Modern’s take on Mustarda and Chimichurri

Spicy Mustarda by Modern Day Forager

This cherished (Sicilian) Italian condiment has many faces, made with fruit, (fresh, dried or candied) sugary syrup, wine and the essence of mustard, it is quite versatile.  The specialty dish, Bollito Mistro in northern Italy, traditionally served mustarda along side this hearty stew (similar to the French Pot-au-feu) as a celebration dish in the fall and winter.  It has gained popularity and made its way as an accompaniment on charcuterie, crusty breads, cheese boards, spooned over creamy polenta and it is equally delicious, crowned on poultry, game and fish.  It even adds a depth of savory piquancy and sweet flavor as a quick pan sauce or poured over ice cream.  Our favorite way to enjoy mostarda is to add it to a grilled salami and gruyere cheese sandwich, the mostarda just adds a richness and a spicy-sugary balance to the saltiness of the cheese and salami.  Yum!

 Spicy Mostarda

Ingredients:

• 1/2 cup dried apricots
• 1/2 cup dried cranberries
• 1/2 cup dried figs
• 1/2 cup dried cherries
• 1 shallot, minced
• 1 1/2 teaspoons minced crystallized ginger
• 1 cup dry white wine
• 1/4 cup honey
• 2  firm Bartlett pears, cubed
• 2 tablespoons of yellow mustard seeds
• 1 tablespoon mustard powder
• 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
• Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions:

1.  Place the dried fruits, shallot, ginger, wine and honey in a medium saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes.
2.  Add pears, mustard seed and mustard powder and continue simmering for another 10 minutes.  (pears should soften but still hold shape)
3.  Season with red pepper flake, salt and freshly ground black pepper.
4.  We like our mustarda chunky here at MDF but if you prefer a thinner consistency you can puree part half the mixture and then mix for a medium chunk or puree the entire batch for a jam like consistency.
5.  Let the mustarda cool, place in a sealed container and store in the refrigerator.

Chimichurri Sauce by Modern Day Forager

This acclaimed quintessential Argentinean sauce, chimichurri compliments grilled meats perfectly and is a crowd pleaser you should try for your next summertime gathering.  This fairly spicy sauce is bright, fresh and herbaceous with a garlicky, tangy punch.  Made of parsley, oregano,  garlic, shallots, vinegar, fresh lemon juice, red pepper flakes, and olive oil, this sauce really needs time to meld all of the flavors together, so make a day or two ahead of time, before you serve it.  Not only can you present this table side but if you don’t have the extra time to make it ahead, it also makes a easy and quick (that day) marinade for vegetable kabobs, beef, lamb, poultry,  fish and will really pop and heighten the flavor.

 Argentinian Chimichurri Sauce

Ingredients:

• 1 cup chopped Italian parsley
• 5 cloves garlic, chopped
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
• 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
• 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
• 1 shallot
• 3/4 cup olive oil
• 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
• 3 tablespoons lemon juice

Directions:

1.  Place all chimichurri sauce ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse until well chopped, but not pureed.
2.   Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Plus it makes an incredible cheeseburger topping.  Try adding it to soups, stews and rice dishes, as well.

Recipes by Rj of Urban Table
Photo Styling & Art Direction by Traci of Urban Table
Photography & Art Direction by Heather of Heather Gill Photography

MODERN DAY FORAGER

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An ode to ketchup and mustard…

We all know that ketchup and mustard are the king and queen reigning the condiment world, while we know there is something nostalgic about commercial brands, don’t leave it in the hands of Heinz and French’s.  Embrace making your own handcrafted customized concoctions.
Ketchup by Modern Day Forager


Making ketchup is really quiet simple, and the flavor combinations are endless.  So why not?  If you have an abundance of tomatoes from your garden this summer, why not use these juicy orbs of goodness and build a better ketchup?

MDF FARM FRESH KETCHUP

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup Olive oil
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 small bulb fennel, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 pounds fresh tomatoes (experiment with your favorites)
  • 1 1/2 cups filtered water
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar (3/4 cup if you don’t want ketchup tangy)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar

Directions:

  1. Place the first 12 ingredients in a large pot over a medium-low heat for 15 minutes stirring often.
  2. Add the tomatoes and 1 1/2 cups of water.  Turn heat to medium-high stirring often, until liquid is reduced by half.
  3. Pour mixture into a food processor and process until smooth, then pour mixture through a mesh sieve into a clean pot.
  4. Over medium heat stir in red wine vinegar and brown sugar, and reduce to the thickness you desire.
  5. Cool and then store in refrigerator.

If you prefer a chunky style, just omit the sieve step.

Stout Mustard by Modern Day Forager

Don’t hold the mustard or cut the mustard, make mustard!  This top dog condiment is surprisingly a cinch to make.  However, there are a few basics you need to understand about the process for making really good quality mustard.  First, the seeds need a good crushing and grind, and the key here is to add cold liquid (cold stout in this recipe) to add moisture to the mustard seeds.  Mustard gets its bite when the cracked seeds release volatile oils, much like capsaicin, the “hot” in chile peppers and when mixed with the liquid, the result is pungent and spicy.

Second, heat will temper the chemical reaction (much like cutting a onion) so, hot mustard, cold liquid, warmer liquid a more mellow mustard.  Also, in addition of the cold liquid remember that adding an acid is crucial to the recipe.  If you don’t add the acid, the mustard will lose its bite over time.  Adding vinegar, for instance, will stop and set the chemical reaction in place.

Mustard is extremely versatile, with many variations, it livens up and pairs well with sandwiches, cold meats, cheese, greens, burgers and hotdogs.  Rj and I are from Chicago and the only way to eat a dog is with mustard, sorry ketchup.  It also is a great emulsifying agent/stablizer for salad dressings, marinades, dips, sauces and spreads.  By making your own, you avoid all the goop of artificial flavors, fillers, colors and homemade just tastes better. 

MDF Extra Stout Mustard

 Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons brown mustard seeds, crushed
  • 1/3 cup Cold Guinness Extra Stout
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 small clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a large mason jar, cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Pour the ingredients into a food processor or blender and process until the seeds are broken down and you reach your desired consistency, it will thicken the more you process. (You may also use an immersion blender right in jar)
  3. Store in your refrigerator, for up to 2 weeks.
Recipes by Rj of Urban Table
Photo Styling & Art Direction by Traci of Urban Table
Photography & Art Direction by Heather of Heather Gill Photography
Modern Day Forager