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Erika Kerekes’ American NOT KETCHUP Evolved from the Chinese

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(Gerry Furth-Sides) It was very exciting to look up at a shelf at WHOLE FOODS the other day and see a whole row of Erika Kerekes’ NOT KETCHUP (www.notketchup.com) sauce towering over all the other bottles.  When I wrote the following article on Erika for the Santa Monica Mirror last year, word was getting out it was primarily sold at Santa Monica Seafood.

Erika is a food friend to many so many neighborhood and regional bloggers and neighbors that it would be wonderful to see her successful just  based on her personality alone. A working mom in the area for 20 years, this generous, brilliant Yale University graduate is well known in the food community for her blog, “in Erika’s kitchen” and for starting the first official food blogger organization in Southern California. She’s also been known to open her kitchen and home for a series of Trufflepolooza truffle parties a while back.

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Erika is also featured regularly on KCRW’s Good Food radio show, broadcast out of Santa Monica College, which is nationally syndicated, and she was named Google’s Blogger  of Note in 2010.

Erika describes herself as being a Santa Monica resident and Long Island transplant – and never going back. Her “brilliant husband Michael designed our kitchen for maximum functionality. It is the most usable space in which I’ve ever cooked or entertained. I’m more comfortable in my kitchen than in my bed.

We have an open-door policy when it comes to meals. If I know you, you’re always welcome at our table. If I meet you, I’m likely to invite you over during our first conversation. And If we haven’t met yet, what are you waiting for?”

The story of NOT KETCHUP is also perfect for her close knit family.  When they went on their annual cherry picking pilgrimage to Leona Valley a couple of years ago, her sons, Emory and Weston, went wild, picking 30 pounds of cherries in as many minutes. After Erika made as many tarts, jams, jellies and toppings possible, she still had 15 pounds of cherries left over.

So she made fridges full of homemade condiments. The texture is reminiscent of ketchup, but the flavors are entirely different: chipotle cherry, blueberry white pepper and a smokey date.

The sauces enable a home cook the means to spice up almost any dish from rotisserie chicken, grilled cheese sandwich, burgers and they are perfect for spicy, grilled sausages.

NOT KETCHUP dipping sauces are on local shelves at Bob’s Market, wine Expo, Luna Garcia and Santa Monica Seafood – where the chef also created a dish featuring the blueberry sauce now on their menu and credited. Not Ketchup is  also in Culver City stores .


A moist chicken burger that’s well seasoned, studded with green onions, and served with Blueberry White Pepper Not Ketchup.



1 pound ground chicken

1/2 cup green onions, chopped

1 teaspoon garlic salt

1 Tablespoon olive oil

4 burger buns or rolls

1 cup Blueberry White Pepper Not Ketchup

2 cups baby lettuce mix or arugula



In a large bowl, mix the ground chicken, green onions, and garlic salt with your hands until well combined. Divide the chicken mixture into four equal parts, then shape into four patties.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil, then place the chicken burgers in the pan. Cook about 10 minutes on the first side, then flip and cook until the burgers are cooked all the way through, about 8 minutes more. Put the burgers on a plate, cover with foil, and let rest 5 minutes.

To serve, spread some Blueberry White Pepper Not Ketchup on the bottom half of each bun and place a chicken burger on it. Drizzle with more Not Ketchup, add a handful of lettuce or arugula to each burger, and place the other half of each bun on top. Serve immediately.



Prep time: 5 mins

Cook time: 20 mins

Total time: 25 mins

Yield: 4 servings

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