Put a Little Mustard on that Blog!!

Mustard in rameken and spread on white cheddar and wheat cracker on cutting board

Since my earliest cognitive days, I recall being thoroughly taken by that damn Grey Poupon commercial. The rich, creamy texture … the enticing flecks of spicy black heat … the pompous regality of name and label.

Yep, then and there – as a wide-eyed culinary toddler – I simply knew: I REALLY freaking wanted a Rolls Royce and pretentious British accent so damn bad!! It would be mine, I thought to myself…

Rolls Royces passing Grey Poupon

…oh yes, it WOULD be mine.

Life, it appears, can be a cruel, cruel jokester… *shrug*

Two fat rednecks next to car up on blocks

…what ya gonna do…

Still, as we have all learned in the midst of the bleak intellectual apocalypse brought down upon us by the Kardashians and Snookis of the world, with a little self-absorption and an absence of self-awareness, you too can pretend to be valuable and relevant … and I can show you how – right from the comfort of your own home!!

No longer will you hang your head in lowly shame when confronted by that ‘rich-guy-gray’ Rolls, fully stocked with sandwich fixings yet woefully ill-equipped with condiments. Nay, my friends. The next time Thurston Howell reaches his money-counting hand YOUR way in search of blue chip investment advice and flavor-infusing handouts…

Thurston Howell fron Gilligan's Island

Wait … what did I ever do to you?

…you can scoff at the notion of a bourgeois store bought mustard while instructing your driver to hand him this recipe instead.

Benito Mussolini in arrogant pose with nose in the air

Remember, nose up! Proper scoffing requires a very clear nasal passage. This guy “nose” what I’m talkin’ about… HA!!!

Yes, relish this moment, my friends … for it mayo just be your finest.

Sous Chef Cooper laughing maniacally

I see what you did there. HAAAAAAAAAAAA!! God, stop your wicked word sorcery, you’re killing me.”

honey mustard seeds dry mustard powder kosher salt thyme herbs

Honey Herbal Spicy Mustard

1 cup cold filtered water
1/2 cup dry yellow mustard powder
4 Tbsp yellow mustard seed
2 Tbsp brown mustard seeds

3/4 cup + 1 Tbsp cider vinegar
0.2 oz (by weight) fresh herbs

1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 tsp kosher salt
1/3 cup honey
1/4 tsp turmeric powder

In a medium glass bowl, combine the mustard powder, mustard seeds and cold water. You’re going to set this aside and let it soak for a couple hours, stirring it up occasionally. I can’t stress this enough – you want the water cold when you add it. The colder, the better…

Giant iceberg

TOO COLD … don’t be a jackass.

See, here’s the thing: there’s a lot of crazy-ass scientific logic for this but the bottom line is that mustard in its raw form doesn’t have any heat. The heat and pungency come from chemical reactions that take place when the compounds in mustard are exposed to cold. Using hot water will strip away much of this heat – and once it’s gone, much like the whimsy of youth, you ain’t getting it back. On the flip side, if you retain the heat through the process, then you can always reduce it down the road by exposing it to heat at any point. Keep this in mind when deciding whether to cook with this mustard versus adding it after the fact.

Mustard seeds soaking

While the seeds and powder are soaking, place your vinegar and herbs in a small covered pot. Bring to a boil then remove from heat and set it aside to steep. Once it’s cooled a bit, you can run it through a strainer and *BOOM* you’ve just made your own herbal vinegar. You can use any herb mixture you wish and it’s always fun to experiment, but I try to stay away from the more pungent herbs (e.g., the heavy hitters like sage, oregano and basil) because they can really overwhelm everything else. For mine, I chose English thyme (LONDON 2012, baby!!), sweet marjoram, winter savory and a 1″ sprig of rosemary. I might have gone with some tarragon too, if it weren’t such a demanding little diva of an herb and if I weren’t doing this in the dead of summer.

Once your mustard seeds have softened – that is, when you can squish them against the edge of the bowl with some ease – puree the mixture, along with the infused vinegar, in a blender until it reaches your preferred smoothness. It may take a couple minutes and it’s always a good idea to stop a few times and stir it up with a spatula to get all of it down into the blades.

Back into the glass bowl, add in the chopped herb, turmeric, salt and honey. Stir and allow to sit for another couple hours to mellow at room temperature. Check occasionally to gauge the heat and refrigerate once it reaches a level you like. Remember, the flavors will not fully meld for 24 hours or so. At this point, you are just testing for heat before refrigerating – not overall flavor.

It’s not a bad idea to bottle a bit for year-round use since it does make a decent sized batch. If you’d rather keep it simple, it will last months in the fridge, as long as you keep it adequately covered.

Pair a dish of this mustard with a platter of stoned wheat crackers and sharp aged cheddar – and maybe a few apple wedges – and your friends will look up to you with the fanciest of fancy admiration.

mustard in rameken with spreader stoned weat crackers and aged sharp white cheddar cheese on cutting board

Spread on a hot, fresh pretzel and they will spend the rest of their lives chasing your condimentatory (it’s a word now, shut up) prowess … but don’t worry, they will never ketchup.

Sous Chef Cooper laughing maniacally

KETCHUP!! *snort*


The Awakening

When the fine, skilled and unfathomably attractive (if you are unfamiliar with Stockholm Syndrome – SEND HELP) wardens of my past first unshackled me from my familiar shadowy bonds, handed me a laptop and thrust me into the light of day, my first reaction was a somewhat indignant, “and what the heck took you so long?” Ok, yes, I’m proud…but it’s not exactly something I’m proud of.

Granted, the shackles were figurative and the light of day idiomatic but I could not deny the vastness of potential quite literally at my fingertips.

In the stoic style of warrior poets before me, I couldn’t help but think, “if the pen is mightier than the sword, then surely the self-indulgent blog is mightier than the finest damascus steel.” As one who thrives on sharing my own experiences every bit as much as I live to learn from those of others, the possibilities are truly beyond limit.

Still, true damascus steel… To this day, I’ve never owned a damascus knife…and it IS the holiday season (German-forged…with 8″ European-style, laser-etched 22-degree cutting blade…and a sweet “SB” monogram…oh my god, I’d look SO hot…)…

Damascus steel chef knife

$1,695.00 at Williams-Sonoma...I'm sort of already registered.........I Love You.

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So… Who IS This ‘Sauce Boss’ Character, Anyway?

As with any epic mystery (humor us here), when a definitive answer to an enigmatic question fails to readily present itself, one must turn to the time-tested process of elimination.

What we can tell you is who The Sauce Boss is not: he did not shoot J.R. and our research verifies he did not kill Laura Palmer. To our British brethren still in search of the Stig, we can offer no answers… The Sauce Boss has never toasted Poe and, despite the rumors, he is definitely NOT The Batman. We can even confirm that he was never sent to prison by a military tribunal for a crime he didn’t commit and was never a “guest” at theBastille, despite sharing fashion sensibilities with one of its most famous and infamous former residents.

Artist’s Rendering:

Who SB is NOT

Left to Right: three people The Sauce Boss has no relation to... Sorry.

That said, The Sauce Boss is a flawed perfectionist, a solitary amalgamation…a contradiction in the truest sense of the word. But then, isn’t that precisely what lies at the heart of every aspiring cook – an internal need to master the universal skills, delicately balanced with a reckless compulsion to recombine the infinite palate of flavors into something new, something that puts their own small mark on the culinary pantheon?

“Boss” is driven by one delightfully rhetorical question: do those who eat merely for sustenance ever fully appreciate the vastness of experience they leave on the proverbial table? It is said that man cannot live by bread alone but, more important, why on earth would he want to? If a phenomenal meal breathes life not only into an event but into the people attending then should every dish not be infused with a passion and sense of edible adventure that honors both the chef and the ones served?

The Sauce Boss believes that food need not be the stable, innocuous bedrock on which we build pedestrian memories and bland conversation. Food can (indeed, often should) be seismic shifting ground that brings strangers together, forges unlikely friendships and makes folk heroes out of culinary mortals.

…Obviously, The Sauce Boss can be a bit of a drama queen and for that we apologize.

Still, his obsession is lovable, his perspective unique, his wit somewhat skewed and his abuse of ellipses rampant…and with that in mind, we make our introduction…

Sauce Boss, the World… The World, Sauce Boss…