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Chef's Hat: Experience the magic of mustard

The heartiness of a whole grain mustard adds a unique taste to recipes as well as a zip to sandwiches. It’s also great on cooked - especially grilled - vegetables.

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Photo illustration / Shutterstock.com
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Mustard is a familiar condiment, one that is used worldwide and often slathered on hot dogs, bratwurst and hamburgers.

Mustard is one of the world’s oldest condiments. It dates back to early Roman cooks, who combined ground mustard seeds with an unfermented grape juice that ended up being a hot paste. It was originally called "mustum ardens," or "burning must."

Eventually, the name was shortened to just "mustard."

Mustard has not changed much over hundreds of years. It is still made by mixing ground seeds with some type of liquid. The variety of the seeds and the type of liquid used are what ultimately create each unique variety of mustard that is on grocery store shelves.

Varieties of this condiment vary from sweet to spicy to a hot mustard that will clear your sinuses!

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The common yellow mustard is the staple for topping off hot dogs. This traditional mustard is usually very mild, and the vinegar content has a strong influence over the flavor.

A whole grain mustard tends to be stronger than yellow, and the vinegar flavor is much less noticeable - at times no vinegar can be detected in a whole grain mustard.

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So if you are looking for more zip on your sandwich or in your potato salad, it’s time to trade up to a whole grain mustard. This type of mustard contains seeds that can be whole or coarsely ground. The seeds add visual appeal to dishes and provide texture and a stronger flavor.

It is fairly easy to zap up a mixture of coarse mustard. It requires just a few ingredients - mustard seeds, water, wine (or vinegar), salt and pepper. The great thing about mixing up your own mustard is you can be creative. Along with the main ingredients, you can add allspice, nutmeg, ginger or even a bit of honey to add sweetness.

The heartiness of a whole grain mustard adds a unique taste to recipes as well as a zip to sandwiches. It’s also great on cooked - especially grilled - vegetables.

It’s time to mix it up when it comes to thinking about mustard. Leave the yellow stuff on the shelf and pick up a mustard with more flavor. Happy Eating!

Steak Sandwiches with Grilled Onions

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Use a homemade sauce that includes Dijon mustard and whole grain mustard on a steak sandwich with grilled onions.
Donna Evans / Echo Journal Correspondent

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  • 6 to 10 ounces sandwich steak
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Montreal steak seasoning
  • ½ red onion, sliced
  • 3 to 4 hamburger or Artisan buns
  • Tomato slices, optional

Sauce:

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 garlic clove minced or 1 teaspoon jarred garlic
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
  • Salt
  • Dash cayenne pepper

Any type of steak can be used for these sandwiches. If using sandwich steak or a steak that might be on the tough side, place the steak on a dish or shallow container and cover it with a layer of kosher salt. Cover the dish with plastic and place it in the refrigerator for an hour. Remove the dish from the refrigerator and rinse steak well. Pat it dry with paper towels.

Season the steak with steak seasoning, salt and pepper. Set it aside. Start a grill and bring it to medium heat. Place the steak on one side of the grill and cook until desired doneness. (Medium works well for this recipe.)

Place the onions on the other side of the grill, being careful so the onions do not fall through the grate. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes and turn the onions. Cook for an additional 4 to 5 minutes.

If desired, open the buns, place them on the grill and cook them for 5 minutes to brown the buns.

To make the sauce (sauce can be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator):

Place all of the sauce ingredients into a small mixing bowl and mix well. Any leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week.

To make the sandwiches:

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Open the buns and place them on individual serving plates. Top the bottom of each bun with steak, grilled onions and, if desired, tomato slices. Slather a big spoonful of the sauce on the top of the bun and then place the top of the bun onto the sandwich. Serve immediately.

Coarse Mustard

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Coarse whole-grain mustard made from brown and yellow mustard seeds.
Photo illustration / Shutterstock.com

  • ¼ cup brown mustard seeds
  • ¼ cup yellow mustard seeds
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper

Place the mustard seeds in a medium-sized bowl. Stir in 1/2 cup cold water and the wine. Cover and let stand overnight.

Place the mustard seeds and the salt and pepper into a food processor. Puree until the desired consistency is reached. Place the mustard in an airtight container and refrigerate for 24 hours before using. The mixture will keep for 4 to 6 weeks in the refrigerator.

German Potato Salad

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German potato salad with red potatos, bacon, red onions, whole grain mustard and parsley.
Photo illustration / Shutterstock.com

  • 2 pounds small red potatoes
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 5 strips bacon
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Place potatoes in a large pot and add enough water to cover the potatoes about an inch. Add ½ teaspoon salt to the water. Cover the pot and place it on a stove burner; turn the heat to high. Bring the pot to a boil and boil until potatoes can be pierced by a fork, approximately 15 minutes. You do not want to overcook or the potatoes will become mushy.

When the potatoes are tender, drain them in a colander. Let the potatoes cool for a few minutes so they are easier to handle. Slice the potatoes into 1/4-inch chunks.

To make the dressing: In a small bowl stir together the apple cider vinegar, mustard, sugar, ½ teaspoon salt and the pepper. Mix well and set aside.

Cut the bacon into 1-inch pieces and place the pieces in a large skillet. Cook over medium heat until the bacon is brown and crispy. Remove and set on paper towels to drain. Add the onion to the pan with the bacon grease. Saute the onions until they are tender, about 10 minutes.

Note: If there is an excessive amount of grease, you can drain some off before adding the onions. Make sure to leave 4 to 6 tablespoons of grease in the pan for cooking the onion and finishing the dressing.

Turn the heat off. Add the dressing to the onions and stir until everything is well blended and the sauce has slightly thickened. Place the mixture into a large bowl.

Add the sliced potatoes, cooked bacon and chopped parsley to the bowl with the dressing and onions. Stir to combine. This is best served warm.

Donna Evans is an Echo Journal correspondent.

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