As many of you know, I moved from Iowa to Florida about two years ago (and moved from Colorado to Iowa about ten years before that). There are things I love about every state I’ve lived in, but one thing that sticks with me is the food. That, and the beer–I’m blessed with a habit of moving to states with really excellent beer options. Each state has its own approach to food, whether that be specialty dishes, portion sizes, food philosophies, or the influences of immigration patterns. Just as each state has shaped me in all other areas of my life, each state’s foodways, and the memories of cooking with friends and family, show up in each dish I prepare. Today, one of my awesome and inspiring library friends posted a photo of some jars of mustard she’s making, and it made me miss Iowa (where I first learned to make mustard). Armed with a Bell’s Midwestern Pale Ale (not from Iowa, I know, but Michigan’s closer than Florida, right?) and one of north Florida’s specialties, Tupelo honey, I went to work.
The result is a hearty whole grain mustard with a great flavor. Using a pale ale rather than a stout keeps the flavor light, and this beer in particular balances well with the rich, floral honey. If you haven’t had Tupelo honey, it’s this delicious, thick, magical concoction that is made with the flowers of Tupelo trees, found in swamps in our area of the country. Tupelo honey is unique to this part of the country (and particularly, this part of the South), but it’s delicious enough that if you can’t get it near you it’s worth ordering online. In the spirit of buying local, my honey comes from Orchard Pond farm right here in Tallahassee (and who, conveniently, have their stellar honey for sale on their website). Make sure to use white distilled vinegar in this recipe to keep the flavors crisp–cider or white wine vinegars will overwhelm the subtle yet oh-so-important undertones of the beer and the honey. This mustard is full of flavor, but still mellow enough to go well alongside just about any food you wish. Best of all, this recipe makes just the right amount to fill a pint jar.
Midwest to Southwest Mustard
1/4 c yellow mustard seeds
1/3 c brown mustard seeds
1/2 c yellow mustard powder
2 1/2 tbsp Tupelo honey
1 c Bell’s Midwestern Pale Ale
2 tbsp white vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp finely ground sea salt
-In a medium saute pan (I used a cast iron skillet), toast the mustard seeds until fragrant.
-Crush the seeds with a mortar and pestle, just enough to open them but not enough to pulverize them (if you don’t have a mortar and pestle, a Ziploc bag and rolling pin might work, although I haven’t tried it)
-Add the seeds to a pint jar along with all the other ingredients (honey, mustard powder, beer, salt, vinegar), and stir to combine.
-Close the lid, and let it sit in the fridge for two days so the seeds can absorb the moisture from the beer and soften.