Sunday, January 6, 2013

Homemade Honey Mustard

What food trends are you forecasting in 2013?  What's gonna be the next kale?  Will kale continue to be the next kale?  I sure enjoyed a kale Caesar salad at Balena a few months ago.  What do you want to see less of this year?  Kale?  Can cupcakes and doughnuts really keep up their pace, or will they end up like the pizza and burger joint explosion of 2010 and 2011, with one on every corner?  Are small plates still popular or do diners finally want their own plate?  Will restaurants continue to list which farms their produce and meat comes from for 97% of the menu?  Can I actually forage locally for my own food like some dude in Scandinavia?  Will the Chicago health department and the city's politicians finally get their heads out of the holes in their asses and find a way to allow and regulate cooking on mobile food trucks?  And finally, has the complimentary bread basket really gone the way of the pay phone?? 

Here's what I'm thinking.  2013 on the Chinese calendar might be the year of the snake, but it will really be the year of the chicken.  I remember a few years ago this little joint on Broadway showed up specializing in the bird, Crisp is a Korean fried chicken restaurant that is jammed anytime they are open.  A new steakhouse in town (Mastro's proved in 2010 there is still not enough seared cow in this town) is Bavette's Bar and Boeuf, from Brendan Sodikoff, who started Gilt Bar, Maude's Liquor Bar, and Au Cheval.  The most popular dish on that menu is the fried chicken.  In Chicago.  Yet we're the meat-and-potatoes town.  Stockyards, bubbly creek and all thatPecking Order is now open in Wrigleyville, and you might need something to distract you from the Cubs until about 2015 or so.  Leghorn is obviously a chicken-focused establishment coming from the Van Camp people and Old Town Social Club, NellcoteHoney Butter Fried Chicken is soon to open in my old hood, right next door to someone I've known and loved for a long time.  Even Stephanie Izard of Top Chef fame is getting on the chicken craze, rumored to be opening another place dedicated to the bird.  She and her group just opened The Little Goat, a few years after her smashing (and always packed) debut The Girl and the Goat.

Now back in the day when I was a bachelor, I had no problems with an occasional unhealthy eating habit- baking most pieces out of the box of Banquet frozen fried chicken.  I thought it was better than Popeye's, and they don't have the tastier Brown's in my neighborhood.  With a box of frozen fried chicken in my freezer, next to some frozen White Castles, I had plenty of options whether dining at 8PM or 3AM. 

Chicken stock.  It's one of those foods that you can buy at the store, but are so much better when you make at home.  What else is on that list?  Applesauce.  Croutons.  Salad Dressing.  FriesPizza doughDill PicklesMayonnaise BurgersPizza sauceColeslaw.  And honey mustard.  

Some of this honey mustard was deliciously used to coat some seasoned chicken thighs, sprinkled with panko breadcrumbs, and baked in the oven for a quick weeknight meal, served with a salad and a gratin that went something like this.  You could do the same thing with a pork tenderloin, that would be yummy.  The rest of it will last for many months in the fridge, ready to be slathered on a sammich, turned into a salad dressing, or simply served on its own with some cheese and summer sausage.  I like to keep an assortment of used, clean jars on hand for storing stuff like this recipe, pickles, chili, etc. 

Homemade Honey Mustard
makes about one cup

6 TB mustard seeds
1/2 C mustard powder
3 TB cider vinegar
1/4 C cold dry white wine
1/4 C cold water
2 ts kosher salt
3.5 TB honey

Crush the mustard seeds with a mortar and pestle or in a spice grinder.  You don't have to reduce to a powder, but you do want to crack up most of them.  Whisk all ingredients in a bowl and then pour into a airtight jar and stash in the fridge for 2 days, to allow the flavors to mellow and the mixture to thicken.  It will look runny when first made, but will thicken up after a couple days.  You'll be tempted to taste it right away, but don't do it- like that pizza right out of the oven or the ice sheet as soon as the Zamboni doors shut- let it set up.  Keeps for up to 6 months in the fridge, but you'll use it before then.  Need somewhere to procure mustard seeds

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