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~ Hey, Honey -- Pass the Honey-Mustard Dressing ~

IMG_3523Honey mustard.  It's one of the simplest condiments in the food world to make, and, I bow to the mustard makers that invented it.  In my kitchen, I use it as a salad dressing, a sandwich spread, a dip for vegetables, and occasionally, a glaze for baked ham.  In the '80's, when my kids were in elementary school, there was always a jar of it on my refrigerator door.  When we were traveling, if an eatery had chicken tenders and honey-mustard sauce on their list of menu options, my three boys were happy campers -- given the choice, all three of them preferred it to ranch dressing, so, that's quite an endorsement.  As for me, I love it on onion rings and Philly-style soft pretzels.

IMG_3500A bit about honey:  The earliest written reference to honey dates back to the Egyptians in 5500 B.C., but, honeybees were making honey long before historical records were written.  Only relatively recently, mid 19th Century, did sugar become available and affordable to the average Westerner.  Prior to that, it was a very expensive luxury for the wealthy, because it had to be imported over long distances. Honeybees native to Asia, were brought to the New World by the Colonists in 1622, and honey was their primary sweetening agent for tea, cakes, cookies and candies. Once it got introduced to the Native Americans, honey became a popular item to trade too.

IMG_3502A bit about mustard:  Mustard is the world's oldest manmade condiment. There are recipes for mustard that date back to 42 A.D. in Roman writings, but, it wasn't popularized until their seeds were exported to Gaul (France).  By the 13th Century, food peddlers were selling their homemade mustard concoctions all over France, and, in the 16th Century, legal protection was given to the mustard makers and their secret recipes (which varied greatly from maker to maker).  In time, a few mustard makers began experimenting with substituting green grape juice ("verjus" -- "green juice") for vinegar, which produced a milder taste we now associate with their white-wine-made Dijon.

IMG_3514A bit about honey-mustard:  It was only a matter of time before the mustard makers added a bit of honey to sweeten their Dijon a bit, to gentle it down even further.  Next, French chef's began adding their mayonnaise (a French invention) to the honey-mustard, along with other ingredients:  various herbs (basil, dill, rosemary, thyme), garlic and even chile peppers for some heat. I'd say that was the unofficial start of the honey-mustard dressing/sauce industry, and, to this day, honey mustard dressing is typically made using just three ingredients: Dijon mustard, honey, and, mayo. That said, there are many types of honey-mustard because there are many types of honey and mustard.

Three seriously basic "staple" ingredients:

IMG_3490Honey + Dijon + Mayonnaise = Honey Mustard Dressing

IMG_3495To make basic honey mustard dressing, in a 2-cup size food-storage container, whisk together:

1/4  cup honey

1/4  cup Dijon mustard

1/4  cup high-quality mayonnaise

Taste.  If you want it sweeter, whisk in more honey, by the teaspoonful, to please your palate.  You've just made honey-mustard dressing.

IMG_3497My favorite add-ins, which are entirely optional, are:

1/8  teaspoon black pepper

1/8  teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/8  teaspoon paprika, or smoked paprika (if it's a smokey flavor I'm looking for occasionally)

Cover and refrigerate, for at least one hour, to allow the flavors to marry.  The dressing will thicken up a bit in the refrigerator too.

The perfect consistency to drizzle over salad or use as a dip:

IMG_3528Poached or roasted chicken chef salad anyone?

IMG_3534Hey, Honey -- Pass the Honey-Mustard Dressing:  Recipe yields 3/4 cup salad dressing or dipping sauce.

Special Equipment List:  2-cup size food storage container w/tight fitting lid; whisk

IMG_5989Cook's Note:  No matter how easy or complicated, recipes that have a history or a lore are always on my short list of blog posts to share because, for me, they are the most fun to write.  My recipe for ~ Pretty in Pink: Thousand Islands Salad Dressing~ is one such recipe.  It's also yet another salad dressing/sandwich spread/dipping sauce that I am never without.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2017)


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