Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Mercredi: The Art of Giving

Today's is another gift of condiment and this one comes from by own culture. Or one of them anyway. When speaking of Creoles in Louisiana, the reference is pretty specific. Creoles are the descendants of French people who came to Louisiana – usually New Orleans – directly from France. Though often confused with Cajuns (Acadians who were expelled from modern Canada by the British in the late 17th century and migrated to Louisiana), we are not the same thing. In fact, one will generally bristle at being called the other.

One thing Cajuns and Creoles tend to agree on, with only minor tweaks here and there, is food. Oh sure, Creoles like their tomatoes a little better and dark roux is more of a Cajun thing but very few of us are picky as long as it tastes good. I know for a fact that we all enjoy Creole mustard. Whether we’re adding it to salad dressing, slathering it on a po-boy or using it as a spicy dip, it’s all good. Here is a recipe that I got from my father’s Aunt. I like to give it as a gift as a way to introduce my friends to the flavors of my ancestry. And they usually end up asking for more!

½ cup champagne vinegar
2 tbsps water
2 tbsps olive oil
1/8 tsp celery seed
Pepper to taste
1 clove garlic, sliced
½ tsp salt
½ tsp sugar
¼ cup whole mustard seed
2 tbsps dry mustard

Combine the vinegar (if you don’t have champagne vinegar, white wine vinegar works fine) and the next seven ingredients in a small saucepan. Cover tightly and bring to a rapid boil. When the mixture boils, immediately remove the pan from the heat and allow it to sit, with the lid on, for 40 minutes.

Strain the liquid through cheesecloth. Put the mustard seed and dry mustard into a blender (or a food processor if you have one) and blend for 1 minute. Slowly pour in the liquid and blend until the mixture thickens. Personally, I like to blend the mustard seed and dry mustard and then use a whisk to mix in the liquid. It’s a little more traditional and it’s good for the arm muscles. As you mix, concentrate on the mustard bringing good fortune and protection from harm to anyone who tries your spicy condiment.

Put the mixture into a glass jar (one of those canning jars for jam works well) with a tight lid. The mustard will keep almost indefinitely in the refrigerator and has a million uses. Donner joyeux ~

Header: The house at 628 Dumaine St. in New Orleans, known as Madame John’s Legacy, where my ancestor Renato Beluche was born on Dec 15, 1780


Timmy! said...

Mmmmm... spicy.

Pauline said...

I never met a mustard I didn't like...

Timmy! said...

Not even Colonel Mustard? With the candlestick? In the dining room?