If you like mustard, you seriously have to try making your own. It’s so much better than the jarred kind and it couldn’t be easier. Our Homemade Maple Mustard is a little sweet, a little spicy and tastes incredibly fresh.
Yeah, I get it. The idea of homemade mustard is just a little bit precious. Bordering on the dreaded ‘artisanal’ label that plagues lovers of real, unpretentious food … but hear me out because this stuff is awesome and I really, really want you to make it.
The truth is, I think most things taste better homemade. Sure, jarred mustard can be good and I use it most of the time but for something really special (like a crazy-beautiful charcuterie board or a holiday ham), why not serve it with a condiment as special as the main dish? We knew we wanted to make Red Onion Jam with Wine, Honey and Thyme but we also wanted something spicy that would be good with charcuterie. And besides, I think there’s something cool and homesteader-ey about making something so inherently useful.
Sweet, savory and just plain delicious, Red Onion Jam with Wine, Honey and Thyme is a perfect addition to any cheese or charcuterie board.
Caramelized red onions are tasty in their own right, but simmered in a sweet/spicy mix of red wine, honey and herbs, they turn into a the most delicious preserves ever. We made our jam (along with Homemade Maple Mustard!) to accompany our charcuterie board, but we have big plans for the leftovers. Click the link below for ideas (and the recipe!)
Ramps, a seasonal treat in the Northeast US, are in danger of being over-harvested. Since they are very slow to cultivate and difficult to farm, foraging is still the main way to find them. A wild ramp patch can be quickly overrun and destroyed. The most sustainable way to harvest ramps, if you find them yourself, is to cut only one leaf of each plant, leaving the bulb and second leaf to continue growing. This is least impactful on the soil, the plant, and the colony as a whole. We’ve adapted the recipe below to use only the ramp leaves, and you’ll find ramps in this form from sustainable vendors.
“Ahem,” [Taps mic, looks around nervously]. “It all started around ’98. ’99. It was like they were giving it away, you know? We just thought, ‘hey, these are pretty good!’. We didn’t understand. We didn’t know what would happen.” [Squares shoulders, takes deep breath]. “My name is Emily, and I am addicted to ramps.”
This is me at the farmer’s market during ramp season:
I feel a tiny bit bad about evangelizing a vegetable that can be very hard to find but this was just too good not to share. Making ramp butter, along with pickling, is one of the best ways to preserve ramps so you can enjoy them all year round.
Your basic ramp, Allium tricoccum, is a North American species of wild onion that grow across eastern Canada and the eastern United States. (The European/Asian variety is allium ursinum.) I know that doesn’t sound very exciting but they have a unique oniony-garlicky flavor that, if you like that kind of thing, is really fantastic. They are also notoriously difficult to cultivate and their growing season is very short, so they are a true delicacy. That means crazy people (me), will travel far and wide to find them, so if you’re lucky enough to have them in your region, don’t expect to saunter over to the farmer’s market at noon and expect to find any left (because I got there at 7 and bought them all).
Guys, I’m seriously worried that I might actually be living in a Portlandia sketch. Sometimes I watch it, and I laugh and laugh and then look around nervously to see if anyone is giving me the “um, that’s you” side-eye. I think it was the Battlestar Galactica episode that hit a little too close to home.
Nerd aside: some of you may remember my little black cat, Special Ed. Oh how I loved that boy. So Special Ed, being much adored, had about a hundred nicknames (mostly having to do with the fact that he was a skinny, scrawny, wee little gentleman). So during the height of my BSG obsession, his name became “Edward James ALMOST” (another fave was “Roger PALTRY”). Still makes me laugh.
If you haven’t seen Portlandia, you’re probably wondering what the bleedin’ hell I’m on about, but one of their sketches is about people who pickle everything (a dropped ice cream cone, a used band-aid, a broken high-heel). Well, stop laughing immediately because pickles are delicious!