There were quite a number of unexpected, life-changing food adventures that occurred as a direct result of our Easter feast this year.
Factor #1: I had been craving shrimp during our Lenten rice-and-beans fast. I wanted to cook shrimp for the first time at some point post-Easter.
Factor #2: We had lots of leftover horseradish from the cream sauce that paired with Nathan’s excellent beef tenderloin. We don’t usually use horseradish in anything. Ever.
So after Easter, I started brainstorming and searching for ideas of what kind of shrimp meals I could attempt, and what in great heavens we could do with leftover horseradish. Of course, in this kind of situation, I turned to Pinterest, my go-to culinary life raft.
After perusing the search results of the terms “shrimp” and “horseradish” individually and coming up with only one or two strong recipe possibilities, I was curious to see what would come up if I entered “shrimp” and “horseradish” together. Not much came about from what I thought was a genius attempt, but I did find one pin that was basically the jackpot, and ironically was one of the most common shrimp dishes I could think of: homemade shrimp cocktail.
The recipe looked simple and easy (which is what I typically look for), with ingredients I basically have on hand. The only problem with the cocktail sauce, was the ketchup. Nathan and I don’t normally buy ketchup (read as: we never buy ketchup), and I was worried that if we bought ketchup for this cocktail sauce, we would be perpetuating the same pickle we were trying to resolve in using up what we had. I brought this up with Nathan. But then, I had a crazy idea.
What if I made the ketchup?
I had the vague feeling that I had heard about making homemade ketchup years ago, but it never really stuck for some reason – probably because I thought, ‘Why would you make ketchup when you can just buy it?’ in addition to the assumption that it was probably tedious or difficult to make.
But I was curious. And for some reason, instead of returning to my semi-faithful Pinterest search bar, I went to Epicurious instead. I never really used Epicurious much, but Nathan told me his dad basically used that website for recipe searches, and his dad’s a really good cook, so I decided to take this opportunity to try it out.
Lo and behold, I came across this recipe, read the ingredient list and steps, and thought, “Oh my goodness. It looks simple and easy!” So I gave it a whirl and my life has never been the same ever since.
The oven roasted shrimp turned out great.
The homemade cocktail sauce with horseradish and homemade ketchup was perfect. Well, close to perfect. I think next time I’ll cut down on some of the sugar.
Oh, and see those mashed potatoes in the pictures? Yeah, that’s some super delicious sour cream horseradish mashed potatoes. Those were a game changer, too. Who knew such things existed? And why hasn’t anyone told me about these beautiful tastes of heaven?
I’ve been telling everyone that you can make your own ketchup and that you should because it’s so crazy easy and so much better (in taste and quality) than the stuff you buy in the grocery store. So if you haven’t been told yet, PLEASE do it. I beg you. Make your own ketchup. You can do it!