If you read my last post about homemade ketchup you might have noticed the little serving bowl filled with mustard in the background. I couldn’t go to all the trouble of making ketchup without trying my hand at mustard, too. After all, I can’t imagine a hot dog, hamburger or sausage without a generous dollop of mustard. Mustard is actually my favourite condiment, a fact that I neglected to mention in my last post. As someone who would opt for savoury over sweet any day, the tingly spiciness of a good mustard really does it for me. Mustard doesn’t just taste good; it excites the palate.
I used Alton Brown’s recipe to make my mustard. After working so hard for hours on the ketchup, this simpler recipe was a delight to make. The only ingredients needed were mustard seeds, mustard powder, turmeric, paprika, garlic powder, sweet pickle juice and cider vinegar as well as some water, salt and brown sugar. I made a few alterations to the recipe simply because I didn’t have a few items on hand. I used dill pickle juice with a little sugar sprinkled in in place of the sweet pickle juice, and swapped in white vinegar in place of cider. I also didn’t have a spice or coffee grinder so I crushed up the whole mustard seeds as best as I could using a mortar and pestle. Those little seeds are hard, though–as you can see from the second photo I didn’t do a very good job at pulverizing them. I also managed to scatter a generous amount on my kitchen floor in the process.
After I mixed all the ingredients together and microwaved them as per the instructions I was shocked to find that the mixture was incredibly watery. What the heck? Not knowing what I had done wrong, I went to the Food Network message board beneath Alton’s recipe. Apparently what I had done wrong–a) failed to fully grind the mustard seeds; and b) use an immersion blender to mix the mustard–was a common mistake and had happened to many others. Thankfully the solution was simple: blend the mustard with the immersion blender for a couple of minutes. I think what this does is help break down the seeds further and allow them to soak up the extra liquid. Sure enough, my mustard took on the right consistency almost immediately. Success! And while I love spicy foods, boy did that mustard have kick!
When I picked up the spring issue of the LCBO’s Food and Drink magazine I was pleased to find a whole section dedicated to mustard. What perfect timing! In amongst the other great recipes that put dijon, honey and grainy mustards to work, I read that yellow mustard makes for a nice dip when mixed with mayonnaise. The perfect accompaniment to homemade soft pretzels.
I, however, decided to stay true to what my palate was craving. Barbecue! Burgers! Spring! Even though we pan-fried the burgs in the end, they still hit the spot, and our homemade condiments made the first meal of spring all the more special. Time to go fill up the propane tank…
Visit this link for Alton Brown’s “Best Mustard Ever” recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/best-mustard-ever-recipe/index.html