Homemade Holiday Gifts — Spicy Brown Mustard with Oatmeal Stout and Home-brewed Worcestershire Sauce
When I was a youngster, Christmas time was a highlight of the year and boy, was it special. Once you realized it was looming out there, mere weeks away, it seems that the clock slowed to a snail’s pace and you thought it would never get there. It always did.
It wasn’t long before I realized that the magic of St. Nicholas was a spirit that we were responsible for keeping alive. If one is not careful and gets caught up in the buy, buy, buy pressure, the season can be very stressful. Been there, done that and it’s not worth it. Besides, if your extended family grew like mine, you could go nuts and bankrupt buying and wrapping something for everyone.
We had some very dear neighbors in Baltimore with a large Catholic family. Their family photo looked like a school portrait. John and Joan Moag had six children of their own and, of course, an impressive number of grandchildren. None of the Moag family exchanged gifts. Instead, they pooled their money with checks from the adults and piggy bank savings from the kids and always came up with enough cash to fund a 1 year scholarship at a private middle school for inner city boys that had the aptitude and desire for a quality education but were without the ability to pay for it . I have always been impressed by that act of generosity.
We’re in the season of giving and loving and you can give a lot of love without spending a fortune. Make something for the special people in your life. As the Pillsbury Doughboy used to sing, “Nothin’ says lovin’ like something from the oven.” Fresh-baked cookies and breads are perennial favorites, but there are many edible gifts that don’t require cooking.
Recently I came across recipes for homemade Worcestershire sauce and a Spicy Guinness Stout Mustard. Mustards and Worcestershire sauce are always on hand in our house but I couldn’t resist the idea of making my own. This mustard is fiery and capable however it mellows as it ages. Both recipes recommend storing in the refrigerator with a shelf life of 6 months for the mustard and up to 8 months for the Worcestershire sauce.
Use your ingenuity for packaging with individuality. If you live near a Container Store, you will find so much to choose from.
Spicy Brown Mustard with Ninkasi Oatis Oatmeal Stout
Adapted from a Saveur recipe
Original recipe called for Guinness Stout. I used Oatis Oatmeal Stout from Ninkasi Brewery in Eugene Oregon. My next batch will use Oatmeal Ellie from Seven Brides Brewery in Silverton Oregon.
- 12 oz. (355 ml.) Oatis Oatmeal Stout, Oatmeal Ellie or a brew of your choice
- 1 1/2 cup (360 ml.) brown mustard seeds
- 1 cup (240 ml.) red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml.) kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml.) fresh ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 ml.) ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 ml.) ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 ml.) freshly ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 ml.) ground allspice
- Mix all ingredients together in a glass container and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to steep at room temperature for 1-2 days until the mustard seeds soften and all the flavors come together.
- Add the mixture to the bowl of a food processor and process. Stop occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Continue processing until the seeds are coarsely ground and the mixture begins to thicken. This should take about 3 minutes.
- Transfer the mustard to clean jars with lids. Seal and refrigerate for up to six months. It will mellow with age.
Makes 3 1/2 cups (840 ml.)
From the Ninkasi Brewmaster:
Oatis Oatmeal Stout
Dark, complex and delicious, a strong, flavorful Oatmeal stout.
Enough hops to balance the large amounts of dark and roasted malts,
with the addition of oatmeal creating a creamy smooth drinkability
7.5% alc/vol. 45 IBUs.
Homemade Worcestershire Sauce
Adapted from a Saveur recipe
This is definitely not your grandma’s Worcestershire. This one’s got it’s own teeth. It boldly goes where Lea & Perrins never ventured.
- 2 cups (480 ml.) distilled white vinegar
- 1/2 cup (120 ml.) molasses
- 1/2 cup (120 ml.) soy sauce
- 1/4 cup (60 ml.) tamarind concentrate paste*
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml.) yellow mustard seeds
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml.) kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml.) whole black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml.) whole cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml.) curry powder
- 5 cardamom pods, smashed
- 4 chiles de arbol, chopped **
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 1 inch (2.54 cm.) stick cinnamon
- 1 anchovy, chopped
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 1/2 inch (1.25 cm.) piece ginger, peeled and crushed
- 1/2 cup (120 ml.) sugar
- Place all ingredients except the sugar in a 2-quart (2-lt.) saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.
- While the other ingredients are simmering, cook the sugar in a pan over medium-high heat until it becomes dark amber and syrupy, about 5 minutes or so.
- Add the caramelized sugar to the rest of the ingredients and whisk to combine. Be prepared for a strong reaction when you add the sugar – be cautious. Whisk to combine and continue cooking for about 5 minutes.
- Transfer all to a glass container with a tight-fitting lid.
- Cool, cover and refrigerate for 3 weeks. Strain to remove solids. Put in glass bottles and refrigerate for up to 8 months. After straining, I placed remaining liquid and solids in some cheese cloth to coax out all the remaining sauce.
* I found the tamarind paste at LifeSource Natural Foods in Salem. Look for it in Asian stores as well.
** The chiles de arbol should also be at Asian stores.
Makes about 2 cups (480 ml.)
About the Author (Author Profile)
Music, food and photography are at the center of Charles’ life. He performed with the Dallas Symphony, Dallas Opera and was assistant principal bassoonist with the Fort Worth Symphony for more than 20 years. When Charles and Victor moved to Baltimore, Charles created Lone Star Personal Chef and Catering Service and taught cooking classes at Williams-Sonoma. Now in Salem, Charles is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Mountain West Real Estate, taught cooking classes for children at the A.C. Gilbert Discovery Village, and owns and operates Charles Price Photography. Charles and Vic enjoy entertaining and frequently host dinners as fundraisers for local non-profits and charities