Sunday Afternoons

February 26, 2012

I’m home alone for a few hours, a stack of work for the week ahead and yet, I can’t help but catch up a few projects I’ve been meaning to put into motion.

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Mustard may be the most used condiment in our house. We love it on just about everything from salad to roasted veggies to steamed greens. We had been buying the standard, Whole Foods-brand dijon and, although it is a fine mustard, I wanted the challenge of making something suited to our tastes. And- I love being able to cross off any item from our grocery list that doesn’t get processed by our own hands- even something as simple as mustard.

At M’s new job the kitchen makes a great, spicy mustard with horseradish. Since ours tends to be so all purpose, I decided to go for something a little softer. I adapted this recipe from Hunter, Angler, Gardener, Cook.

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Instead of using a seed grinder I used a technique borrowed from another mustard recipe that used only seeds and no powder. I soaked the brown mustard seeds over night in water equal to their own volume. This morning it was simple to spread them on a plate and crack the right amount with the back of a spoon. I wanted a fair amount of whole seeds, and the soaking had already started to release some mustard goodness which i could smell as soon as I poured them out. Aside from that, I followed the recipe to the T using mustard powder, apple cider vinegar and adding just a touch of honey, hoping for something very mildly sweet with a spicy edge. It needs to sit for about 12 hours before the flavors mellow, and I can’t wait!

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My second project was a breakfast of champions- some homemade granola! We have been buying granola in bulk at Whole Foods for about $4-$5 a pound, and this thrifty version cost us far less, with bulk oats running about $0.99 a pound.

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My ratio was adapted from an old recipe I’ve used and some others I found on line, ours is made of the following:

5 cups rolled oats
1 cup nuts/seeds
1/2 cup dried fruit
1/4 c milled flax seed
2 T canola oil
1/4 c maple syrup
1 t salt
2 t cinnamon

I made a double batch, tossed everything but the flax and fruit together then baked for about 30 minutes at 350, tossing once and swapping the positions of my two trays so they browned evenly. Then I added the fruit and flax, let it cool and funneled it into glass jars for storage. My nuts were a combination of walnut pieces and sunflower seeds and the fruit were chopped, pitted, California dates.

I saw recipes using up to twice as much sweetener and twice as much dried fruit so, feel free to up the sugar content if it doesn’t meet your tastes- we tend to be a low sugar home around these parts. At the store many granolas have whey powder which, as a vegan, I don’t eat, or honey which, as a vegan, I don’t eat unless its from a local apiary. So making it ourselves opens up the options to craft it to suit our tastes and dietary desires!

If this recipe makes 6 servings- each one has 17 grams of sugar, 18 grams of fiber, 40% of your daily iron requirements, 13 grams of protein and 12% of your daily calcium. Not bad for a breakfast treat!

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And- the most exciting event of my morning was waking up to see this beautiful bubbly friend of mine. My sourdough starter took a little bit longer than Katz suggested but our space is about 10 degrees cooler than he recommends- we’re frugal! I am crossing my fingers that I can make delicious loaves in the next week or so. At this point my starter lives on  the counter and I feed it about a T of flour every day and stir it about twice a day. Once I start baking and it is stabilized it will live in the fridge and only get fed about once a week.

Happy Sunday!

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