Monday, December 17, 2012

As The Condiments Continue.......

There might be too much of a good thing. Might be. Like mustard seed. I bought 1 pound of yellow, one pound of brown and then another half pound at Whole Foods thinking I'd have enough for a couple batches.

Um. No. I have enough to feed a crowd at Lambeau Field on tailgating day.

So tonight I started Batch Three this time using Newcastle Brown Ale, and some change up in the spice mixture. Before you say "Oh no.......another mustard recipe......" just remember, a few months mellowing in a cupboard and it will be bratwurst on the grill time again !!!

Anyway....... it's kind of a joke at my house that I can take black pepper and an ice cube and make a three course meal- we call that MacGuyer Dinner (get it??  MacGuyver?? never mind........)  So I'm always tweaking recipes and reworking them and trying new combos. Give me a basic beer mustard recipe and I can't leave that alone !!! So therefore, I am calling this one MacGuyer Mustard.

Monica's MacGuyver Mustard

1 12 oz bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale
1 1/2 cups mustard seed- I used half yellow and half brown
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tb salt (I used sea salt, use whatever you have on hand)
1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
1 TB dried minced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1-2 tsp ground dried ghost chile (as much as you dare)
1-2 tsp ground aji limon chile (again, as much as you dare)

** Note: I used the hot peppers grown in my garden, so if these exact kinds are not available you can substitute whatever you want- cayenne, jalapeno, habanero, Penzey's is a great source of peppers

The method is the same, mix all ingredients and allow to sit at room temp for 48 hours to bring out all the flavors. Buzz in the food processor to the consistency you like (I like mine fairly coarse). Then you're ready to jar it up and process in boiling water bath for 15 minutes or store in fridge if you're not a canning kinda person. Mustard lasts in the fridge for a LONG time  without canning.

(Photo of Newcastle Brown Ale is courtesy of

Friday, December 14, 2012

It's a Party !!!!!

Writing my little bitty blog has been a big part of my life the last year or so. And with that goes City Girl, Country Life on Facebook- where it all began !

And now FINALLY !!!!! City Girl has reached that MAGIC NUMBER, a milestone that at one time seemed near-impossible. 2000 Fans !! Yes, today, December 14, 2012, that milestone was achieved !!!

I remember the first 100. Boy, I thought I hit the big time. 100 people were reading my little posts and looking at my pictures !! But as time grew and that number grew, it became 200, then 500, then 1000 !!!

I've had the number go up and down, people leave Facebook or they got tired of my summer filled with canning, or they just got bored and dumped a bunch of pages they didn't pay much attention to. That's ok. That's life- we all do, right ?

Then I started making friends ! Real people- men and women with interests just like mine ! Trading info and recipes and ideas- getting to know people just like we were neighbors. Even the occasional celebrity !!

So here we are today. 2000 fans. Definitely time for a party, but instead of me getting all the gifts, one of YOU loyal followers is going to win, as my way to thank you for your support, your friendship and your incredible ability to help me stay focused on enjoying this blog and Facebook page, and enjoying my friendships with all of you.

What am I giving away ???   How about PRIZES !!!!

And how do you win ? In the comments below tell me who you are and how you found City Girl or Rockin The Kitchen and what keeps you interested and keeps you coming back. That's all. We will draw a random name and announce a winner on the "City Girl,Country Life" Facebook page on Friday, December 21. So simple !!!!!!

So good luck to all of you and have a very happy and safe holiday season !!

Monday, December 10, 2012

She is at is again !!

Sun Dried Tomato Mustard. Just has a nice ring to it, doesn't it ? So.....Tuscan. So cheese platey, pile of olivey (yes, I know I am making these words up). I thought so, so that was my Mustard Project #2.

The ingredients are easy to find, nothing most people wouldn't already have except maybe the quantity of mustard seeds. Mustard powder, vinegar, salt, garlic and dried tomatoes round out the grocery list.

Let's get to it !!

Sun Dried Tomato Mustard

1 cup white vinegar
2/3 cup yellow mustard seeds  (I stuck with the recipe on this one and didn't mix yellow and brown)
1 cup water
2 cups sun dried or dried tomatoes, cut in small pieces (NOT oil packed)
3 TB mustard powder
big pinch of salt
1 tb/clove or so minced garlic.

In glass bowl combine vinegar and mustard seed. Cover and let sit at least overnight until seeds has absorbed all the liquid. I decided to stick with the yellow seeds only because I didn't want to take away from the pretty bits of dried tomatoes in the finished mustard, but by all means, if you want to or have to, mix, please do so.

Add to work bowl of food processor.

Add tomatoes and all ingredients.

Cover and process until thickened and desired consistency. I like the coarse ground mustard texture so I leave quite a bit of visible seed in mine.

Prepare 1/4 pint jars for boiling water bath.  Fill with mustard to 1/4 inch headspace, fix lids and rings and process for 15 minutes.  Remove from canner and let cool.

"So what's the deal with all the mustard?" People keep asking me. I don't know, I like trying new things, I'm not really a Plain Jane kinda cook, I like experimenting and exploring flavors. Mustard is like a wide open canvas and my brain is loaded with ideas. Plus it's yummy on sandwiches !! Makes great additions to gift baskets. Nice to share with my venison sausage sharing friends. Goes GREAT with venison sausage in fact. Nice on a cheese plate. You're only limited by your imaginations and your likes. So give one a try- they are so easy to mix up, buzz in the processor and just a short time in the boiling water bath. I'd even say these are good for beginning canners  !

NOTE:  When choosing the sun dried tomatoes I went with the dry pack or raisiny type, and NOT the oil packed because I planned on processing in a boiling water bath. You should never use oils in home canned foods. HOWEVER, if you are making mustard to refrigerate or freeze and NOT process for shelf stability, it's perfectly ok to use the oil packer tomatoes.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Cutting the mustard

I think I might have found a new "calling", or maybe my niche in the canning world, homemade mustard !! See........this is what happens when you start hanging out with other canners in groups on the internet. This fascinating group of people love to chat and share recipes. And ideas. And somewhere along the line the subject of mustard came up

I can't do anything without researching it like crazy, and research it I did. Found loads of recipes- regular yellow hot dog mustard, grainy spicy mustard, German, French, wine, beer and endless variations of all of them.

Basically, all mustard begins with the same basic foundation: mustard seed and liquid. Sometimes the seed is ground into powder first and sometimes the seeds are soaked a day or two to plump up, soften and infuse flavor. Using a combination of ingredients my first homemade mustard came out amazing and one of the easiest things I have ever made. I'm sure before long the gardener in me is going to want to grow my own mustard just for the seed.

So my recipe..... super easy, super delicious. A little sweet and hot and I can't wait to try it on a freshly grilled bratwurst !! What I love so much about this recipe is the flexibility. This is only the first of many batches I'll be making with many different beers. 


1 12 oz bottle of beer (for this recipe I used Sam Adams Cream Stout)
1 1/2 cups mustard seed- I used half yellow and half brown
1 cup red wine vinegar
1 tb salt (I used sea salt, use whatever you have on hand)
1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
1/4 tsp each ground allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.

Combine all ingredients in a glass bowl.

Cover and let rest 24-48 hours. 

The seeds will swell and plump and soak up all that beer and spice yumminess.

Turn ingredients into work bowl of food processor.

Process until mixture is thickened and the level of graininess you like. 

Prepare canning jars (I used 1/4 pint jars) and lids for boiling water bath canning. Fill each jar with 1/4 inch head space. Process for 15 minutes. Mustard should age for a couple weeks to really let the flavors meld and bloom. From this recipe I got 10 jars. much as I want winter to finally arrive at our little lake, I can't wait for the first grilled bratwurst in the spring, slathered with this amazing mustard !!!  I hope you guys try it out- it's delicious !!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Comfort Food Memories

This morning I was invited to share a food memory and recipe on another Facebook food page. I have lots of wonderful memories of food with my family, many amazing dinners, in or out, and lots and lots of recipes I will never be able to recover because my grandmother took them with her to Heaven.

But in this case, I felt the best choice was my mother's pancakes. She was a simple German housewife, with the most basic of cooking ability to feed a family. Having grown up during and after WWII she lived in true poverty, sometimes surviving for a year off bags of dehydrated vegetables the Allies provided. I never saw her ever eat a sweet potato after living off them as a child. Same with corn. 

Anyway, I am going to share with you the post I shared with "Della Rose Living" on Facebook- My Mother's Pancakes

One of my favorite food memories is one that's come up a couple times this past week in various recipes and while there isn't a real "recipe" written down anywhere, it's easy enough to duplicate. My mother grew up very poor in post-war Germany and they had very little to eat. Meat once a week poor. Her mother made pancakes and later my mother made them for us (because for one thing she didn't know what "American " pancakes were)  and I loved them as a kid, my kids loved them then they were little- they would sometimes go to Gramma's house after school (when they were in high school) and ask her to make pancakes. Since I'm not a maple syrup fan much these are perfect- a little heavier than a crepe but not "cakey" like American pancakes and they don't soak up all the syrup. So, my late mother's amazing pancakes (amounts approximately)

2 cups flour
2 eggs
milk (enough to make a pourable batter like white sauce/gravy)

Cooked just like regular pancakes, served with butter and syrup, this is THE comfort food for me. Now that she's gone when I really am having a crap day and need a hug from my mom, I'll make pancakes........and remember her.