Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Some Like It Hot

...and some, well, some do not. I fall into the latter category at least when it comes to food. Why then am I so intrigued with making my own mustard? Well for one thing... we ran out. Yep, currently mustard-less. Now, while mustard is not something that we put on a lot of the foods we eat, when we do use it, it's generally crucial to the outcome of the dish we're making. Like grilled cheese sandwiches for example. O.K. maybe Chicken Dijon* is a better example. But a smear of spicy mustard inside a grilled cheese can be pretty dang fabulous.
"I'm not headlined in the bills, but I'm the mustard in the salad dressing just the same." [O.Henry, "Cabbages and Kings," 1904]
Also entering into the equation is my ongoing pursuit of saving a buck, learning new things and avoiding excess packaging. Etcetera. As such, I attempted to wade into the shallow end of home mustard making, looking to splash around a little and get my feet wet. Instead, I suddenly found myself pushed into the deep end, street clothes and all. Now, to an experienced swimmer, that might be amusing, but to those more comfortable on terra firma... sheer panic.

It's only mustard, you say? This is only mustard like a habaƱero is only a pepper. Hottest when freshly made, homemade mustards are said to lose much of their heat within the first 24 hours, and steadily decline from there. After my initial tongue-tingling taste, I was kind of counting on that to happen. Hoping, really. Three days later the teensiest bit of this concoction is like a July 4th fireworks finale. I can't even imagine what kind of half-life this stuff has. How long before it mellows enough for me to actually put it on food and consume it?

The power-packed little seeds come in yellow, brown and black. Supposedly yellow is the mildest of the three. If that's truly the case, I don't know if I'll ever venture beyond it. Yellow sends my taste-buds into red-alert. After my initial taste, I put twice again as much honey as the recipe called for, but noticed no difference. It was akin to tossing a thimble-full of water at a bonfire.

Taste and heat are subjective though, and what one person can't handle, there is another who says "bring it on... and make it a double". That person would probably like this mustard. It does have good flavor (under all that fire), so I will play around with it some more. Never give up... never surrender!

So, if you are inclined to try it, check out the recipe here...
*Chicken Dijon recipe posting here soon!
Want even more? Go here for links to more homemade mustards.
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  1. Wow. You should have seen me wiggle around with excitement when I read this. I've never even THOUGHT about making my own mustard. You rock. This rocks.

    And I like stuff so hot it empties out my entire head (although that's probably how I lost half my brains).

  2. Leslie: This may be mild by your standards then! It's really fast and easy to make and it keeps pretty long in the fridge... I say go for it. I gave some to a friend to try and he thought there was horse-radish in it! It's potent stuff to be sure!


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