mustard and miscellany

A story of love and hate

Review: Jack Daniel’s Hickory Smoke Mustard July 31, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mustard and Miscellany @ 9:33 am
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Haven’t done a review in way too long! Went into the pantry yesterday and randomly selected a mustard:

I bought this about a month ago and hadn’t tried it yet. Popped off the top, stuck my finger in and took a taste. It was GOOD. So good that I stuck aforementioned finger back in for another taste…hey, I’m the only one who eats mustard around here and anyway, isn’t this the kind of stuff that makes living alone so awesome?

At first, I almost got a little hint of bacon, but after tasting it again, the smokiness stood out as a unique flavor of its own. I love the smell and taste of Wright’s Liquid Smoke, and this mustard reminded me of that, in a really good way. It isn’t spicy at all, but is wonderfully flavorful without being overwhelming. Really, really delicious.

So I ate it all day, of course.

First, in the morning mashed up with some hard-boiled eggs. Amazing breakfast.

Doesn’t look like much but tastes so good

Later, mixed with some Fage Greek yogurt as topping for these Mediterranean Chickpea & Spinach Patties that I’m completely obsessed with lately. I normally eat them topped with Greek yogurt mixed with a little garlic salt and dill, but the addition of this mustard today was unbelievably good. I’ll be doing this every time I have these patties from now on.

Finally, as accompaniment for a couple of Smart Dogs. Again, really good.

Some nights, dinner is fancy. This wasn’t one of those nights. Still darn tasty.

I’m looking forward to trying this mustard with some of my usual staples, Johnsonville Polska Kielbasa and Trader Joe’s Sweet Italian Chicken Sausages, but I honestly think the smoky flavor would be great with any sausage or meat imaginable. And as you saw from my day, it is delicious with non-meat items as well.

Oh, and if you are put off at all by the idea of whiskey in your mustard, don’t worry. First, there doesn’t appear to be any actual alcohol in the product – “whiskey flavoring” is listed in the ingredients (obviously if you’re severely allergic or have other concerns, check with the company on this). Secondly, even that “whiskey flavoring” is pretty darn subtle…I absolutely detest whiskey (I came very close to being sick at a whiskey tasting a few years ago for a restaurant job) and didn’t get a hint of it in this mustard. I’m sure it adds to the smokiness, but all I got was deliciousness.

This mustard is definitely worth adding to your mustard repertoire. I don’t remember where I bought it but the price sticker says $3.19 which is very reasonable for a 9 oz. bottle. I think all mustard lovers will find many uses for this! Let me know what you think if you’ve had it before or if you decide to try it!

Cheers,

Stephanie

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Hot Diggity Dog! July 28, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mustard and Miscellany @ 7:05 am
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It’s the last few days of National Hot Dog Month! That’s right, in the United States, July has been designated as the month for celebration of all things hot dog. Seems like a good month for it, as Americans consume 150 million hot dogs on Independence Day alone, enough to stretch from Washington D.C. to Los Angeles more than five times! That statistic comes from the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, and you should absolutely go check out their fun and interactive website. Click on the various buildings in “Hot Dog City” for tons of interesting facts and trivia, recipes, even hot dog eating etiquette!

So as National Hot Dog Month draws to a close, get out there and fire up the grill this weekend. There are so many variations when it comes to toppings, many of them specific to different regions of the United States. I haven’t tried many of them, but I want to try them all. A huge trend where I live is the Sonoran or Mexican Hot Dog. The hot dog is wrapped in bacon and grilled, then served in an oval-shaped roll called a bollilo which serves almost as a bread bowl to hold all the toppings – chopped tomatoes, raw or grilled onions, cheese, green or red chile sauce, pinto beans, mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, and very often garnished with a whole grilled chile pepper. They look pretty amazing. I’m going to try one soon, and when I do, you’ll be the first to know what I think.

Extra napkins a must

Photo credit: UtahCountyMom

I definitely need to try a Chicago Dog at some point – here is a city that believes ketchup has no place on a hot dog and mustard rules! But they also just sound delicious: Steamed dog on a poppy seed bun with yellow mustard, raw onions, pickle relish, sliced tomatoes, a pickle spear, pickled peppers, and celery salt. A restaurant opened recently near my house that is considered to have great, authentic Chicago dogs…I’ll have to head over soon.

I love all the components separately, can’t imagine how good this must be!

Photo credit: kcnapkins

Now, one regional hot dog that I have had is the Coney Dog, which might sound as if it’s from Coney Island, New York but is actually associated with Michigan. My family has Michigan roots, and I have fond childhood memories of enjoying these with my dad. They’re pretty simple – toppings are simply beanless chili, chopped onions, and yellow mustard. Good stuff. I haven’t had one in far too long. There’s a place in my city that serves them – albeit with somewhat varied reviews – might be time to take dad downtown for a Coney Dog.

This picture is literally making my stomach growl

Photo credit: roadfood

Finally, this isn’t a regional hot dog, but a really cool-looking way to spiral cut a hot dog for optimum grilling surface and also because, well, it just looks neat. Click on this and watch it. Seriously, do it – it’s short and worth watching. At the very least, the comments are pretty amusing.

Obviously there are many more regional hot dog styles than the three I chose here, but this post would get ridiculously long if I tried to cover them all. Tell me about them in the comments or email (mustardandmiscellany@gmail.com) – how do YOU serve your hot dog? Cooking method, type of bun, toppings…I’d love to know!

Have a great weekend,

Stephanie

 

Mustard: the condiment of colonialism July 27, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mustard and Miscellany @ 8:17 am
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Schu here — I’ve managed to hijack the blog from Stephanie yet again.

So there’s this board game. You might have heard of it. It’s called Clue. In Clue, you are provided snippets of information to try to solve a murder. Evil, dastardly stuff indeed.

Photo credit: sixwordstochangetheworld

The old murder adage is “the butler did it,” but in my world, it’s always the Colonel.

Colonel Mustard.

Just look at this guy. Pompous, bombastic, arrogant, haughty, smarmy, smug, and whatever other synonym seems appropriate from thesaurus.com. So full of himself. He claims to have a military past, or that of a big game hunter.

Photo credit: sixwordstochangetheworld

And what do military men and big game hunters do for sport? That’s right. They travel to new places. They conquer new places. They destroy the natural habitat.

But in this case, the only casualty is the taste bud.

With all its flavors and incarnations, mustard pretends to be the sophisticated condiment of the taste bud elite; its imperialist namesake wants to be viewed as superior to all others. Even the maid, Miss White, with whom he would probably like to taint through some sort of Mustard and Mayo tryst.

Indeed, mustard is to the condiment world what colonialism is to the real world. A desire to spread its influence into every possible realm, absorb its being and make it its own. This is why there are so many different kinds of mustard. Mustard is not content being just mustard. Mustard must influence the very nature of every plant, seed and substance it can infect.

Sadly, Stephanie has fallen victim to the rhetoric. As she continues her venture into mustard propaganda by reviewing a variety of different hybrid concoctions, just consider how pleasant that expansion really is. Has that spice-laden imperialist mentality really transformed the eating experience in a positive way, or has mustard simply contaminated everything that dares stand in its path?

Colonel Mustard probably killed in every one of these rooms

Photo credit: silysavg

For me the argument is simple and clear. Nothing is better because of the addition of mustard. That’s why there are so many tragic variations.

The sun never sets on the Colonel’s empire, yet I only crave darkness in Mustardville.

Ketchup just wants to peacefully go on your burger and make it taste better.

I long for simplicity. I long for a ketchup world.

Schu

 

Recipe: Dijon Chicken July 25, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mustard and Miscellany @ 8:28 am
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Hey, guess what! I added a printable recipe feature to the blog! I know, I know, someday I’ll be a big grownup professional blog…maybe. But anyway, I kept it nice and simple so as not to waste your paper or color ink if you want to print out the recipes. Just click on the link right before each recipe, it’ll pop up in a separate window, and then scroll to the bottom and click on “print page” – voila, just the recipe, no more having to print my babbling or photos! Hope it helps.

Here is yet another recipe from my mom – I guess we can see why I love mustard…some of my favorite childhood meals included it as a key ingredient! Mom thinks this is from an old Sunset magazine because it’s an actual cut-out from a magazine page pasted onto a recipe card. Wherever it comes from, the magazine prefaced the recipe with this:

“Robert browns the chicken and makes the sauce ahead, then heats them together when guests arrive”

Who is Robert? Where is Robert? Presumably being well prepared when his guests arrive. He sounds like a good husband, or personal chef, or…we’ll never know. Ah, the 70s (cue porn music…and then turn it off – this is a family friendly blog!)

Anyway, this is a super simple recipe that just tastes darn good. Now, I have an admission to make: I don’t like chicken. Now, I’m not saying I hate it. (Although there was an incident when I was 15 with a veiny piece of chicken at a Kentucky Fried Chicken in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico that ultimately sent me into 13 years of vegetarianism…but that’s a whole other story) but I just think it’s so, so BORING. It’s an affordable, healthy source of protein, though, so I keep trying to like it.

So when there is a recipe that makes me not just tolerate chicken, but actually ENJOY it, I’m happy. This is one of those. Like I said, not fancy, just good.

Of course, I’ve made some modifications (I honestly don’t think I’ve ever followed a recipe to the letter in my life). I use chicken tenders – not the breaded, fried tenders that restaurants sell to children, but the chicken breast tenders sold in the frozen food department that look like this:

Picture credit: Foster Farms

Also, at the end of the recipe, I follow the directions to garnish with tomatoes (which I chop roughly instead of wedges)  but then put the lid back on the pan and let everything steam together for a few minutes, which cooks the tomatoes a bit. I also serve this over rice.

Printable Recipe

Dijon Chicken (Feeds 4)

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken breasts, split, skinned, and boned
  • 3 Tbsp. margarine or butter
  • 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • .5 cup light cream
  • 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • Tomato wedges
  • Parsley (optional)

Directions:

  • In large skillet, cook chicken breasts in margarine or butter until tender, about 20 minutes. Remove chicken to warm serving platter. Stir flour into chicken drippings. Add chicken broth and light cream. Cook and stir until mixture thickens and bubbles. Stir in mustard. Add chicken. Cover and heat ten minutes. Garnish with tomato and parsley.

It’s good. I know there are a million mustard chicken recipes out there and this isn’t terribly original and probably won’t be the last I’ll post, but, whatever, I like it. Let me know if you enjoy it!

Cheers,

Stephanie

 

Let’s get the mustard parties started! July 20, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mustard and Miscellany @ 10:04 am
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(Now, of course, I have this song in my head. But I digress.)

Did you know there is National Mustard Museum? You didn’t? Well, you’ve been missing out, especially if you live or travel near Middleton, Wisconsin. And if you get to go there, I’ll be SO ENVIOUS. Because I haven’t been there…yet. The museum features over 5400 mustards from 70 different countries and has exhibits about the history of mustard, according to their own website and this article.  The owner of the museum, Barry Levenson is quoted as saying “I’ve always liked mustard but I’ve gone from having a healthy preoccupation with it to be being totally delusional.” I can’t imagine how that could happen. Not at all.

I suspect I could drop a year’s salary in their shop, and even without visiting I may end up doing so since they sell a ton of mustards and other goodies in their online store. Look at this international sampler:

I know what I’m asking for this Christmas!

Photo credit: National Mustard Museum

But as much as I’d love to visit this museum in general, I’d really love to go for their annual Mustard Festival, which is held in honor of National Mustard Day, the first Saturday of August every year. This looks like so much fun!

Photo credit: National Mustard Museum

They serve up Oscar Mayer hot dogs – with mustard, of course – Klement’s brat sliders, and even mustard flavored frozen custard from Culver’s! I’d love to try that. There will be live music, mustard tastings, games and contests, and even an appearance by the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile

…which, by the way, I have a picture of Schu standing in front of at another location. Photographic proof that he’s a closet mustard lover *insert evil laugh*

His head doesn’t actually look like that…he has a little more hair in real life

Back on topic – if you are anywhere near Middleton, Wisconsin on August 4th, 2012, I think you owe it to yourself to go to this festival. You can learn more by following the Museum on Twitter @MustardMuseum.

However, if you live a little further northwest (and across the border into Canada), you can attend the Great Saskatchewan Mustard Festival in Regina on September 16th, 2012.

Photo credit: GSK Mustard Festival Facebook Page

Who knew Saskatchewan is the world’s largest mustard exporter, with about 2700 producers? Now you and I do! This sounds like a great event, featuring local chefs being judged as they show off their talents using mustard to create unique dishes. Live music, kids’ activities, and hot dog eating contests, all along Wascana Lake – sounds like a perfect day. Learn more about this festival by following @GSKMustardFest on Twitter.

Someday I’ll make it to these events. Not this summer, and I don’t know about next summer, but…someday. A girl has to have her dreams.

Cheers,

Stephanie

 

The one mustard I don’t love July 13, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mustard and Miscellany @ 10:51 pm
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I know, I know – a mustard I don’t love?? This is a blog about how much I love mustard, after all!

But there is one. One I didn’t realize was a mustard until I started this blog. Wasabi.

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say on the subject:

Wasabi (わさび(山葵)?, originally 和佐比; Wasabia japonica or Eutrema japonica),[1] is a member of the Brassicaceae family, which includes cabbageshorseradish, and mustard. It is also called Japanese horseradish[2] although it is not actually from the horseradish species of plants. Its root is used as a condiment and has an extremely strong flavor. Its hotness is more akin to that of a hot mustardthan that of the capsaicin in a chili pepper, producing vapours that stimulate the nasal passages more than the tongue.”

As much as I love mustard, I can’t deal with wasabi. Like, at all. I believe this all stems from one unfortunate incident about 10 years ago.

First off, I have to admit that I don’t have a high tolerance for spicy foods. Which is pathetic because I’ve lived my whole life in an area of the United States with tons of awesome Mexican food and I love it. (More pathetic is the fact that I have lived here forever, took Spanish in high school and college, and barely speak it. I know, I’m literally hanging my head in shame to admit this.) Secondly, I was vegetarian for many of my formative adult years, and therefore had no exposure to sushi. When I started eating things with faces some 10 years ago, I was intimidated by the idea/procedure involving sushi. I was afraid to go to a sushi restaurant in case I hated it or looked foolish by eating it wrong or…I didn’t know exactly I was afraid of because it was all so mysterious.

So, wandering through the grocery store one day, I saw this:

Photo credit: plentifulplants

(I suspect I just lost some “real” foodie readers who clicked off this page in disgust over such an atrocity as grocery store sushi.)

But I looked at it and thought, A-HA! Here is the answer to satisfying my curiosity about sushi…in the privacy of my own home where no one will witness me potentially spitting it out in disgust or making some dreadful sushi etiquette faux pas. So I took it home, put the soy sauce on top, ate a few pieces – pretty good! Picked up some of the little slivered pink things on the side – what are these? – and they tasted pretty good. Picked up the green ball of – what is this? – popped it in my mouth and chomped down…

“The doom bringer”, according to cracked.com. I agree.

Photo credit: cracked.com

…oh the pain. OH THE PAIN. That whole thing Wikipedia said about wasabi stimulating the nasal passages instead of the tongue? My nasal passages were VERY, VERY “stimulated”. My nose and eyes streamed for about 20 minutes and I thought I must have consumed some strange fungus that wasn’t meant to be in the sushi package.

I’ve had wasabi in limited ways since then…very limited. A restaurant where I worked had a seared ahi tuna entree with wasabi mashed potatoes and one of the chefs eventually convinced me to try the potatoes…they were good, just a hint of the “doom bringer” was evident. I’ve also become more sophisticated about sushi. It’s pretty darn yummy, and I have learned some of the etiquette, like dipping the fish side into the soy sauce instead of the rice side.

What are your thoughts on wasabi? Be nice in comments about my naivete LOL…we weren’t all born gourmands.

Cheers,

Stephanie

 

Things that make Schu go “ew”: Part 3

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mustard and Miscellany @ 8:02 am
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Today we have a food that makes Schu shudder…

Photo credit: Urban Farmer

This just blows my mind. Onions aren’t even really a food, per se, they are an essential base of cooking practically everything. Most things I cook start with sauteed onions. They add so much flavor to everything, are cheap, low calorie, and good for you! Last summer I was obsessed with ham sandwiches with caramelized onions (cook the onions in the crockpot  overnight for ease and to wake up to the best-smelling house in the world)…with mustard, of course. When onions are super cheap at the store, I’ll buy a big bag, roast them whole in the oven, and just eat them with a little salt and pepper as a snack or side dish. When I was little, my dad and I would eat raw green onions dipped in salt as a snack.

But no, not for Schu. Now, to be fair, he is fairly reasonable when it comes to his dislike of onions. He prefers his food without onions, but if it is impossible, he works with it as best he can. If an item can be ordered without the onions, he will do so, but if they are an inherent part of the dish, he doesn’t get ridiculous with demands. We eat a LOT of Mexican food and, for example, he will eat the salsa which obviously always has onions in it.  I have seen him eat Mexican rice and leave a pile of tiny, picked out onions behind on the plate. But once I forgot about his hatred of onions and mentioned that I had roasted a bunch of them to eat whole and his face was…classic.

I’ll never understand, though, how anyone could hate a food that is so important in cooking, both as a seasoning and a stand-alone food. Some of the best ways to use them…

Gosh, I haven’t had French onion soup in way too long

Photo credit: TheDailyDish

Yummy onion rings

Photo credit: foodanddrinkbuzz.com

Love caramelized onions on EVERYTHING

Photo caption: ciaoflorentina.com

What they call in Detroit “Coney Dogs” AKA Schu’s nightmare = chili, mustard, and raw onions on a hot dog

Photo credit: homersteinweiss.com

What about all of you out there – onions as an essential cooking ingredient or something to be avoided at all costs? Let me know in the comments!

Cheers,

Stephanie