As we approach full on summer, I am in project mode. Mainly, I have been making sauces.
A few years ago I made the mistake of starting to read labels on jarred food items. I say this is a mistake in jest, obviously. It is great to educate yourself about what you are putting into your body, but, sometimes, when you do this, it means that you often don’t want to buy some of your ex-favorite items and your life can get a little bit harder.
Let’s take sauces, for instance. Things like ketchup, mustard and salad dressings all contain weird ingredients. I follow a couple of simple rules when reading labels: If you can’t pronounce it, if you haven’t heard of it and if it doesn’t sound natural, it isn’t. Why should we eat this artificial stuff? Especially when making your own versions is so much better anyway!
The more you read the labels, the more you come across xanthan gum. What is that, you ask? Even after looking it up, I’m still not quite sure. From what I can gather it is basically an artificially generated material that acts as a thickening agent. Almost every jarred sauce you look up contains xanthan gum. It just sounds gross, so I try to avoid it.
As I said, that is hard to do if you buy bottled anything. So, I decided to go on a sauce making kick recently. There are so many condiments that I like, so I wasn’t sure what to make. My friend, Jamie, and I decided on three sauces: an herbed buttermilk ranch, hot sauce and grainy mustard.
The ranch sounded amazing. It had lots of fresh basil, chives and shallots. In execution, though, the shallot/oniony flavor was over-powering. We decided it was just ok. I wouldn’t make it again, but it was certainly good enough for the lunch salad we ate while cooking.
The hot sauce was amazing. The only reason I am not putting that recipe in here is that it is already on my website: www.dishingjh.com under homemade Sriracha. Make it. You will love it.
And finally, the mustard. I have a friend who makes her own and just for some reason have never done it myself. I wasn’t sure how hard it would be to find mustard seeds. They had them in bulk at Jackson Whole Grocer. And while I looked up a few recipes, I kind of just went for it. I had run out of white vinegar making the hot sauce so looked around at my selection and had malt vinegar. I decided that it would be delicious in mustard.
Making mustard was so easy, I will without question do it again. I think so many variations of this recipe would be delicious. If you like it smooth, you could puree it all the way through. If you love the flavor of garlic, add it; I might do that to my next batch. Red pepper flakes could undoubtedly make a nice spicy addition.
I bought beautiful jars to store my homemade sauces in. I have already given a few out as hostess or thank you gifts and am quite pleased with the results. I am a huge fan of when making these types of things, doubling, or even tripling the recipes. If you give it to friends it won’t go to waste and it stores well anyway.
This mustard would be great on any sandwich, on a hot dog, it would dress up a burger and I just served it on as a side on a cheese plate. Hope you make it. No xanthan gum needed.