A recipe for Pickled Mustard Seeds and also some comments on the new cooking magazine Milk Street

First the recipe (which I have made twice and still really like, and yes I’m using a lot of mustard seeds recently), and then some happy comments on the new cooking magazine Milk Street (http://www.177milkstreet.com/) from Christopher Kimball.

Pickled Mustard Seeds (this is slightly different than what’s in the Fall 2016 Milk Street magazine)

  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
  • 6 whole allspice berries
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup yellow mustard seeds
  • 6 Tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  1. Place the vinegar, black peppercorns, coriander seeds, allspice berries and bay leaf in a small saucepan. Cover and bring to a simmer or low boil. Let simmer for 5-10 minutes, then turn off the heat and let it steep for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Drain mixture through a sieve into a container. Discard peppercorns, bay leaf, coriander seeds and allspice berries.
  3. Add vinegar back to saucepan, add in mustard seeds, honey, and red pepper flakes.
  4. Once more bring to a low boil or simmer and simmer, covered, for at least 8-10 minutes.
  5. Turn off heat, pour entire contents of saucepan into a jar or container, and refrigerate.

Use as a garnish.

The first time you use the mustard seeds after they have cooled in the refrigerator, you may need to stir them as they have a tendency to clump together.

Sweet, tangy, crunchy, just a little bit of astringency . . . I put this on things like a chopped cabbage salad with a bit of extra virgin olive oil, or if I want a snack of reheated baked potato and melted cheddar cheese I’ll spoon some of these mustard seeds on top.

I plan to eventually try mixing it into mayonnaise, sour cream, cream cheese, butter, or some combination of those to make a spread for sandwiches, but haven’t yet experimented with that.

A while back I lamented that Christopher Kimball had left Cook’s Illustrated and I would no longer get to read his wry and inspirational editorials in Cook’s Illustrated (https://www.cooksillustrated.com/) and Cook’s Country (https://www.cookscountry.com/).

Then I started getting email notices about a new magazine from Kimball call Milk Street, and I got a copy of it from the local newsstand.

So far there’s only one issue (Fall 2016), but it starts out with a bang. One of the articles is titled “Au Revoir Maillard, and Good Riddance!” and another article is titled “Foolproof Single-Crust Pie Dough”, both of which topics seem to be frequently mentioned in the publications he used to work for.

The recipes are different and while there’s not many exotic ingredients, he puts them together in different ways. I like it a lot and I’m planning on subscribing (I’ll keep my Cook’s Illustrated and Cook’s Country subscriptions too, but I let my Bon Appetit subscription lapse quite some time ago, so there’s room in my monthly reading list for another cooking magazine).

His editorials are just as good as ever too, which I am happy to see. Here is a bit from the Fall 2016 editorial, and he explains why Milk Street’s recipes might be a bit different than what I’m used to, and he also throws in some cooking history too.

My world was mostly northern European fare, a cuisine based on meat, heat, bread and root vegetables. It is a cuisine almost entirely devoid of spices, one that uses a limited palette of herbs, fermented sauces, chilies and strong ingredients, such as ginger. It is a cuisine based on technique, building flavors using classic cooking methods.

Ten years ago, I was driving into Hanoi from the airport. . . . It was a foreign shore.

Then I ate the food. Lemon grass with clams. Pho. A breakfast banh mi. Roadside stalls selling grilled foods like eggs in the shell and sweet potato. Mango and papaya. The salads. Hot, sweet, salty and bitter. Broth and noodles. Coffee with condensed milk and raw egg. [I was following along until that last one. Raw egg in coffee? Ew. -CG]

The realization dawned slowly. There is no ‘ethnic’ cooking. It’s a myth. It just dinner or lunch served somewhere else in the world.

I’m from Vermont (at least my soul tells me so) and I have taken continuity of place and tradition as a tenet for the good life. The happiest among us, I’ve found, usually are from somewhere. It matters. But when it comes to food, let me propose new rules.

We think of recipes as belonging to a people and place; outsiders are interlopers. Milk Street offers the opposite — an invitation to the cooks of the world to the same table.

. . .

Milk Street is about that moment in that kitchen in that city and the thousands of other moments we will experience in the coming years. Ethnic food is dead; it smacks of the sin of colonialism. This is a culinary — not cultural — exchange. . . .

. . .

Welcome to Milk Street.



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