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Homemade condiments?  Seriously?  Why bother making homemade mustard when there are several perfectly adequate mustards on the grocery store shelf?  My quick answer is, ‘why not.’  Alright, that response, alone, may not convince you.  How about this– I generally believe that almost anything homemade from fresh ingredients is better.  I like to know where my food comes from, and when I make it from whole ingredients, I get that piece of mind.  But there’s another aspect to making food– even condiments– from scratch.  I love the process.  I enjoy working with each individual ingredient, watching them all combine into something wonderful.  In the end I feel like I’ve accomplished something.  It’s calming– therapeutic even.

Like many of you, I’m a bit embarassed by the shelves of my refrigerator door– stuffed with old half-full condiment jars that rarely get called into action.  (How many versions of Louisianna Hot Sauce does one need?!)  While clearing out some of those forgotten toppings, I decided to add a few of my own– these two jars of mustard and one of homemade ketchup (stay tuned for a post on that one.)  Mustard is so much more versatile than many people realize.  And this grainy mustard version is marvelous.  Aside from the typical burger/hotdog summer fare, it makes for magnificent turkey or ham sandwiches, works well in vinaigrettes,  and– at least if you ask my daughter Aria– is best suited for dipping pretzels.  This weekend I plan to grill wild salmon and add a teaspoon of fresh thyme to the white wine vinegar mustard for a topping.  Very exciting!

I made two variations of mustard, though you can certainly customize your own.  The first was a basic mustard, which I think I enjoyed just a tad more.  The second, the ‘brewhouse’ version, featured a fairly robust dark beer as a central ingredient.  Both were delicious.  Other possible additions to the basic recipe include:  tarragon (1 T, fresh), rosemary (1 tsp, fresh), tomato paste (1 T), honey (2 T), molasses (1 T), balsamic vinegar (1-2 T), cayenne pepper (1/4 tsp), roasted garlic (2-3 cloves, mashed), peach (1/4 cup fresh puree), chili (1 tsp, minced), and mango (1/4 cup fresh puree).  One thing to keep in mind though, if you add any of the above, your mustard won’t keep as long– probably about a week.

The Recipe: Homemade Grainy Mustard

Makes 1 1/2 cups

Basic Grainy Mustard

1/4 cup yellow mustard seeds

1/4 cup brown mustard seeds

1/2 cup water  (red wine can also be used)

1/2 cup white wine vinegar (or any vinegar with at least 5% acidity)

pinch of salt

(Note:  A Port Wine Mustard can also be made by substituting 1/2 cup tawny or ruby port for the water or red wine.)

Brewhouse Mustard

1/4 cup yellow mustard seeds

1/4 cup brown mustard seeds

1/2 cup sherry vinegar (or any vinegar with at least 5% acidity, such as malt)

1/2 cup strong flavored beer (such as a porter, stout, dark or amber ale)

pinch of salt

Put all of the ingredients into a jar with a tight fitting lid.  Give it a good shake and let it rest for about 2 days. This will allow the mustard seeds to become soft.  After the 2 days,  pour the mixture into a blender or a mini food processor.  Blend it to your desired consistency. If it appears to be too thick you may need to add a bit of water.  Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.  You’ll never achieve a completely smooth mustard from this mixture.  Return the mustard to the jar and store in the refrigerator or a cool, dark place for several months.  The mustard will mellow and thicken a bit over time.  Enjoy!

Source:  Adapted from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian

Thanks for stopping in for a visit!

Laurie

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