{foodbuzz 24, 24, 24} Family Food Feud: Colossal Condiment Competition

This weekend I did something a little different… a Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24 event I’m calling Family Food Feud: Colossal Condiment Competiton! Read on for details, winners, dark horses, and recipes…

mustards

The background:

My Dad is super into making things and canning them for later- pickles, jams, tomatoes, syrups, you name it. Every year I try to add new things to our family’s home-canned repertoire, like lemon curd and onion relish. But in short, this came about because what started out as a father-daughter bonding moment over the idea of making homemade ketchup turned into a full-on condiment CHALLENGE! Suddenly it was a competition. We were one-upping each other with over-confident bluster about our innovative and sure-to-be tasty imagined flavor combinations. It was all out of control. And it was ON like DONKEY KONG.

This was to be a serious smackdown between me and my Dad. Having a relatively tactless group of friends and brutally honest  family members, we knew no one would play favorites with the judging. The results would stand. Thanks to Foodbuzz, who agreed to sponsor this familial food fight by featuring it in their 24, 24, 24 for July, our competition came to fruition.

The ingredients:

We ordered yellow and black mustard seeds and mustard powder from Penzeys. We used fruits and vegetables from my parents’ garden in Santa Rosa, and the wine we grow and produce on their land, whenever possible. Supplemental ingredients were purchased from the Santa Rosa and Alemany Farmers Markets.

The judging:

The judging was done by friends and family members who happened to be around. It was extremely unscientific and some participants may have had a lot of wine during and prior to the judging, which probably just made them even more honest. They ate the condiments on crackers, pretzels, pork loin, and whatever else was on the table, and discussed the pros and cons of each condiment until they came to roughly unanimous decisions.

The resources:

While all the recipes were strictly created for this competition, we turned to the trusty internets for guidance. Some pages that proved helpful (and some with pretty pictures) were these from A Pinch Of, Macheesmo, Kiss My Spatula, YumSugar, and Cake and Commerce. Thanks, Internets!

The miscellany:

We had the competition at my parents’ house in the Sonoma Wine Country. We did some preparation in advance (eg the soaking of the mustard seeds) and the bulk of the cooking and preparation over about 4-5 hours on Saturday.

We made vastly different amounts because we were inventing recipes. We canned the excess by storing it in sterilized jars and using a pressure canner after all of the judging was done. (For more info on safely canning food with a pressure canner, read this.)

>>>>>NOW ON TO THE EXCITING PART!!<<<<<

The entries:

We each agreed to make 2 mustards and 1 ketchup. I made a third bonus mustard because I felt like it, dammit! Here are the entries:

all-mustards

My entries in the top row. From left to right: Orange-Vanilla Bean Mustard; Moutarde Le Bête Noire, Margarita Mostaza, Kick-Ass Ketchup

Dad’s entries in the bottom row. From left to right: Molto Bene Mustard; Smoky Ketchup; Peach Moscato Mustard

The mustards:

For my mustards, I went with 3 very disparate styles. The first, orange-vanilla bean, was a smooth mustard made from mustard powder, honey, orange juice and zest, with seeds from a whole vanilla bean. It had a wonderful sweet and spicy balance but was waaaay too runny. It also sort of started discoloring in a highly unappealing fashion. The second, Le Bête Noire, was one of my favorites but not particularly well-loved by, well, anyone else. I used black mustard seeds, aged black garlic, molasses, and pinot noir for earthy notes and a rich dark brown color, but at the end of the day it was deemed to be a little boring. My third entry was Margarita Mostaza which utilized components of a margarita- I soaked yellow seeds in reposado tequila and combined them with honey, lemon, lime, chiles, and salt.

My Dad made 2 mustards, both of which were more complex in preparation than mine. For the Molto Bene mustard, he started by making a whole grain mustard, then incorporated sun-dried tomatoes and dried ground prosciutto (!). His Peach Moscato mustard was made in the style of a hollandaise, with egg yolks whisked in over a double boiler. It used sweet Moscato wine and a puree of dried peaches, using fresh peaches in his orchard that he dried in a food dehydrator.

WINNER: Peach Moscato Mustard

peach-moscato

My Dad put a lot of thought and effort into this mustard and it was worth it. The Peach Moscato mustard was smooth and perfectly creamy, and could just as easily serve as a dip for a nugget or a spread on the most upscale of sandwiches. The peach notes were pronounced without being overwhelming and the sweet/spicy balance was pleasing to all.

RUNNER UP: tie between Margarita Mostaza and Molto Bene

2mustards

While no one is totally sure what food to put the Margarita mustard on, everyone liked it. It REALLY tasted like a margarita, and soaking the seeds in tequila and adding a serrano chile gave it additional layers of heat. The Molto Bene mustard benefited heavily from the fact that it has salty prosciutto and oily dried tomatoes permeating it, giving it a richness and round Italian essence that would taste great on a sausage. Who but my Dad would think of making a meat mustard though?!?!

The ketchups:

We each made 1 ketchup. Dad made Smoky Ketchup, for which he grilled all of the vegetables on the BBQ before combining and cooking them down into a slightly chunky mixture. I made the Kick-Ass Ketchup, and opted for a slightly more traditional approach, punched up with sundried tomatoes and chipotle. I strained it through a chinois for a smoother texture.

WINNER: Kick-Ass Ketchup

ketchup-win

Between you and me I thought my Dad’s concept was terrific and that his would win, but it turned out his ketchup was not as positively enhanced by all of the grilling as one might have expected, and tasted a little too much like BBQ sauce. It was also a bit too sweet. On the other hand, the Kick-Ass Ketchup had just the right amount of spice, sweetness, acidity, and brightness to make it interesting and balanced without having any one flavor dominate.

The conclusion:

Making your own condiments is fun because there are so many possible flavor combinations for you to experiment with! Even our least favorite entries tasted a heckuva lot better than anything you can buy in a store. Making your own fancy mustards, especially, is totally worth is from a cost-benefit perspective. A whole pound of mustard seeds from Penzeys, which would make enough mustard to last quite some time, cost about the same as a little bottle of whole-grain mustard ($4.60.)

One thing that is important to note is that on the first day, homemade mustard is extra spicy. It will mellow with age and taste a lot milder after 2-3 days in the fridge.

The ketchup requires more raw ingredients to yield a much smaller volume, but the taste difference has me convinced that I will probably continue making it from here on out. It’s also a lot better for you than store-bought ketchup, which is full of corn syrup and chemicals.

The recipes:

You didn’t really think I would tell you all about this and show tantalizing photos then not provide recipes, did you? I’ve included the winning ketchup and mustard recipes, as well as the 2 runner-up mustards. Enjoy!

Karen’s Kick-Ass Ketchup

makes about 3 cups ketchup.

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 shallot, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 chipotle (I used canned chioptles, and rinsed the sauce off)
  • 3 lbs fresh tomatoes, roughly chopped (skin and seeds are ok)
  • 1 Tblsp salt
  • 1/3 cup turbinado (raw) sugar
  • 1 cup sundried tomatoes in oil, drained
  • 1/2 tsp celery seeds
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 2/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tblsp brown sugar

Method:

  • In large nonstick saucepan, combine all ingredients except white wine vinegar and brown sugar. Cook over medium low heat about 45 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Puree in blender or food processor until smooth. Strain through a fine strainer.***
  • Rinse pot and return strained mixture to pot. Add white wine vinegar and brown sugar. Taste and add salt if necessary.
  • Cook over very low heat another 30-50 minutes, stirring frequently and making sure ketchup is not sticking to sides and bottom.
  • Remove from heat and cool. Store in jars or tupperware.
  • ***I like to save the stuff that’s left in the strainer and toss it with pasta for a quick, flavorful meal!

Mike’s Peach Moscato Mustard

makes about 2 cups mustard.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cups dried peaches
  • 1/2 bottle sweet moscato wine
  • 1 1/4 cup mustard powder
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 Tblsp powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 6 fresh egg yolks
  • salt to taste

Method:

  • Put dried peaches in a blender or food processor with a splash of moscato. Puree until smooth.
  • Pour peach puree, remaining moscato, mustard powder, vinegar, sugar, and turmeric into the top of a double boiler (or a metal bowl suspended over a pot of water) with a little salt, and mix with a whisk. The water in the bottom of the double boiler should not be touching the upper part and should just be brought to a simmer.
  • Add yolks and whisk over double boiler until mustard thickens. Taste and add more salt or sugar as needed.
  • Strain through a chinois, cheesecloth, or fine strainer.

Karenita’s Margarita Mostaza

makes about 2 cups mustard.

Ingredients:

  • 1 dried serrano chile, roughly chopped, about half the seeds removed
  • 1 cup good quality reposado tequila
  • 2/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 cup yellow mustard seeds
  • 1/4 cup black mustard seeds
  • 1/3 cup mustard powder
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • zest and juice of 1 large or 2 small limes
  • 2 tsp salt

Method:

  • Combine everything except lime zest, lime juice, and salt in a bowl. Let sit overnight, loosely covered.
  • Pour into food processor or blender. Add lime and salt. Process until mustard reaches desired graininess.
  • Store in the fridge in a jar with a lid or a tupperware container.

Mike’s Molto Bene Mustard

makes about 3 cups mustard.

Ingredients:

  • 3 oz. prosciutto
  • 1 cup yellow mustard seeds
  • 3/4 cup brown mustard seeds
  • 1 1/4 cup sauvignon blanc
  • 1 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes in oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp. brown sugar

Method:

  • Combine mustard seeds, wine, and vinegar in a container and soak overnight.
  • Heat oven to 300 degrees. Lay prosciutto in a single sheet. Cook until dry and crispy, about 45 minutes, checking often so it doesn’t burn. Let cool.
  • In food processor or blender, puree cooled dried prosciutto and sundried tomatoes with a little of the oil from the tomatoes. Add mustard mixture and remaining ingredients and puree until desired consistency. If too thick add a little more wine or tomato oil.


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10 comments

1 lisaiscooking { 07.27.09 at 12:50 pm }

I’ve made a spicy Guiness mustard, and now I’m hooked and want to try a ketchup. The kick ass variety here looks great as does the peach moscato mustard.

2 admin { 07.27.09 at 1:42 pm }

Mmm with Guinness sounds great! I was also wondering if a Coca-Cola ketchup would work? So many things to try!

3 Rachel { 07.28.09 at 7:00 am }

Love this post. I’m a condiment collector and have bookmarked this post to try some of these delicious recipes.

4 Link love for July 29, 2009 { 07.28.09 at 9:40 pm }

[…] challenge your family to a competition, like Karen from Off The Meathook who competed against her dad to cook up the best homemade ketchup and […]

5 Kelly at Crock Tease { 07.31.09 at 4:20 pm }

Truly inspirational. You moved me to purchase a book on mustard-making and I’ll be making my own ASAP.

-Kelly

6 The Duo Dishes { 07.31.09 at 4:52 pm }

This is an awesome idea. You’d throw a rocking crudité or burger party. Love the condiments!

7 admin { 07.31.09 at 8:52 pm }

Ha ha I love the name Crock Tease! Thanks for the comments, everyone- and please let me know how your condiment adventures turn out!

8 breanne y. arnold { 11.01.09 at 9:17 pm }

Hello i have wondered how much you would charge to set your blog graphic up on my internet site for me, because i really like the look of your weblog but i don’t know how to make such a cool graphic.

9 karen { 11.14.09 at 5:25 pm }

Hi Breanne- It’s a wordpress template that I just slightly edited, called WP-Andreas09 2.2 by Andreas Viklund and Ainslie. It’s a free template and you should be able to easily modify it yourself but if you have further questions let me know!

10 {recipes} Southeast Asian Potstickers and Duck a l’Orange Potstickers | off the (meat)hook { 12.14.11 at 10:06 am }

[…] his birthday, he wanted to have a potsticker competition. (OK, not that surprised, considering our past food competitions.) Maybe at this time you’re thinking “what does an old white guy know about making […]

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