Monday, March 10, 2014

Shallot and Thyme Grainy Mustard

When I put off grocery shopping for a little too long my fridge starts to look like it belongs to a homesteading frat boy hippie. All that's left is a variety of homemade condiments. Instead of neon green relish ya got your wild curry kraut, Lemon Tahini dressing stands in for the Hidden Valley Ranch, and in place of the plastic squeeze bottle of impossibly yellow mustard there's a jar of this wonderfully flavorful grainy mustard. It does its duty in sandwiches but it also works wonders mixed with maple syrup or honey and used as a salad dressing or as a glaze for roasted root veggies. Plus, it has beer in it which means that you should probably enjoy a cold one while whipping this up. 

This recipe uses equal parts brown and yellow mustard seeds. Brown seeds are spicy, so if you want a milder mustard use more (or even all) yellow seeds. Just make sure you're still using a total of 1/2 cup of seeds. Oh, and the pictures here are of a quadruple batch (I have lots mustard lovers in my life), the recipe below will yield roughly a cup.

What you need:
1/2 cup good ale
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup yellow mustard seeds
1/4 cup brown mustard seeds
2 tablespoons minced shallot
1 teaspoon fresh time, chopped
Sea salt to taste

In a large glass or ceramic (aka nonreactive) bowl combine everything and let it soak overnight in the fridge or a cool spot outside. The seeds will soak up the liquid and swell quite a bit.

After soaking for about 12 hours blend it all up in a food processor or blender. This could a take a while so be patient. Depending on your kitchen gadget, you might want to give it a couple breaks between blending sessions. Also, this mustard is GRAINY so don't expect to get all the seeds to break down. What you're aiming for is a fluffy pureed consistency sprinkled with intact seeds. Transfer to a glass jar and keep in the fridge. It will last at least 3 months stored this way.

If you want to try this mustard out in a salad, here's a tasty one I made last night for dinner. The recipe is slightly adapted from Isa Chandra Moskowitz's new book Isa Does It. It's kinda a lot of work for a salad, but if you're not in a hurry a high maintenance salad can be fun.

Mustard Note: I reduced the mustard to 3 tablespoons, because homemade mustard has a stronger flavor than store bought (though it does mellow out over time).

Ingredients for Salad:
4 small yellow beets, peeled
6 ounces spinach or baby arugula
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced (I didn't use a whole onion)
3 tablespoons grainy mustard
2 tablespoons maple syrup (I used a local honey instead)
dash of water

Ingredients for Tempeh Croutons:
8 ounces tempeh, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup tamari
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons liquid smoke
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (I forgot to add that)

The first step is to roast the beets, since they will take the longest. Wrap them up in some foil and roast in the oven at 425 degress F for about an hour. Remove from the oven and let them cool before slicing.

While the beets do their thing, combine the tempeh in a bowl with all the marinade ingredients. Let this sit for 30 minutes.

Since the beets are still probably in the oven, prepare the salad greens and the onion. Then make a cup of tea or go get the mail or write a letter or something. Don't rush roasting root veggies, they will reward your patience with their deliciousness.

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat with a couple tablespoons of oil. Fry the tempeh cubes until nicely browned and splash with some of the leftover marinade for extra flavor.

Heat up the mustard and maple syrup or honey in a microwave or on the stove. Add a little water if it looks too thick for a salad dressing. Pour it over the greens and toss. The warmth of the mustard dressing will slightly wilt the greens. Top with the sliced beets, tempeh croutons and onion slices.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

anybody home?

Apologies for being away so long. Hi, how have you been? It's nice to see you again.

A lot's been going on in my neck of the woods. My boyfriend's job finally wrapped up in Chicago and now he's (finally!) back here with me and our families in the PNW.

I myself have two new jobs that keep me surrounded with books and commercially obsolete printing machinery. I'm still amazed/thrilled/grateful that I found employment locally that's related to my weirdo MFA.

I bought my very own letterpress. A Chandler and Price built in 1895, she's a real beauty.

And other than that I've just been hanging out with friends and family, walking in the woods, talking to my cats, reading, and making stuff that I intend to post about but instead I just go to the movies. Ok, well Happy New Year, um I mean happy Almost Spring! Expect a couple of recipe posts soon....