Homemade mustard – easy to make and suited to you!

Mustard is one of those amazing condiments that can be switched up and adapted to your personal tastes and favorite flavors. Maybe you like a sweet honey mustard. Maybe you prefer a spicy pepper or horseradish. Maybe you’d rather have a milder, herby mustard. Well, all of them are super easy to make — and these are all delicious variations of a similar recipe.

I adapted Local Kitchen’s recipe for Roasted Garlic and Lemon Mustard, only I substituted garlic smoked over pecan wood chips instead of roasted garlic. Then I realized that the recipe could also be adapted to be spicier — with smoked jalapenos — and milder — with dill and extra lemon. All three versions were amazing!

Smoked Garlic and Lemon Mustard

(also see variations below for Smoked Jalapeno Mustard and Dill-Lemon Mustard)

  • 4 heads of garlic
  • 1 cup mustard seeds (dark or yellow, or a mix of both)
  • 1 1/2-2 cups white wine
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup good honey
  • juice from 2 lemons
  • kosher salt
  • olive oil, salt and pepper, for smoking the garlic
  • mustard powder and/ or garlic powder

First, either the night before or a few hours before, place 1 cup of mustard seeds in a jar or glass and cover with white wine  — at least a cup. After just a couple of hours (it’s actually surprisingly fast), the mustard seeds will absorb the wine, soften, and puff up a little. The longer you let the seeds marinate, the more flavor you will infuse, but honestly a couple of hours does the trick just fine.

I set the seeds to marinate, waited about an hour, then smoked the garlic and jalapenos. I clean the garlic heads and peel off the outermost papery layer, then sprinkle salt and pepper and drizzle a little olive oil on each head. Then wrap loosely in foil (you do want the smoke to get in there) and smoke over soaked wood chips at 150-200 degrees for about 2 hours, give or take 20 minutes. I smoked my garlic heads at the same time as a boneless turkey breast, and they were ready at almost exactly the same time.

Once the garlic is cool enough to handle with your clean, bare hands, the cloves will pop out very easily and will be deliciously fragrant and a little soft and gooey.

If you think I didn’t stuff one of these into my face standing there at my kitchen counter, you are sorely mistaken.

This mustard I wanted to be fairly grainy and chunky, so instead of pureeing the marinated seeds and garlic in a food processor like the Local Kitchen guru did, I left half of the seeds whole (but softened) and the other half, I ground by hand with a mortar and pestle. 

Then all of the garlic and mustard went into a pot on the stove, where I added the lemon juice and honey, and then (SLOWLY) added vinegar and wine until it was at the desired consistency. You might not need all of the vinegar and wine specified above, so pour it slowly — remember you can always add more, but once you add it, you can’t take it away. Make it a little thinner than you want the final product to be, because it will thicken upon cooling.

At this point, you want to taste the mustard, and if necessary, add more mustard powder or more garlic powder to even out the flavors and make it how you like it. Once it’s perfect, ladle it into hot, sterilized jars and seal in a water bath for 20 minutes. The total yield was two 8-oz. jars and nine 4-oz jars. Not bad!

* Smoked Jalapeno Mustard: Substitute jalapenos for garlic — smoke them in the same fashion, and chop the finished peppers very finely. Remember the heat is in the seeds and the ribs inside of the jalapeno, so if you scrape them out, you will get the smoky and peppery flavor without the heat.

I diced three jalapenos and scraped the seeds out of two of them, so mine was perhaps a 4 on a scale of 1-10. You can keep in all of the seeds and have a nice spicy mustard. Also, for this variation, I totally pureed the jalapenos and the mustard seeds instead of hand-grinding them; and I used apple cider vinegar instead of white vinegar.

* Dill-Lemon Mustard: Add 1/2 cup of dried dill (or 1/4 cup of fresh, chopped dill) to the mustard seeds as they are soaking in wine, and add an extra cup of lemon juice to the total. It’s very mild (compared to the other two) and it tastes fresh and citrusy!

Advertisements

Plum Crazy Part II — “Kitchen Sink” Recipes: Christmas Chutney and Smoky Plum BBQ Sauce

Some of my best dishes haven’t been recipes at all… they’ve been what my Grandma Verla calls “kitchen sink” recipes, as in that you use everything but the kitchen sink, and use up that half-bag of whatnot in the cupboard and the half-cup of what-have-you in the fridge.

It's all about knowing what tastes good together. You don't have to be a chef, you just have to love food.

I was planning already to take some of my friend’s plums and smoke them in my smoker to make a nice BBQ sauce. After smoking a few kinds of meat this past weekend, over wild apple wood chips (mixed with a handful of chips made from the oak barrels they make Tabasco in), there was only an hour or so to smoke the plums, but I know they got some of that delicious woody flavor.

The beginnings of BBQ sauce.

I also added some fresh and non-smoked plums, as well as some smoked garlic and smoked jalapeno. It all went into a big pot with oranges, orange juice, dried and chopped figs, a shot or so of brandy, a cup of my neighbor’s homemade margharita hot sauce, apple cider vinegar, some chili-lime flavored finising salts, candied ginger, shallot and garlic oil, tomato paste, a bay leaf, allspice, a dash of cinnamon, and various peppery spices. I let it simmer for hours and I am so glad … it has a delicious, sweet and peppery flavor, and a citrusy aftertaste.

I also tweaked a delicious spiced plum chutney recipe: swapping the demerara sugar for half white and half brown sugar, plus I added raisins and some candied ginger for extra spiciness. This is so easy to cook, and like the best recipes, is born out of what you have lying around. It smells amazing while it’s cooking, and you can see as the cooking progresses how wonderfully the ingredients work together.

The before photo:

"Before"

As it’s cooking:

"During"

And the finished product. So yummy.

"After"

It’s lovely and tastes amazing on some pork tenderloin and chicken. I learned also that chutneys are best when they ave been allowed to sit and ferment for a few months. I can’t wait to break this out again for the holidays!

** Note: After this post was made live, it was brought to my attention that my altering of the chutney recipe (adding raisins and ginger) might have altered the acid levels in the chutney. I used a pressure canner to seal the jars of BBQ sauce and chutney in this post. Just to be on the safe side, if you alter the recipe like I did, I would recommend that you seal the jars in a pressure canner instead of a water bath.

Plum Crazy, Part I — I still have all these oranges

I am lucky enough to live in San Diego, and to have a lot of friends with fruit trees. Really, most things grow well around here if you try hard enough, but even a tree that is neglected most of the year can yield some great fruit. Most of them yield more fruit than any one person knows what the heck to do with, but that’s a perfect time to experiment!

Fresh from the tree!

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I now own a really cool smoker that has already proven its worth in smoking garlic, jalapenos, pork tenderloin, chicken, sausage and steak. I’m also a sucker for a good sauce. My first idea is for a smoky plum barbeque sauce, building on what I recently learned about smoking garlic. I’m also leaning towards something that isn’t jam — I’d hate to become predictable — and I found an amazingly good-looking recipe for a Christmasy plum chutney. I learned that chutney is best if you seal it and then let it sit for a few months, so this is a perfect summer recipe to be holiday gifts later. 

The first bag of plums had been picked a couple of days before, and were given to me late last night. It became clear that these would have to be made into something immediately, and that most were fully ripe, if not borderline mushy.  This calls for a liquor emergency! Brandy and large mason jars, stat!

And, let’s face it, I still have a ton of oranges from another friend’s tree. I sliced about 5 oranges, peel and all, and removed the peel totally from another 8 or 9 oranges. This jam will need to have a little bitter flavor to offset the plum and spices. I prepped the oranges (i.e., sliced them, covered them in water) and let them sit overnight.

The next day … the oranges have been sitting at room temperature for 24 hours. I open up this huge bag of gorgeous plums. Ok, first things first. I have to triage the plums into the too-far-gone for use (to the garbage bag — sorry fellas); the cutting board to have pits and blemishes removed, then the good parts scrapped for jam; and the ready mason jars for the intact and pretty ones.

First, for the brandied plums. Equal parts brandy and sugar (I started with 4 cups each and that was only enough for two large jars), and only fill the jars about halfway with plums so they all can freely move around in there. That was easy … and these will be EXCELLENT in a couple of months!

The syrup is equal parts sugar and brandy.

Next, the jam. I prepared these oranges the same way I did in the citrus jelly post, so that I won’t have to add a tonnage of extra (and unneeded) sugar or storebought pectin. After bringing the oranges to a boil and letting them simmer for about 45 minutes, I strained the liquid through a jelly bag, and used the liquid – equal parts liquid to sugar. Then I added it to a pot of already-softening chunks of plum, fresh orange slices, and cinnamon. It doesn’t look like much, but it makes the house smell like Christmas. 🙂

Check back for the next post! With the next sack of plums I get, I plan to make chutney and barbeque sauce.