Thursday, December 26, 2013

My Aunt Bess

Aunt Bess (right) with her sister (Aunt) Kate

Everyone has an Aunt Bess. Or should have one. Or at the very least, an Aunt Maude. You know, the one from whom you inherit things. Cool things usually, but not things that you really know quite what to do with.

Well, my Aunt Bess left a recipe for homemade mustard which is hard to beat. My dad loved it. Even as a kid, I loved it. And now that it is the season for salmon with mustard sauce, or crab with mustard-mayonnaise dressing, or even roast beef with mustard-horseradish sauce, it's time to share her wisdom with a wider audience.

I looked up my copy of the recipe but somehow I was doubtful that a mustard recipe would call for flour, so I double-checked with my mom. Turns out I was wrong: many mustard recipes - especially those including beer - call for either flour or cornstarch.

This annotated version comes directly from Aunt Bess, via my mom:

Aunt Bess's Mustard (original recipe from Bess)

6 level Tbs Coleman's dry mustard
6 level Tbs flour
6 level Tbs sugar
6 Tbs herb vinegar* (about)
1 level tsp turmeric
1 tsp dry mixed herbs

Mix dry ingredients together and add herb vinegar. You may need a little more. Place in jar and refrigerate overnight to blend. Keeps forever in fridge.

Herb vinegar:

1 quart white vinegar
1 tsp dry mixed herbs

Heat to boiling and allow to cool. One whole clove garlic may be put in also if desired.

If I remember correctly, she did not use Italian seasoning herbs - more like French herbs - tarragon, parsley, etc. types. I used plain white vinegar once without the herbs and boiling, etc. and it wasn't nearly as good. Likewise, only Coleman's mustard has the right flavor.

Enjoy. And Happy New Year!

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Very Last of the Last-Ones-on-the-Vine

Photo taken on December 5, 2013 

Given just how cold my tootsies have been this past week, it's pretty apparent that our lovely, long drawn-out Indian summer is finally over. Dang. And no rain in the forecast, either.

Anything that is going to keep growing this winter will just have to be happy tucked in under those row covers.

Purple Viking potatoes harvested on December 10, 2013

So who likes freezing? The Top Hat blueberry went all pink in the cold weather.

Photo taken on December 14, 2013