For Christmas, I received a cookbook with recipes for over 400 sauces in it. I've been flipping through it ever since, and the rainy, chilly and generally dreary weather today made it seem like a good idea to stay in the kitchen. I'm always looking for new flavors and things I can try out that I may be able to make for the stand as well, so I decided to make a few different mustards today. I made a wonderful, simple, whole grain honey mustard. The only change I may make is to thin it out a bit...it's a bit thick for dipping, but would spread well with a knife. With a bit of tweaking, I'm sure you'll see it at the stand this year!
Next I tried a horseradish mustard. It was everything you would expect it to be: yellow, creamy, with a spicy kick. Not a mild mustard, but it wasn't supposed to be. Another success. I've been very fortunate, in all my canning adventures, there have been small glitches, but never big disasters where I ruined a whole batch of jelly or something.
However, I've found one mustard recipe I just can't seem to succeed with. I bought a small jar of champagne dill mustard a little while ago, and it was fabulous. We could have eaten the whole small jar in one sitting, it was that good. Mild, with hints of vinegar and dill. The ingredients were pretty straightforward, so I tried to duplicate it, just substituting white vinegar for the champagne vinegar, since that is something I just don't have on hand here. It was horrible!!!! So hot, it made me cough and my eyes watered! Now I know that if you leave mustard sit at room temperature, it will mellow out. Since I made this about 3 weeks ago, I tried it again today, and the initial taste was much closer to what I was aiming for, but still finished overpoweringly hot. So I put the lid back on the jar and returned it to the pantry. This new cookbook, which just gave me 2 delicious new recipes, had one for tarragon-champagne mustard. I figured that if I substituted dill for the tarragon, it should be close, as the description was for a mild, herbal mustard, which sounded like what I was aiming for the first time. Again, no champagne vinegar either, but I had some rice wine vinegar, which I find mild and pleasant and close enough to give it a try. (Just ask my husband, unless I'm canning, I'm basically incapable of following a recipe. I'll get about halfway through and then start making substitutions which I think will be better. These almost always do turn out more to my liking than that boring old printed recipe, which of course only encourages me to try such things again!) Well, the first problem with this mustard was that there was so little liquid, I was basically making a paste which threatened to blow up my blender, and that was after I cut the amount of dry mustard in half! So I added a cup of water, which saved the blender and made a nice consistency. It was looking better, until I tasted it. Again, it was hot and bitter enough to take your breath away! So I checked online to make sure that ground mustard and dry mustard powder were the same thing, and all sources seemed to say it is, so that isn't the problem. So again, I put it in a jar, dated the lid, and placed it in the pantry to age. Maybe it is like making champagne or fine wine, it may need to age 6 months or more before it's palatable. Or maybe I really do need to follow a recipe the whole way through and find a place to buy champagne vinegar. Who knew making dill mustard could be this hard?