I really do love the holiday season. I think it is easier to love in the last five or so years since Dave and I decided to get out of the STUFF cycle– no more stress of finding the exact perfect thing for someone who already has everything s/he wants or needs; no more shocking credit bills in January; no more frantic trips to overcrowded shops, no more pretending to love something you know will get thrown straight into the trash bin. But I do love the spirit of giving, and so I have managed to find a happy balance for myself by focusing on homemade gifts. Nothing is more fun (to me) than starting lemons and vodka in July in anticipation of bottling limoncello in December for my friends. Last year I made this, to rave reviews, and the mustard I am sharing with you now was also such a big hit last year I had to make it again.
Sadly, I don’t have any pictures to share of the mustard (computer issue, I won’t bore you with the details). So instead I will share a photo of Robyn and I and the fun we have been having this season, and you will just have to trust me that this mustard is really, really good. Slather it on pork or chicken and roast away. Or add it to a grilled ham and cheese sandwich, or serve with crackers and an kind of cheese. Once you see how easy it is to make your own fresh mustard, you might never want to buy the supermarket stuff again.
Whole-Grain Mustard with Roasted Garlic and Maple
Yields about 8 cups
2 1/4 cups whole yellow mustard seeds (see Tip)
3/4 cup whole brown mustard seeds (see Tip)
2 1/2 cups cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups water, plus more as needed
1 head garlic
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons salt
Combine yellow and brown mustard seeds, vinegar and 1 1/2 cups water in a large bowl; cover and let stand at room temperature until the liquid is mostly absorbed, at least 6 hours (or up to 24 hours).
About an hour before you’re ready to make mustard, preheat oven to 400°F. Rub off the excess papery skin from garlic without separating the cloves. Slice the tip off the head, exposing the cloves. Place the garlic on a piece of foil, drizzle with oil and wrap into a package. Place the package directly on the oven rack and roast until the garlic is very soft, 40 minutes to 1 hour.
When the garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze half of the cloves out of their skins into a blender. Add half of the mustard seed mixture and pulse, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary and adding water by the tablespoon as needed to facilitate the blending, until some of the seeds are coarsely chopped and the mixture looks like grainy mustard. Transfer to a large bowl. Repeat with the remaining roasted garlic and mustard mixture and add to the bowl. Stir in maple syrup and salt.
Spoon the mustard into airtight containers and refrigerate.