Thursday, February 11, 2010

Keeping Warm

When the world is glowing pale blue, like it was this morning just before dusk, and the sun rises to a snowy scene of greytones, it's not unusual to be dreaming of ways to introduce warmth.

I keep my coffee cup on the wood burning stove while I'm getting ready for work, to keep my hot drink HOT. The rest of the house is cold, but moments of holding that hot mug, and sipping hot liquid make a big difference. I, and the cats I live with, feel warmer when the stove is glowing orange. If the flames are hidden behind a log, or if the glass panes get covered in soot, we don't feel as warm as we would, even if the stove were emanating the same amount of heat. Psychological, maybe, but real nonetheless.

When it comes to food, there's actual heat (think of hot chocolate or stew), there's vibrant color to both warm us and to ward off scurvy, and then there's spice. Ginger, garlic, and black pepper come to mind immediately, and, if you're anything like me, chilies and paprikas follow closely behind. I also rely heavily on spicy condiments: Indian pickles, chutneys, spiced pumpkin butter. Two that warm your body up right quick (or burn out your nose hairs) and are easy to make are spicy beer mustard, and hot pink horseradish.

Spicy Beer Mustard, which I got from bread & honey, who found the recipe in an old issue of Martha Stewart Living

1/2 c brown mustard seeds
1/4 c yellow mustard seeds
1 c dark beer
1 1/4 c white-wine vinegar
1 c mustard powder, combined with 1 c water (let sit 20 minutes)
2 T sugar
2 t salt
1 t ground allspice
1/4 t ground turmeric
1/4 t ground mace

In a nonreactive container, combine mustard seeds with beer and vinegar. Let sit at least 48 hours. Check periodically to make sure seeds are covered by liquid; add more if necessary.

Transfer seeds and liquid to a blender or food processor. Add remaining ingredients. Process 4 to 6 minutes. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for at least 1 week before to let the flavors develop. The mustard will keep for a month or more. Judging from the the market tasters, people are gaga for good spicy mustard.

Hot Pink Horseradish
Wash and peel horseradish root as you would a potato and dice it into small cubes. Place the cubes in the blender jar. Add a small amount of cold water and crushed ice. Start with enough cold water to completely cover the blades of the blender. Add several crushed ice cubes. Put the cover on the blender before turning the blender on. If necessary, add more water or crushed ice to complete the grinding. When the mixture reaches the desired consistency, add white vinegar. Use 2 to 3 tablespoons of white vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon of salt for each cup of grated horseradish.

The time at which you add the vinegar is important. Vinegar stops the enzymatic action in the ground product and stabilizes the degree of hotness. If you prefer horseradish that is not too hot, add the vinegar immediately. If you like it as hot as can be, wait three minutes before adding the vinegar.

For the gorgeous pink version, simply throw in a chunk of beetroot when blending.

From Global Gourmet.

Mustard photo from bread & honey. Horseradish picture from some eco garden cooking dude blogger who I can't find again. If you recognize it, let us know the source!

1 comment:

  1. Yummy! The mustard recipe sounds delicious. Can't wait to try it!