Tag Archives: homemade

Whole Grain Mustard

WholeGrainMustardFeralKitchenWhole Grain Mustard

Do you know that making your own mustard is ridiculously easy? Up until just a few months ago, I had absolutely no idea. I recently learned after reading a newspaper article in the Medford Mail Tribune by Jan Roberts-Dominguez titled an Advanced Lesson in Homemade Mustards. Growing up, the only mustard that could be found in our home kitchen was the bright yellow mustard sold in a jar made by French’s.  No offense to all you yellow mustard lovers but the mustard that I knew as a kid pales in comparison to the taste bud tingling spicy goodness that I am about to share with you.  And what makes my Whole Grain Mustard shine is the addition of a really tasty beer such as Southern Oregon Brewing Company‘s Nice Rack IPA.

A good homemade Whole Grain Mustard takes about 15 minutes of your time to prepare and then needs to sit around untouched for at least 48 hours to develop its wonderfully warm spicy flavors. When your mustard is ready, be sure to serve your homemade Whole Grain Mustard on sandwiches, sausages, pretzels or even use it as a base for sauces or salad dressings.  My favorite way to serve my homemade Whole Grain Mustard is to accompany it alongside some grilled brats and pints of some of Southern Oregon’s finest micro brewed beer. Now that’s pure bliss!

What’s great about making your own mustard is that the flavor combinations are endless and you can make it as hot, creamy, spicy or as sweet as you want.  All you need to start is some good quality mustard seeds, liquid for soaking such as wine, beer or vinegar, toss in some spices, add something sweet such as sugar or honey and a sprinkling of salt.

mustardseeds1024Mustard Seeds

Yellow mustard (also called white) seeds are on the left and brown mustard seeds are on the right. Notice that the yellow mustard seeds are nearly twice the size than the brown mustard seeds. They are also a lot less pungent in flavor than the brown mustard seeds. I personally like the brown mustard seeds better because of the heat factor. Look for mustard seeds in the bulk foods section of your favorite specialty or natural food store. If you can’t find it locally, you can always resort to shopping online. Once you learn how to make your own Whole Grain Mustard, it’s doubtful that you will want to use store the bought varieties ever again. Thank you Jan Roberts-Dominguez for the mustard lesson and the inspiration!  Enjoy! Tessa


  • 2/3 cup brown mustard seeds
  • 1/2 cup yellow mustard seeds
  • 3/4 cup beer (I used Nice Rack IPA)
  • 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbs sugar
  • 3 tsp garlic paste
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste

In a non reactive bowl or jar (glass, plastic or stainless steel) add the mustard seeds, beer, and vinegar.  Make sure that the seeds are covered in liquid.  If you need to add more liquid, use equal parts beer and vinegar.  Just be careful, you don’t want your mustard to be too watery. Place the mustard covered in a cool place for 48 hours.  Add the remaining ingredients and place in food processor. Blend mustard for about two minutes or until you reach your desired texture. Taste and correct your seasonings.  Place mustard in clean jars with a tight fitting lid and store in the refrigerator for up to a few weeks.  Makes about 2 3/4 cups.

***Recipe adapted from Jan Roberts-Dominguez

Caramel Apples


Caramel Apples

Do you ever get so busy with your life that you can’t seem to finish all that you set out to accomplish?  That’s where I’ve been for the past couple of weeks…  And I don’t like it one bit.  It’s not like me.  For example, a couple of days ago we had a Halloween potluck at my work and I planned to bring a veggie tray and a bunch of hand dipped caramel apples.  The only thing that I was able to complete was the veggie tray.  The apples sat in a large bowl on our kitchen counter until this morning.  Seriously?  Nobody knew that I missed the mark except me.  Oh, and of course Bruce noticed too.  Poor man.  He made the mistake of asking me why I bought so many apples :D.

What a lovely bowl of fresh picked Red Delicious Apples!  Bright red, sweet and crisp.  Aptly named.

Well, there is good news.  I am slowly but surely catching up.  Three days later and I finally tackled that bowl of apples.  I know that it is not good to always place high expectations on myself but in reality that is how I operate.  The bottom line is that my self imposed expectations is what motivates me to get things done.

These Caramel Apples turned out so delicious and without a doubt I will be making them again.  They’re so easy!  Enjoy!  Tessa

Slightly adapted from Land O’ Lakes.


  • 2 cups brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 ounce)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 12 – 14 small apples (washed and dried)
  • 12 – 14 Popsicle sticks

Begin by adding brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, sweetened condensed milk to a large saucepan.  Constantly stir over low heat for about 30 minutes or until the temperature of the mixture reaches 248 degrees Fahrenheit or hard ball stage. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.  Place a Popsicle stick in each apple and swirl in the caramel mixture.  Place each coated apple on lightly greased wax paper.  Let caramel harden on the apples and serve.  And with the leftover caramel, I placed in a lightly greased pan, covered and refrigerated for later use.

***Please be careful when dipping the apples.  The caramel is really hot.***

Note: Using a candy thermometer is crucial with this recipe.  Over cooking or under cooking your caramel may yield disastrous results.  Trust me on this one… Go out and get a candy thermometer.



Red Wine Vinaigrette

Red Wine Vinaigrette

I love spring.  It’s without a doubt my favorite time of year.  By the time April rolls around I’m tired of preparing stews and soups for dinner and I am so ready for backyard barbeques and fresh picked produce.  This time of the year I am starting to find fresh local lettuce, spinach and chard in our farmers markets.  The perennial herbs like mint, chives and tarragon are also available.  In just a few short months we will be dealing with the onslaught of fresh zucchini, corn, tomatoes and beans.  I can’t even wait.  Store bought tomatoes can be so disappointing…

Miniature narcissus and spearmint from my garden.

It has been a few weeks since I planted my little pocket garden and I found that I have lettuce that needs to be thinned and picked.  The heads are not quite mature but I have learned that if I steal a few leaves from each plant when I want to make salad, nobody (not even the plants) seems to notice.  Today when I got home from work I made a beautiful green salad drizzled with my Red Wine Vinaigrette.  My Red Wine Vinaigrette tastes great on a pasta or red quinoa salad.  It’s made with kalamata olive oil, sweet basil, garlic, red wine vinegar and a few other ingredients.  It’s quick and easy and you will not want to buy store bought vinaigrette ever again.  Makes about 1 cup.  Enjoy!  Tessa


  • 1/4 cup kalamata olive oil (substitute olive oil if you want)
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp dried sweet basil
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Whisk all ingredients in a bowl until well blended.  Store in tightly covered container in the refrigerator.  Keeps about 1 week.  Makes about 1 cup.

Pear Sauce

Pear Sauce

The Rogue Valley of Southern Oregon is known worldwide for its wonderful pears.  Pear orchards surround our towns and much of our local economy depends on our pear crops.  There are so many varieties grown here such as comice, anjou, seckel, bosc and bartlett.  I must say that my favorite pears are the bartlett variety because they are sweet, juicy and very versatile.  I bought some local bartlett pears the other day to share at a meeting that I had hosted earlier this week.  Luckily for Bruce and I, there were three leftover…  Bruce reminded me this morning as he was heading out the door that we had some pears that were really ripe and needed to be eaten up.

Bartlett Pear

It’s been a while since I made homemade Pear Sauce.  Pear Sauce is similar to apple sauce but you use way less water in the cooking process.  The reason is that ripe pears are really juicy and when you start to cook them, the water is quickly released from the fruit.  As a result, you end may end up with pear soup rather than pear sauce.

If you have any leftover pears or if you want to try something a bit different than applesauce then by all means prepare this dish.  Makes about 2 cups.  Enjoy!  Tessa


  • 3 ripe pears (I used Bartlett)
  • 1 Tbs water
  • 1 Tbs brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Begin by washing, peeling, coring and chopping your pears.  Toss all ingredients in a medium sized sauce pan.  Over medium low heat, uncovered, cook for about 15 minutes stirring occasionally.  If the pears look a bit too watery, drain some of the water off.  Remove from heat.  Using a potato masher or stick blender puree the pear mixture.  Let cool. Top with a bit of brown sugar for garnish and serve.  Makes about 2 cups.