Ally


Is it just me or did autumn seem to hit Sacramento overnight? All of the sudden leaves are changing color, stores are stocking Halloween candy (and in some places X-mas goodies) and the air...the air no longer seems to be carrying that smell of late summer nights, hot asphalt and damp green grass. In it's place is a brisk odor tinged with warm spices, crackly leaves and the pungent aroma of burning wood. As long as I can remember, autumn's always been my favorite month. That cool, crispiness has always seemed purifying (and even a bit magical) to me after the heavy, sticky heat of summer.

A few weeks back in anticipation of fall, a few friends and I got together to make some mustards. A few of us were making some in preparation for Oktoberfest, others as gifts for the upcoming holidays and some probably "just because." Our friend Katie had made mustards before and was kind enough to give a tutorial. It turned out to be pretty easy and super delicious. I can't wait to make more...and perhaps pick up some brats or make some homemade pretzels to dip in them next time!


German Whole-Grain Mustard aka "Beer" Mustard
Ingredients

2/3 cup yellow mustard seeds

1/2 cup brown mustard seeds

3/4 cup cider vinegar

3/4 cup dark ale

2 cloves, garlic minced

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons sugar

2 teaspoons allspice

1/2 teaspoon turmeric


Instructions

- In a non-aluminum pot or jar, combine the mustard seeds, vinegar, ale, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, cover and soak for 48 hours, adding additional vinegar and ale (in the correct proportions) if necessary to maintain enough liquid to cover the seeds.

- Scrape the soaked seeds into a food processor. Add the salt, sugar, allspice, and turmeric and process until the mustard turns to a coarse grained but creamy mixture flecked with seeds. This takes 2 to 3 minutes, so be patient.

- Add additional vinegar and ale (in the correct proportions) as necessary to create a nice creamy mustard, keep in mind it will thicken slightly upon standing.

- Giving it time (a week or two) to develop in flavor before presenting it to a friend does make it even better.

- Makes 2 3/4 cups mustard.


Roasted Garlic Mustard (The Mustard Book by Jan Roberts-Dominguez)

Ingredients

3 heads (yes heads, not bulbs) – but we used 4 because we love garlic

1/2 cup dry sherry, plus more as needed

2 tablespoons olive oil

2/3 cup yellow mustard seeds

1/4 cup brown mustard seeds

1 cup cider vinegar

2 teaspoons salt


Instructions

- With a sharp knife or kitchen shears, trim away the pointed stem end from each head of garlic, exposing the bulbs but leaving them intact. Peel excess papery skin from each head, then place the heads in a small, deep-sided baking dish.

- Add the sherry and olive oil, cover the dish tightly and bake in a preheated 225 F oven just until tender, 50 minutes to an hour (the time will vary depending on the size and age of the garlic). Remove from the oven and let the heads cool in the cooking liquid.

- In a non-aluminum pot or jar, combine the mustard seeds and vinegar. Pour the cooking liquid from the baked garlic into a measuring cup and add enough additional sherry to bring the total volume to 1/3 cup. Add this to the mustard and vinegar, cover and let soak in the refrigerator for 48 hours, adding additional vinegar and sherry (in the correct proportions) if necessary to maintain enough liquid to cover the seeds.

- Sometime while the seeds are soaking, finish the garlic preparation. Pry the bulb away from its head, to peel, snip the pointed tip with kitchen shears, make a slice along the flat side, then squeeze the bulb free from the peel. Refrigerate until ready to proceed with the recipe.

- Scrape the soaked seeds into a food processor. Add the peeled, roasted garlic cloves and the salt, and process until the mustard turns from liquid and seeds to a creamy mixture flecked with seeds. This takes 3 to 4 minutes. Add additional vinegar and sherry (in the correct proportions) if needed and process.

- Aging the mustard for several weeks improves the flavor even more.
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