Desmond and Karen. They are the owners of Calgary's Brassica Mustard. Desmond is a fancy, shmancy chef, a culinary instructor at SAIT and knows a thing or two about mustard so we've asked him a few questions:
The Hot Line: What is the difference between whole grain mustard and 'prepared' mustard?
Desmond: In most cases prepared mustard is made with mustard flour/powder. Grinding the mustard helps release those potent oils that really contain most of the punch in the powdered mustards. Add some spice and colour with turmeric and voila, ballpark mustard.
The Hot Line: What is a good, simple tip for using mustard with grilled foods?
Desmond: Marinate! Vinegar is a common ingredient in the condiment and this is great for tenderizing and drawing out flavours in our foods. Watch the sweetness in some of the mustards. Sugars equal carmelization/burning. Maybe adding a sweet mustard glaze to finish those BBQ specialties.
The Hot Line: I'm not sure I understand mustard powder and what it's good for. Any help?
Desmond: From hair conditioner to chest decongestant, relieving sore throats and muscle-relaxing baths there is a variety of useful applications. In the professional kitchen mustard is used as a flavouring agent as well as an emulsifier with dressings. And of course that 'boost' for the circulation.
The Hot Line: Why do people keep leaving this Colonel Mustard character in a dark room with candlesticks?
Desmond: Otherwise he would be in the pantry with the maid. Of course!
The Hot Line: What are your thoughts on prepared, ballpark mustard?
Desmond: All foods have their place, whether in our hearts and memories or that special familiar twist in foods that we love. Beware though, some folks are very allergic to mustards and have very severe reactions.
The Hot Line: There are three types of mustard seed? Brown, yellow and black? Which type(s) do you use at Brassica and why?
Desmond: We use yellow and brown. The combination of nuttiness and pungency is a mix that took some time to find. The balance appeals to mustard fans.
The Hot Line: How about mustard greens? Do you have a lot of those surplus after you've done your thing? Do you eat them lots?
Desmond: We get the seed after harvest and don't see the greens. Many times though our family has enjoyed mustard greens as they are easy to grow and very high in vitamins and they help in the lowering of cholesterol.
The Hot Line: We understand that some cultures consider mustard to be an aphrodisiac, you have four children - any comment?
Desmond: I'm not sure it's that kind of a stimulant, but a stimulant it is. The heat in the oils defiantly increases circulation and warms you from the inside so there is merit in the arousal approach.