Last year's batch of Cranberry Rosemary Mustard recipe garnered raves and people have been asking if it'll be returning this Christmas (it is). And yet, and yet, last year's batch fell a little short in the color department. Mind you, no complaints or disparaging words were heard, but the ingredient's dull yellow, darkest red and pine green colors resulted in an indistinct not yellow, but not-pink-either hue. So this year I was wanted to pump up the pink. And this before it was announced that Pink has been named the Color of the Year.
So Pink! But how? I was tempted to dip into my cake decorating supplies and sneak in few dabs of red coloring but resisted. Personally I've no problem with commercial food coloring. The more lurid the the better. But when presenting your gifts of homemade love in a jar and possibly asked if food color has been used, one's stature would rise if conspiratorially admit that yes, you had whipped up a little batch of all-natural beet powder coloring just for the occasion. Jun Belen, culinary adventurer and photographer extraordinaire shares his secret for this on his Jun-Blog. Sadly, I didn't read this post in time for last weekend's mustard marathon.
What I did do is double the amount of dried cranberries — "Craisins" actually, the sweetened ones. And I upped the rosemary to balance it out. So this Cranberry Rosemary Mustard 2010 recipe is rosier and while indisputably a mustard, it's distinctive cranberry and rosemary flavors are more pronounced.
Home taste tests concur this year is an improvement, but I'll tweet out feedback from recipients after the holidays.
A couple of things to note: Don't even think of making this without a sturdy, high-power food processor. Also, we've found NutsOnline to be an excellent source of high-quality, well-priced mustard seeds and other spices and dried fruits sold in larger quantities. Relying on the small jars in the spice racks in the grocery stores would be ruinous.
Combine ingredients in a non-reactive bowl or plastic storage container. Pour in enough vinegar so that the mustard seeds are submerged by a 1/2" of layer of vinegar. (The craisins and rosemary tend to float.)
Now comes the long soak — at least three days but I give it five. Check each day, especially at the beginning, to make sure the seeds stay covered with vinegar. The seeds soak up a lot of liquid so add just enough to cover. After the three days they will have absorbed as much as they're going to, but do check in until your ready for the big mix.
Ladle the marinated mixture into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the sharpest blade. Turn on high and let it fly for ten minutes. After ten minutes you'll have a smooth pink mustard studded with whole or cracked seeds, which is pretty and has a wonderful flavor and texture. If you want smoother, let it whirl longer.
It'll take a few batches in the processor to make all this whole recipe. So empty the mixed mustard into a large bowl as you go. This allows you to give a final stir around mixing each batch, making sure the color is consistent throughout.
Fill prepared jars and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Many recipes for homemade mustard don't call for the BWB, as the mustard-vinegar combo is most inhospitable. Still, better safe than sorry. And the swoosh of opening the vacuum is reassuringly impressive.
Cranberry Rosemary Mustard — a perfect gift-giving recipe for the holidays. And, I might add, one that followers of S.D. and recipients of last year's batch are currently making themselves. Don't get left behind!