Thursday, December 23, 2010

Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice

We've been on technology detox around here.  I've been avoiding the computer for pretty much every reason - limited media consumption, no work, no pictures, etc. It's been all cooking and reading and going to the movies and out to eat. And there's been more time to make stuff.

As I mentioned the "I don't do Gift Guides" post, we try to give consumable gifts.  In the past I've made chocolates or treat packs or we've given local food items that share our regional flair.  I had the idea for this year's gift last year and it became a joint effort for me and the husband.

We gave Sugar & Spice gifts - aka vanilla sugar and homemade spicy mustard.

The vanilla sugar is fairly easy to make.  You just need granulated sugar, vanilla pods and a food processor.   Scrape the beans out of the pod with the back of a knife and add them to sugar in the processor and pulse until well distributed.  I used about a pod per 1.5 cups of sugar.  I then added a half of the empty pod the to sugar container when you package them up.

The longer it sits the more infused the vanilla flavor becomes.  We packaged these in clip-top canning type jars but any well sealed container would do.  Vanilla sugar is great on cereal, fruit, toast or in coffee.

The second part of the gift was a spicy mustard.  These were packaged in small ceramic jars with sealed lids.  I used red and white bakers twine around the top edge for decoration and to attach a small wooden spoon.

This makes a good spicy deli-style mustard but is very simple to make.  The recipe comes from The Mustard Cookbook by Sally & Martin Stone.

You need:

- 1/4 cup white or brown whole mustard seeds (we used a mix of both)
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/4 dry red wine
- 1/2 cup dry mustard (mustard powder)
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground allspice
- 2 Tbl cold water

To prepare you add the whole mustard seeds to the wine vinegar and the wine in a small bowl and let stand for 3+ hours.

Pour the seeds, wine and wine vinegar into a blender or food processor (we used a blender) fitted with a steel blade.  Process with several pulses until the seeds are bruised and broken.  Add the dry mustard, salt, allspice and water and process for 30 seconds.  Scrape down the sides and process for 30 more seconds.

Transfer the mixture to a sealed container and let stand at least 12 hours before using.

Yields about 1.5 cups

Store the mustard in the fridge and enjoy with pretzels, on a yummy veggie sandwich or saute some green beans.  We may even try to play with the recipe and some agave nectar to make a honey-mustard style version.  If it works out I'll share that too.

Happy Holidays!


Anonymous said...

love the jars ! are they avaiable online?

Sara said...

love the mustard jars! are they available online?

Poochie said...


We bought them at World Market - here you go:


Sara Spicer Heath said...

Thanks! I enjoy reading your blog. H-N-Y. Sara