a lot of business-side stuff. One thing I've learned over the last few months is that creating the recipes is the manageable part of starting a business like Not Ketchup. It's the other stuff that will drive you up a wall. I'm talking trademarks, logo design, labels, sourcing industrial ingredients, finding vendors, pricing, distribution. It's all possible but requires tremendous attention to detail - not always my strong suit, but I'm learning.

[Click below to watch]

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Smoky Date #NotKetchup turkey burger with arugula salad

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Good news: With the help of Smoky Date Not Ketchup, I finally created a turkey burger I can get excited about.

When it comes to burgers, I'm a beef girl. But I'm getting older and I want to stay healthy, so I'm trying to eat less red meat.

Ground turkey on its own doesn't do much for me. But this turkey burger gets a savory boost from chopped green onions, Dijon mustard and my Not Ketchup sauce. Drizzled with a simple dressing and served on a bed of arugula, this Smoky Date Not Ketchup turkey burger has tons of flavor and won't weigh you down.

We're in our honeymoon phase, Not Ketchup and I. Can't get enough of each other. Thanks for following along as I work like a maniac to get Not Ketchup off the ground and into stores - which, of course, includes a slew of Not Ketchup recipes.

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Smoky Date Not Ketchup Turkey Burgers with Arugula Salad
Moist, flavorful turkey burgers get a savory boost from green onions, Dijon mustard and Smoky Date Not Ketchup, a new gourmet dipping sauce created by food blogger Erika Kerekes. Served on a bed of arugula, this turkey burger satisfies for lunch or dinner without weighing you down.
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 3 Tablespoons Dijon mustard, divided
  • 5 Tablespoons Smoky Date Not Ketchup, divided
  • 1/2 cup green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil
  • 3 cups baby arugula, washed and dried
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
In a bowl, mix together the ground turkey, 2 Tablespoons of Dijon mustard, 3 Tablespoons of Smoky Date Not Ketchup, green onions and salt (wet hands work best). Form the mixture into two large patties about 1 inch thick. Place the flour on a plate and coat the patties on both sides with the flour. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.In a large ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium heat, warm the grapeseed or canola oil. Lay the patties in the pan and cook about 3 minutes on each side, until the turkey burgers are golden brown. Transfer the skillet to the oven for 10 minutes or until the turkey burgers are cooked through.While the turkey burgers are finishing in the oven, whisk together the remaining 1 Tablespoon mustard, 2 Tablespoons Smoky Date Not Ketchup, and olive oil in a small bowl.To serve, divide the arugula evenly between two large plates. Place one turkey burger on top of each bed of arugula, then drizzle the olive oil mixture on top of each burger and salad. Serve immediately.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 2 servings

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Smoky Date #NotKetchup chocolate truffles - make them for your smokin' hot Valentine!

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When you start a food business and make a new food product, you spend a lot of time thinking about ways people might want to use it. Today, as it's so close to Valentine's Day, I woke up thinking about Not Ketchup paired with chocolate.

Here's the great thing about Not Ketchup: Because it's made with fruit like cherries, blueberries, and dates instead of tomatoes, it's a lot more versatile than tomato ketchup. You'd never think of putting traditional tomato ketchup into chocolate truffles. (I wouldn't, anyway. There may be ketchup fans out there who will differ.)

I mixed up a quick batch of chocolate truffles this morning and added a few tablespoons of Smoky Date Not Ketchup to the mixture. When I tasted them later, I was blown away by the combination. The Smoky Date Not Ketchup adds fruit overtones that enhance the dark chocolate perfectly, but here's what I wasn't expecting: The tartness of the vinegar in the Not Ketchup balances the bitterness in a really unusual way. Combine that with the hint of smoke from the smoked paprika in the Not Ketchup and the smoked salt I sprinkled on top and you have one killer chocolate treat.

Make a batch of these for your Valentine and I guarantee you'll like the results - of both the chocolates and your date.

Want to learn more about Not Ketchup, my brand-new line of gourmet sauces? Head over to www.notketchup.com for recipe ideas, nutritional information and online ordering.

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Smoky Date Not Ketchup Chocolate Truffles for Valentine's Day
Smoky Date Not Ketchup adds exotic notes of fruit and smoke to dark chocolate truffles. Made with Not Ketchup, Erika's new line of gourmet sauces.
  • 1 cup good quality semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, divided
  • 2 Tablespoons Smoky Date Not Ketchup
  • smoked salt, for garnish
Put the chocolate chips, butter and 1 Tablespoon cocoa powder in a small bowl. Set the bowl over a small saucepan of simmering water. Stir until melted, then remove from the heat. Stir in the Smoky Date Not Ketchup. Leave the mixture at room temperature for 1 hour to firm up.Sift the remaining 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder into a small bowl. Roll the chocolate mixture into 1-inch balls, using about 1 teaspoon for each truffle. Roll each ball in the cocoa powder, then place on a serving plate or in a small paper candy cup. Sprinkle with a few grains of smoked salt.Serve at room temperature.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 1 dozen 1-inch truffles

Monday, February 3, 2014

Game day chili with Cherry Chipotle Not Ketchup

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Starting a new business like Not Ketchup is hard.

Starting a new business like Not Ketchup when you're also running another business like The Kerekes Group is really hard.

Starting a new business like Not Ketchup when you have another business to run and kids to feed and pay attention to and a husband to feed and pay attention to and laundry to fold and parties to throw and conferences to attend and meetings to lead and....well, you get the idea.

To be clear, I am not complaining. At all. I love my new business, love my work, love my family, love my food blogging colleagues. Everything is going extremely well. I'm just busy and tired.

Which is why I wasn't able to muster up anything fancy for the February meeting of Food Bloggers Los Angeles. The potluck theme was "Chocolate and Champagne." I made chili. Fortunately, my chili has a secret ingredient that kept me within the rules.

And here's a new discovery: A slug of Cherry Chipotle Not Ketchup did great things for this pot of chili. A little sweet, a little smoky, a little spicy, a little acid - it was just the thing. Highly recommend.

[For those of you who missed the news, Not Ketchup is my new line of "ketchups" made with fruit instead of tomatoes. Yes, I know tomatoes are botanically fruits. You know what I mean. Click here to learn more about Not Ketchup and order online if you're so inclined.]

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Game Day Chili with Cherry Chipotle Not Ketchup
A big pot of this slightly spicy chili makes any game day a special event. The two secret ingredients: cocoa powder and Cherry Chipotle Not Ketchup.
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 large yellow onions, diced
  • 2 red bell peppers, diced
  • 1/3 cup chili powder
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 15-ounce cans dark red kidney beans
  • 2 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes in puree
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup Cherry Chipotle Not Ketchup
  • shredded cheese and chopped green onions (for garnish)
In a large pot, brown the ground beef and ground turkey together over medium-high heat until no longer pink. Add the onions and red bell peppers and cook another 5 minutes until the vegetables are starting to wilt.Add the chili powder, cocoa powder, beans, tomatoes, salt, and Cherry Chipotle Not Ketchup to the pot. Bring to a simmer, turn the heat down to low, and cover the pot. Cook 1 hour, or up to 4 hours (the longer it cooks, the better the flavors will develop and meld - just keep checking to make sure it's not getting dry, and if it is, add some water). Serve hot, garnished with shredded cheese and green onions.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 10-12 servings