On the right side of most refrigerators is a wall of condiments: mustards of varying grains, regular and Dijon, with and without honey and horseradish; mayonnaises made with different fat contents, with and without garlic or horseradish; and ketchup.
Over the past month, I have waged a campaign to reduce the condiment crowd. Lots of tuna and substituting of mayo for egg as a glue for coatings from bread to corn flake crumbs. Torpedos of mustard hurled at everything from carrots to chicken, with the carrots and chicken tasting like carrots and chicken with mustard. That left me with one of Heinz’s 57 varieties.
Ketchup originally referred to a fermented fish sauce from southeast Asia. Europeans struggled to duplicate the taste, adding oysters, anchovies, and even mushrooms. It was not until 1812 that an American created tomato ketchup. Unfortunately, the preservatives gave tomato ketchup a bad rap. Along came Henry Heinz. Heinz dumped the preservatives and upped the tomatoes and vinegar, producing a product that is now in 97% of American households.
Wanting to do something with the Heinz besides topping a hot dog, I looked to Mark Bittman for help. If you haven’t discovered Mark Bittman, do so immediately. Bittman, a former New York Times food columnist and noted cookbook author, is the master of simple, creative recipes. At his best he provides a basic recipe along with a matrix of variations. Bittman doesn’t overwhelm with an ingredient list as long as your arm, and he does not frustrate by insisting upon ingredients that you can’t find on your grocery shelf.
This is what Mark Bittman does with his excess ketchup. The result was surprisingly good although I used thinly sliced chicken cutlets rather than the dark meat that the recipe calls for. http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/7878-stir-fried-chicken-with-ketchup