Resolved: More Mustard For You in 2018! Honeywood Restaurant's First Honey Hour
On a bitter day with icy streets, the Best Man and I set out on a sweet mission: take in the first ever Honey Hour, a new Saturday offering at wonderful Honeywood restaurant. I'm guessing you'll show up for a Honey Hour soon, if you live in or near Lexington, Kentucky. (More about Honey hour here.)
In the first place, it's at Honeywood, acclaimed for its beauty, remarkably kind staff, and especially for Chef John Smouse's superb, timeless Kentucky-sourced food. Honey Hour, scheduled from 3:00 - 4:00 PM on Saturdays through March, makes it easy to get culinary advice from Chef Josh, sipping guidance from managers and super-tasters Leslee Macpherson and Brynne Bowden, and, of course, scrumptious tastes.
So was I surprised that Chef Josh chose mustard as his first Honey Hour topic? Yes. Was I tickled at the end because I tasted my way through an array of mustard applications in food, starting with the seeds themselves? Yes, honey. It was fine. Here's a 38-second video that shares a bit of the flavor.
Here are three particulars about mustard that we learned in the best possible way: through tasting, listening and seeing mustard in use.
- A bit of prepared mustard ("wet" mustard from a jar) brings a vinaigrette together in a magical emulsion, without overwhelming the palate with MUSTARD. We've been doing this in the Campsie kitchen for awhile. Here's our go-to Lemon Mustard Vinaigrette for 2.
- Croquettes and patties that need binding benefit from substantial mustard additions, without tasting mustard-y.
- Burgers brushed on both sides with mustard before cooking trounce their unadorned burger siblings for flavor, without—you have guessed it by now—reeking of mustard.
I have tried making prepared mustard, and recommend it if you like to do chemistry and physics in the kitchen as much as I do. Homemade Basic Country Mustard, a recipe developed by Hank Shaw of Hunter, Angler, Gardener, Cook serves as our house mustard. I like this mustard so much I included it in Classic Kentucky Meals, with Mr. Shaw's permission, dressing up the Kentucky Burgers/Mushrooms/Dogs summer cookout meal. When you make this mustard, it takes longer to read the description and instructions than to stir the ingredients together. Still, it's an odd process, and it can go wrong. I included some additional tips at the end of this post.
For assured, superb condiments, we go to Good Foods Coop for jars of fantastic coarse-grained mustards by Sunflower Sundries. I don't think we are ever without the Sweet & Savory version. Here's our reasoning.
Chef Josh wants us to use more mustard in 2018, to fear not the mustard, to recognize the many charms and uses of mustard, to recognize that cooking with mustard adds richness, texture and layers of flavor without murdering our taste buds, and so to turn to mustard often to brighten and bind our food, just as people have been doing for millennia. I'm in!
Bonus 1: Since you've read all the way to the end: The very next Honey Hour, this Saturday, January 20, at 3 PM, features Honeywood General Manager Leslee Macpherson guiding "Tasting the Taps," tastings of craft beer that Honeywood has on tap, paired with snacks from the Honeywood kitchen. See more specifics here.
Bonus 2: You have a whole extra month to try to score one of the 16 seats for the February 24 Honey Hour. Legendary teacher, taster and Holly Hill Inn Wine Guild Director Steve Mancuso will lead a rare, public "Wine 101" tasting from 3:00 - 4:00 PM. The goal of this class is to boost your social confidence regarding wine and start you on a path to its greater exploration. You will taste six wines, and will learn wines differ based on fruit, sugar, acidity, oak aging, alcohol and other components, and how these factors influence the wine’s taste. Tickets here. (P.S. Sixteen is not a big number. Commit early if this appeals to you.)