Saucy Start

Every year at this time, I like to share recipes every day during the Advent season. I’m not exactly the most strict of Catholics. To be honest, I’m more of a general spiritualist than having any attachment to a fixed religion. I find all faiths have one thing in common: Be nice. The old adage of “everyone shares,” should linger well beyond kindergarten and oftentimes it gets pushed aside because we become “busy” or “jaded.”
I thought I’d start this year’s advent calendar of recipes with something basic: condiments. In fact, each Sunday during Advent I’m planning on a variety of condiments and sauces as the theme and throughout the week there may be elements to incorporate them. A way to inspire creativity during the week. Today I’m sharing recipes for Homemade Mustard and a Roasted Garlic Tzatziki.

Homemade Mustard:

2/3 cup yellow mustard seeds
1 cup vinegar (I like to use what is called a “pickling vinegar.” It has a higher acetic acid percentage giving the recipe a much sharper bite, but any vinegar will do, or beer or wine for that matter.)
1-1/2 cups water
4 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder

In a blender, add the mustard seeds, vinegar and water. Purée on low for 60 seconds. Turn the blender to high and purée for a further 90 seconds to two minutes, depending on how smooth a mustard you like. I prefer to keep some of the textural component of the mustard seeds so I err on the side of the lower time.
Transfer the purée to a medium bowl. Add the turmeric, salt and garlic powder and stir until uniformly combined yielding a bright yellow colour throughout. Makes about 3 cups.
It’s great on a sandwich, burger, sausage or brushed on chicken or fish then baked.

There are a few things I like to buy instead of make myself. One of them is tzatziki. Our local farmer’s markets have a great Greek family (Theo’s Greek Kouzina) who make a wonderful tzatziki, but one day I ran out and it was a few days before market, so I decided to make my own. It’s super easy so I may make my own more often!

Roasted Garlic Tzatziki:

2 heads Peas On Earth garlic
1 + 1 Tbsp Mighty Trio Organics cold pressed canola oil
1-1/2 cups Bles-Wold Greek yogurt
Juice and zest of one lemon
1 Doef’s Greenhouses English cucumber, coarsely grated
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Preheat oven to 180C/350F.
Cut 1cm(1/2″) off the top of each head of garlic. Lay the bottom of both heads of garlic on a sheet of foil, drizzle with 1 Tbsp of the oil, wrap the foil around it tightly and roast in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes, until deeply golden. Allow to cool slightly.
In a medium bowl, add the yogurt, roasted garlic (squeezed from the papery exterior) and the zest and juice of the lemon. Squeeze out any excess moisture from the grated cucumber, then add it to the bowl as well. Stir to combine completely and season with salt and pepper. Makes about 2-1/2 cups.
It’s great as a sandwich spread, especially on a breakfast sandwich or more traditionally as a dip with pita or as I like to do, with wedges of homemade flatbreads:


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