My mother always kept a tin of Colman's dry mustard on her spice shelf. I never saw her cook with it, but lately I've been wondering whether she snuck it into meatloaf or marinara sauce. That's what I do.
In 1814, Jeremiah Colman, a flour miller of ten years' experience, took over a mustard manufacturing business based in a water mill on the river Tas, four miles south of Norwich, England. In 1823, Jeremiah took his adopted nephew, James, into partnership in the new firm J & J Colman. In 1866 the distinctive red and yellow livery was introduced to the label, and the company was granted a Royal Warrant as manufacturers to Queen Victoria.
According to Waitrose Food Illustrated, mustard seed used to be ground right at the dining table, much as black pepper is today. Colman's mustard, a blend of two varieties — white for flavor and brown for potency — was milled to obtain a powder, a fashion popularized by another mustard manufacturer, Keen & Company, which some say is the origin of the phrase "keen as mustard". Colman's bought Keen in 1903; mega-conglomerate Unilever bought Colman's in 1995.
Colman's calls its dry mustard the "not-so-mellow yellow", so beware; it's hot stuff. To prepare, combine equal parts of Colman’s and a liquid such as water, wine, vinegar, beer, milk or cream. Let the mixture stand for ten minutes, for the full flavor to develop.
The French tarragon in my herb garden went berserk last week. It's not supposed to do all that well here in Climate Zone 5, but this year I've got tarragon on steroids — a perfect excuse to make honey and tarragon mustard, using mustard seed and Colman's Mustard.
Coarse-ground mustard with honey and tarragon
Makes 4 cups.
1 cup light or dark mustard seed
6 Tbsp dry mustard powder, lightly packed
1-1/3 cups water
1-1/2 cup rice vinegar
6 Tbsp mild-flavored honey
4 tsp salt, or less to taste
2 Tbsp chopped fresh tarragon leaves
Combine mustard seed, mustard powder and water in a food processor or blender, and process to a coarse puree. Let the mixture stand uncovered, at room temperature, for at least one hour and up to four hours. Stir occasionally. Combine mustard mixture with the vinegar, honey, salt and tarragon. Process in food processor or blender to the texture that you like, coarse or creamy. Store in clean, dry jars, tightly capped in a cupboard, where it will mellow gradually. The mustard will be ready to use in a few days.
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