My sister got me hooked on fancy mustard by buying me a jar of champagne mustard for Christmas a couple years ago. I had had no idea that mustard could taste so good. It was tangy, a little spicy, maybe just a bit sweet. We slathered it on bread, no other toppings necessary. It’s still the best mustard I’ve ever tasted, despite a newfound appreciation for the variety and quality that was possible in mustards. Right now I have four mustards in my fridge – a whole grain version, a smooth French Dijon (this one is sharp!), red chile mustard, and a generic Dijon I use for cooking.
But then my sister took my mustard fixation one step further when she started mixing up her own mustards. While I’d always had some vague idea of the relationship between prepared mustard and the mustard powder I add to my roux for mac and cheese, it had never occurred to me to take it to the next step and make homemade mustard. But the types she was making, flavored with herbs, cognac, or beer, sounded too good to pass up.
The article she led me to had six mustard recipes, and never one to be able to make a decision, I opted to make three of them. Mustard is easy enough that this was reasonable – to make, although it was far too much mustard for us to eat. All of the recipes required several days of soaking mustard powder or seeds in vinegar, but then one just needed to be blended and the other two were cooked briefly over a double boiler.
The thing about making condiments (or anything, really) from scratch is that they really need to be better than a storebought version to justify the effort. On that note, the rosemary thyme mustard was by far my favorite. Not only was the texture just right – thick with fun mustardy bits when you pop the seeds in your mouth – but this was a flavor you don’t often see for sale. The other two mustards I made, which both required an egg and a trip over the double boiler, ended up too thin, but I still loved the sweet flavor of the agave version. The bright yellow beer mustard certainly wasn’t bad, but it had a lot more bite than the others. And if I thought I was fixated on mustards before, that was nothing to how I am now that I know I can make any flavor I want.
One year ago: Scampi fra Diavolo
Two years ago: Chicken Mushroom Spinach Lasagna
Three years ago: Lemon Poppy Seed Waffles
Four years ago: Whole Wheat Pasta with Greens, Beans, Tomatoes, and Garlic Chips
3 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
1 tablespoon brown mustard seeds
3 teaspoons minced fresh thyme, divided
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
1. Stir together the mustard seeds, 2 teaspoons thyme, the rosemary, ⅓ cup water, and the vinegar in a bowl until seeds are submerged. Let sit at room temperature, covered, 2 to 3 days.
2. Put the mustard mixture in a blender along with the brown sugar and salt and blend until mixture is thick but still coarse-textured. Stir in the remaining 1 teaspoon thyme. (Can be made 2 weeks in advance. Cover and refrigerate.)
¼ cup Colman’s dry mustard
½ cup white wine vinegar
¼ cup agave nectar
2 teaspoons canola oil
2 tablespoons black or brown mustard seeds
1 large egg
1 teaspoon salt
2½ teaspoons cornstarch
1. Stir together the dry mustard, vinegar, 2 tablespoons water, and agave nectar in a medium metal bowl until smooth. Chill, covered, overnight.
2. Put the oil and mustard seeds in a small frying pan and heat over medium heat, covered. As soon as the mustard seeds start to pop, about 3 minutes, remove from the heat. Let cool.
3. Bring a medium saucepan filled with 1 inch of water to a simmer. To the mustard-vinegar mixture, add the toasted mustard seeds in oil, the egg, salt, and cornstarch and whisk to blend. Set the bowl over the simmering water and cook, whisking constantly, until the mustard thickens, 3 minutes. (Can be made 2 weeks in advance. Cover and refrigerate.)
¼ cup Colman’s dry mustard
½ cup light-bodied beer
1 teaspoon turmeric
1¼ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cornstarch
½ teaspoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon sugar
1. Whisk together the dry mustard, beer, 2 tablespoons water, and turmeric in a medium metal bowl until smooth. Chill, covered, overnight.
2. Bring a medium saucepan filled with 1 inch water to a simmer. To the bowl of the mustard mixture, add the egg, salt, cornstarch, lemon juice, and sugar; whisk to blend. Set the bowl over the simmering water and cook, whisking constantly, until the mustard just thickens, 4 to 6 minutes. (Can be made 2 weeks in advance. Cover and refrigerate.)
Sadly, I had to punt on the mozzarella I had originally hoped to make this month, because I haven’t figured out where I can get milk that isn’t ultrapasteurized.