Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Indian Butter Pickles

So over the last year or so I have been playing around with pickling and fermentation. Learning about pickling and fermentation takes time, study and of course experimentation. Seeing how I still work, have a family and other culinary hobbies this is going to take a very long time. What I lack in time I make up for in tenacity. I'm just beginning to understand all the basics and the Do's and Don'ts. I own several books on pickling and the creme de la creme on on fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz "The Art of Fermentation" Prior to these books I had a basic understanding of Hot Water Bath Canning, Pressure canning and canning in general. I even played around with sauces using a PH meter reader to ensure safety.

Like everyone else I started eating pickles as a kid. My first recollection of eating pickles takes me back to NYC on the corner of Essex and Delancey Street in New York City. That picture of the subway station is where my Mom and I would exit every weekend. Every weekend we would take the J train from Brooklyn to the lower East side of Manhattan to pay my Bubbe a visit. 

It was a weekend I always looked forward too. If you look closely we would exit the train station walk about 40 yards and turn right on to Delancey Street. Those pictures of course do not represent the time period I am talking about which would have been in the early 70's. After turning right on to Delancey Street there were a plethora of stores to accommodate our Jewish taste buds. Every stereotypical food was there to cherish, admire and buy. We had to walk from the subway station to my Bubbe's and along the way we always made a pit-stop at the pickle place on Delacney Street. When I say they had pickles I just don't mean Kosher Dills either. Everything was pickled. Besides the 15 plus barrels filled with everything they also had jars and jars. 

There's so many things to write about but I will keep this one short. We also paid homage to Katz's Deli which was located across the street from my Bubbe and Yonah Shimmel's Knish Bakery where I got my Black and White cookies from among other delicious things.

It's the middle of January and it's kind of hard to find cucumbers for pickling so I went with the English Cumbers for my butter pickles. Nice alternative for butter pickles.

While doing some research on pickling I came across a low pasteurization pickling approach and found this quite interesting. I wondered if I should use my Sous-Vide (Immersion Circulator aka IC) for this application. I checked with Chefsteps and low and behold they outline the whole process. My recipe is a modified version of theirs. Thanks Chefsteps!!!  Read Chef-Steps version here......

This is right from Chef-steps and I thought it was important to post here...... this is their work not mine. 
Again Thank you Chef-Steps

"Are these quick pickles really shelf stable? Can you ask your resident mathematician/food safety expert/all around nice guy Douglas Baldwin to explain?

Here's Douglas:

“Food pathogens don’t grow if it’s too hot or too cold, too acidic or too basic, too sugary, too salty, too spicy, too smoky, and so on. Pickle recipes are too acidic for pathogens. These recipes add acid; others use fermentation. While salt and sugar make it harder for pathogens to thrive, it’s the vinegar on its own that makes the pickles shelf stable. Since vinegar takes a while to kill the pathogens, we add a cooking step to make them safe right away.
“Distilled 5 percent white vinegar, at about 2.6 pH, is very acidic. Food pathogens can’t grow below 4.0 pH, and vinegar is 25 times more acidic than this. (The pH scale is logarithmic, so 3.0 pH is 10 times more acidic than 4.0 pH.) Cooking or pasteurizing the pickles kills the pathogens that can grow below 4.6 pH, and the vinegar in this recipe is 100 times more acidic than this. For taste and safety, our brines are 38 percent and 44 percent vinegar. So as the brine diffuses into the fruits and vegetables, it quickly acidifies them to below 4.0 pH, and so no food pathogens can grow. Since no food pathogens can grow, the pickles are safe to store in your cupboard.”

The following recipe is a guide line so add, subtract or concoct what every suits your taste buds. I would suggest not changing the Vinegar Water ratios for safety reasons. 

This recipe is estimated to work with 9 one quart Jars. Make sure the jars are clean thoroughly and you're using new seals. 

7 English Cumbers sliced on a Mandoline filled 9 jars. Using a mandoline ensures consistency too so use one if you have one on hand. 

Bring the following ingredients up to 140 f degrees. Whisk until dissolved.

2000 grams of Water (I use filtered water)
2000 grams of 5% White Vinegar or any vinegar that is at least 5%
300 grams of White Sugar Which equates to 7.5% of total weight of the Water and Vinegar
100 grams of Pickling or Canning Salt which equates to 2.5% (using Pickling or Canning salt dissolves into liquids easily). 

To Each Jar Add... or what ever you want.

A few Tejpatta Leaves (.4 grams)
1-2 Dried Kashmiri Chilly (2-3 grams)
1 tsp Kala Jeera (Black Cumin 2-2.5 grams)
2-3 Dry Curry Leaves (.15-.20 grams)
2 tsp Black Mustard Seeds (7 grams)
1tbsp Coriander (4-5 grams)
2 Long Chinese Pepper (2 grams)
1 tsp Whole Cloves (1 gram)
1 tsp Celery Seed (1 gram)
1-2 crushed garlic cloves
2-3 Slices of Jalapeno
2-4 Slices Multi Colored Sweet Peppers


Fill jars with half of the cucumber slices and give it a shake. Toss in the rest packing them fairly tight. Leave about 3/4 of an inch at the top and fill with the heated brine stopping a 1/2 inch from the top. 

This post is not not intended to instruct you on how to CAN so I would suggest you read up on the subject. 

Put lids on jars and twist until finger tip tight. If you put the lids on to firmly the air will not be able to escape and the jars could shatter or crack. 

Process using the Immersion Circulator at 145 f degrees for 2.5- 3 hours. Eat after about a week. 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Russian Stout Mustard

This is very similar to my Bourbon Barrel Stout Mustard.  After drinking this beer I knew I had to make mustard from this Russian Stout. Heck I am mostly Russian by blood so why not a mustard by yours truly.

Like many of my other mustard recipes SEE HERE everything starts out with seeds and a liquid. I won't go into a lot of details here because this is so similar to my Gingerbread Stout Mustard.  

Place beer and seeds in a bowl, give it a stir and place in refrigerator for 3 days. After three days place all ingredients in a food processor or in my case a vitamix. Add just enough water to help the blades process the seeds and and give it the texture you want. This is different for everyone. 

Note: there is no measurement for water. Depending on how much liquid the seeds absorbed the water content changes.

All done...
Note: In the Bourbon Barrel Beer Mustard I had use only 60 grams of Apple Cider Vinegar which created a Ph of 4.3 which was perfect for hot water bath canning. With the Russian Stout Mustard the Ph was averaging 4.68-4.72 so in order to CANN properly I added another 30 grams of Vinegar (Total of 90 grams) to bring it down to acceptable levels. For more details on how to can CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Moroccan Mustard

I love Moroccan Food! So I decided to make a mustard using the traditional spices that are used to create this incredible cuisine. I own three Tajines which should tell you how much I love this food. 

Before I dive into the recipe and only if your interested take a look at some of my previous posts to understand more about mustard.

Combine and stir the mustard seeds with the Vinegar and the first Water listed in the recipe which would be 600 g. Cover and let sit for about 36-48 hours in the refrigerator. Note: Adding vinegar in the beginning will produce a less pungent mustard. If you want a pungent mustard add the Vinegar at the end with the rest of the ingredients. 

Let's talk about the other ingredients. When possible I like use whole spices but you don't have too. If you bought them whole make sure to grind them in a spice mill. Anyhow combine all the spices in a bowl and set aside. Measure out the sugar and honey in separate bowls. Note: I soak the bottle holding the Honey in hot water so it will pour easily and will combine with the rest of the ingredients with ease. Grab yourself a big ass blender and blend the seeds to your desired viscosity. Start adding the Spices, Sugar and Honey and water which is listed at the end of the recipe. Start adding the additional water listed at the end of the recipe to get the desired thickness. You may end up adding less or more depending on what you want. Let the mustard sit for a day or two in a bowl refrigerated and then test. How does it taste? Adjust from here. More Sugar, Honey Salt or whatever.  
Now on to the bottling or jarring of the mustard. I heated the mustard using a double boiler to 165 F degrees. After the mustard was heated through it was scooped into 6 oz jars and capped off. This is called hot packing. Note: the caveat to Water Bath Canning is the Ph has to be below 4.6.  After they were capped off the mustard was submerged into boiling water for about 15 minutes. Most recipes call for 10 minutes but I added five more minutes because during the hot packing I did not bring to a boil. Note: Heating the mustard will continue to mellow the mustard. I wanted the Moroccan flavors to come through. Note: you do not need to heat or hot pack or for that matter can. Just scoop the mustard into the jars and place in refrigerator. Again heating the mustard will create a less punject more mellow tasting condiment. 
Review- Simply delicious. Adding the vinegar in beginning really paid off. Of course heating the mustard also helped mellow the flavors. All the Moroccan flavors came through. This mustard could be used in many many applications. First thing I thought of was lamb. 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Wolfgang's Bourbon Barrel Beer Mustard

Drinking my buddies Bourbon Barrel Beer was nothing more than a full on pleasurable attack on my taste buds. Not a surprise that my palate was coerced into making Mustard. I mean after tasting this remarkably well crafted beer one would be derelict (or a Shmendrik) and a gastronomic buffoon (Schmuck) not to make something from this beer. Don't get me wrong drinking it was mighty satisfying but since I just love food and all things creative I knew I had to do something special.

Like many of my other mustard recipes SEE HERE everything starts out with seeds and a liquid. I won't go into a lot of details here because this is so similar to my Gingerbread Stout Mustard.  

Place beer and seeds in a bowl, give it a stir and place in refrigerator for 3 days. After three days place all ingredients in a food processor or in my case a vitamix. Add just enough water to help the blades process the seeds and and give it the texture you want. This is different for everyone. 

Note: there is no measurement for water. Depending on how much liquid the seeds absorbed the water content changes.

This is what they look like after three days. 

Everything mixed together.

Put in refrigerator for several days for so everything can come together. 

All done. I added about 125 grams of water to complete the mustard and gave it a whip with a whisk.

Review- It came out great. It will need several weeks in the refrigerator until it achieves the flavors I want. But that being said it damn good right now. 

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Porcini Infused Mustard

I love mustard and I love Porcini Mushrooms. What a great combo. But could I actually make mustard from mushrooms? I decided to give it a shot. All in all it was easy to do but with all creations it's a work in progress. I am not following a recipe which makes this fun and interesting. Add a little of this, a little of that and voilá you have a new recipe. Mustard is a little harder to create from scratch because you really don't know how it's going to taste for a couple of weeks. 

There is nothing complicated about this recipe other than combining ingredients and waiting. 

It may not look like it but here lies 3 oz of porcini mushrooms.

 I posted this picture to point out that specificity is important. This is exactly 2 grams of pepper corns.  

To a pot add the mushrooms, Wine, bay leaf, onions garlic and peppercorns. Simmer covered for 40 minutes than let rest for about 2 hours off the burner.  

After the elapsed time this is what it looks like.


Place a sieve lined with cheesecloth (butter-muslin is my favorite) over a pot and toss in mushroom concoction. 

Squeezed like no tomorrow. 

To this liquid bath of infused mushrooms I added the mustard seeds. I was not looking for a strong pungent mustard so I made sure the liquid was not cold but room temperature. I soaked the mustard seeds for two days at room temp which will create a less pungent mustard. After two days I tossed everything into a blender and added Balsamic Vinegar, Agave, more wine, mustard powder and salt. I processed until a desired texture was reached which of course is different for everyone. I refrigerated the mixture and tasted it after about 3 days. After three days I didn't like it at all. I waited another 3 days and low and behold the flavors started to improve. After about 8 days it really started tasting good. After about 2 weeks all the flavors started coming together. 

When it finally emerged from the refrigerator (14 days later) the mustard seeds had absorbed too much of the liquid so I adjusted the consistency with a little water. I also added a pinch of salt. It definitely need just a pinch more salt. That's the thing with mustard.... it requires time and patience

Review- It came good but not fantastic. I wanted more porcini flavor. I already have ideas on how I can tweak it to give it a more pronounced flavor. 

1. Add dried Porcini powder
2. Use water instead of wine