Note May 7, 2012. Many of you may have realized my brain fart clearly visible in the photo below - pomme is actually apple, not pear. Oops. I think someone should make pear lambic, though. It sounds great.
Ever since my first dabblings in making mustard a little over a year ago, I have been making all my own mustard.
Except the yellow stuff in a squeezie bottle. I love that too much to ever give it up, and it's so obviously mass-produced that I don't think I could ever match its quirky industrial charms. Plus how cool is a bright yellow squeezie bottle?
The spiffy, grainy stuff, that I make.
Some things like mustard are worth making not because you can't buy a good product (yellow squeezie bottle notwithstanding), but because the pure thrill of making it, and the result, are far greater than the effort required.
Or, to be less long-winded, it's totally cool, dude!
The simplicity of mustard-making always amazes me. As long as you soak the mustard seeds first, you really can't go wrong.
If you don't soak the seeds first, well, it becomes a labor of love, shall we say. A rather traumatic one.
And, in this world of instant, customizable experiences, you can make mustard out of anything you want. (Well, as long as it has mustard in it somewhere.)
Tarragon? Green Pepper? Mint? Paprika?
Of course. Beer makes everything better.
I have used all kinds of beer - light, dark, strong, mild. Usually whatever's left over and lying around. You can, though, be a little more deliberate, a little more specific, about your approach to pairing flavors.
This combination relies on the intense pear flavor and aroma from a fruity Belgian lambic - dry, cidery, tart and robust. Delicate and sharp, thyme pairs well with the pear.
Feel free to take the basic formula and play with it by substituting any of your favorite liquids and herbs - water, wine, juices, any one herb or more or none, different kinds of vinegar.
Feel super-smug about your mad kitchen skills, and revel in the glorious mustardy glow.
Pear Lambic Thyme Mustard.
Makes about 1 1/4 cups.
3/4 cup pear lambic beer
1/4 cup browm mustard seeds
1/4 cup yellow mustard seeds
1 to 2 tablespoons English mustard powder, such as Colman's
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sea salt
You will also need a food processor and a sterilized container to hold the mustard.
Combine the lambic and mustard seeds and soak for 8 to 12 hours.
Stir in the mustard powder and thyme, and let soak for 20 minutes.
Mustard powder looks quite plain but it lends a real kick. Two tablespoons have quite a bite, and if you are unsure about how robust you want your mustard, start with 1 and taste. You can always add more mustard powder later, and it is much more difficult to find tissues as your eyes are watering and your mouth is burning.
Put the soaked seeds, mustard powder and herbs in a food processor with the vinegar and salt. Process until you achieve the graininess you prefer, from a minute or two for chunky mustard, up to about 5 for smoother mustard. Stop the processor to scrape the sides down if necessary.
Store in the refrigerator. Lasts for 6 months.