Raspberry Mustard – Delish!

We went to Beer Belly restaurant in Los Angeles and the highlight of the meal was the raspberry mustard we used for dipping the duck fat french fries in. I wanted to try my hand at making my own. I looked around online to see what makes a mustard. Most are mustard seed (of course!) vinegar and oil. The raspberry mustard at Beer Belly had a “jam’ish” quality to it. So here was my first attempt. It worked.

 

4 ounces of Raspberry Jam, homemade is great; lacking that, I used Smuckers.

4 ounces – Oil (I used peanut, EVOO should work too)

4 ounces white wine vinegar

4 tablespoons fresh whole Mustard seed

 

All ingredients room temperature. I put the entire mess into my blender and let it rip for about 5 minutes. The mustard seeds contain a natural emulsifier. Enough of the seeds were broken up to combine the jam, oil and vinegar into a creamy, smooth sauce of happiness. The seeds released just enough mustardy heat to play off the tang and sweetness of the jam and vinegar. It worked!

Delish!

 

Laser Alexandrite #2

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Laser Alexandrite #2, a set on Flickr.

Laser Alexandrite precision cut by expert stonecutter Ray Duplechain.

JADE HUNTING

One of the things I like to make are stone spheres. I find it very relaxing to take a wild rock from the hills of the Mojave (or anywhere really) and cut and grind on it until I have a shiny new stone sphere. As part of this hobby I need to go get new rocks. I had heard of “magnetite in black jade” and saw some gorgeous images of cabochons someone had cut and then they gold plated the magnetite part. I was hooked gold plated magnetite really shows off the jade. I started researching this project in 2011. I have spoken to tons of folks and read all the gem hounding books.

The weather was nice today so I humped it out to the “spot” with enough knowledge to get within 100 yards or so. If you think about it a circle with a 100 yard radius is a pretty big area on the side of a mountain. Now being fat and out of shape wasn’t useful, but I was determined to give it a go. My trusty toyota 4X4 got me pretty high up onto the mountain. When I got to a spot I could not pass I was lucky it was also a good spot to do a three point turnaround. I did this, parked and locked the brakes. I added some chock stones to be sure my truck would be there in a few hours when I returned.

jade-up-high

Above is an image of the mountain I was on. The big white stain at the top right is the old Verd Antique Marble quarry. It is not played out, but the remaining beautiful stones are either pretty small or very hard to extract from the cliff they are perched in. My truck was about a quarted mile hike from the quarry. The hike includes a 500 foot gain in elevation (or so). I humped it over there pretty good. I started humping the cliff and soon I could see an obvious red stained seam of stone. Because the jade was supposed to have magnetite included I figured that should be my first try. The hillside I was on was VERY steep. I was pretty bushed when I arrived. I sat on a boulder for a breather and looked at the surrounding outcrop. Here is what I saw:

I almost sat on these actinolite crystals!

I almost sat on these actinolite crystals!

Another crystal spray close by. I added the battery for color and size.

Another crystal spray close by. I added the battery for color and size.

OK, now we are talking. Actinolite = Nephrite chemically. So, red stained actinolite = Scott is close to Magnetite in Jade. I like that math! Next I hammered and pulled and rolled and turned over many stones looking for obvious magnetite. I found none. So, failing that I looked for some blocky chunks I could make into cubes for spheremaking. I filled my pack as heavy as I dared and humped them out. Here are the rest of the images.

This is a view from the jade. The red stained rocks lower right are the jade.

This is a view from the jade. The red stained rocks lower right are the jade.

Someone said they hoped I would have jade under my feet. Well, here is the proof I did! Also overlooking the cliff below!

Someone said they hoped I would have jade under my feet. Well, here is the proof I did! Also overlooking the cliff below!

A nice little flower I saw. There were others. But I can't see the screen on my camera in daytime with polarized sunglasses on. This is all you get!

A nice little flower I saw. There were others. But I can’t see the screen on my camera in daytime with polarized sunglasses on. This is all you get!

And last, the jade I brought home. 28# was plenty in the backpack. Doesn't look like much now.

And last, the jade I brought home. 28# was plenty in the backpack. Doesn’t look like much now.