April 2010


Way back in March, we had a workshop on condiments. Several folks have reported back to me with the results of their experiments, and I have been neglectful in posting them. With no further ado, here are some of our favorites:

Suzie’s Fat-Free Mustard Vinaigrette

  • 2 Tbl. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbl. spicy prepared mustard (a dijon mustard works well)
  • 1-2 Tbl. white vinegar
  • 1-2 Tbl. water

This is especially good if there’s bleu cheese in your salad, but then it’s not fat-free any more. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Julie’s Balsamic Mustard

Julie took the basic grainy mustard recipe and jazzed it up a bit:

  • 1/4 c. water
  • 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
  • 3 Tbl brown mustard seeds

Combine and let sit overnight; the next day, blend in the blender to crack the mustard seeds. Here’s what Julie says about it:

The mustard I made with the balsamic vinegar, EVOO and brown mustard seeds TOTALLY ROCKS! ย The entire family loves it. ย Since it was already on the spicy side I just took the other odds and ends of spicy and dijon mustards from the refrig, stirred them in, and they are now all consolidated into a fabulous all purpose mustard. ย I can’t imagine ever buying prepared mustard again, this was so easy and the results were so unexpectedly stupendous!

Julie’s Balsamic-Orange Peel Dressing

Vinaigrettes can be made by combining equal parts oil, vinegar, and water, buy you can play with the particulars with stunning results. Here’s Julie’s variation:

  • 2 Tbl. Balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbl. Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbl. Honey
  • Fresh lemon thyme (leaves from one sprig)
  • 1 tsp. Dried orange peel

Julie’s comment:

All I can say is that I have made it three times since then and it has become another staple on our table!

Diana’s Grove Garlic-Bleu Cheese Dressing

This is a fave from a retreat site I’ve visited in the past.

  • 1 c. mayo
  • 1/2 c. sour cream
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 squeezed lemon
  • 1/4 to 1/2 c. bleu cheese crumbles
  • handful of chopped parsley (dried)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • A whole lot of crushed garlic

Emulsifiers for salad dressings

We all know water and oil don’t mix – at least, not without the help of an emulsifier. We discussed using cream, yogurt,ย  mayonnaise, and even mustard as emulsifiers. Member Carol kept her eyes peeled, and when her issue of Cook’s Illustrated arrived, sent me this note:

Just got a newsletter from Cookโ€™s Illustrated that had a video about vinaigrette emulsifiers.ย  They tested mustard, mayo and egg yolk.ย  Winner was egg yolk, which caused vinaigrette to stay together for 3 hours (as opposed to mustard โ€“ 30 minutes โ€“ and mayo โ€“ 1.5 hours).ย  They decided, however, that the egg yolk made the vinaigrette too eggy tasting, so they decided a mixture of mayo and mustard was the best solution.

Vegetarian pastyPreserving Traditions member Dennis Purcell led us in a great workshop on how to make pasties on April 4th.ย  Here’s the recipe, for anyone who missed it!

Pasty crust recipe

The dough is similar to pie crust dough, but is a little less flaky and a little more sturdy. You can omit the salt and/or sugar, if you like.

For 4 large pasties

  • 4 c. flour (all-purpose is best, but you can use whole wheat flour, too)
  • 3/4 c. solid shortening (Crisco, butter, lard, palm oil. etc.)
  • 1+ cup of water (start with one cup and add more as needed)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar

Pasty filling recipe

Dennis tells us pasties can be filled with almost anything. He likes this mix because it’s not greasy, and has a lot of vegetables to go with the meat. You can omit any item, but you want to end up with about 3/4-1 cup of filling per pasty. Dice all the vegetables to the same size – about 1/4″ – so they cook evenly.

For 4 large pasties:

  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground pork (or use a total of 1 pound of ground beef; meat may be omitted for vegetarian pasties)
  • 1 cup diced potato
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup diced carrot
  • 1/2 cup diced rutabaga
  • 1/2 cup diced turnip
  • 1/2 cup diced parsnip
  • Minced fresh cilantro and parsley, to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Mix the filling in a large bowl with your hands so all ingredients are distributed evenly.

To assemble the pasties:

Roll out the dough in an oval, about the size of a pie crust. Add up to a cup of the filling on one half of the dough – be sure you don’t over-stuff your pasty, or you won’t be able to seal it shut. You may dot the filling with butter, especially if your meat is lean or if you are making a vegetarian pasty. Fold the dough over to make a half-circle shape; fold and crimp the edges to keep the filling sealed in. Slash a couple steam vents in the top and bake on a greased sheet at 375 for about 45 minutes.