Homemade Condiments

I spend Sunday afternoons doing lunch prep, weeknight meal prep, and making fun stuff like condiments. Once I learned how crazy easy it is to make some of the foods I use all the time, I became an evangelist for saving money on certain items (dear every friend I have, I do apologize for my behavior, and, look!, I made you mustard!). Continue reading “Homemade Condiments”

Condiments Beyond Mustard

Last week, I confessed my love for mustard. But you know the old saying: woman cannot live on mustard alone. Thankfully, there are many other condiments — gluten-free condiments! — that are ready, willing, and able to serve as you prepare delicious meals.

Because my weeknight dinners are always quick meals, a stash of condiments helps me add flavor, create sauces, and fix mistakes quickly. Even if dinner is just a plain chicken breast or piece of fish, the right condiment can turn ordinary meals into something delicious in mere moments. Continue reading “Condiments Beyond Mustard”

On Mustard

I am going to introduce a controversial topic here: my favorite condiment.

I won’t keep you guessing. I love mustard beyond all reason. My refrigerator is an embarrassment of mustard styles. Except honey mustard. I don’t understand the concept of honey mustard. Heck, I’m teetering on the edge of making my own mustard (someone, anyone, push me!).

For the record, I am not a ketchup fan. I wouldn’t even have the stuff in my house if it weren’t for the sake of maintaining a happy marriage. Someone I married a dude who reflexively ketchups just about potato item he sees. To each his own, I suppose.

In addition to the tangy heat mustard naturally has, it’s a low-calorie condiment. Unlike, oh mayo, a condiment I’ve been learning to love in moderation. And, of course, unless things have gone horribly wrong, mustard is gluten free, making it something you can trust in your kitchen.

Here are some ideas for incorporating mustard into your cooking repertoire (though I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that one of my favorite party dishes is sausage with a mustard dip):

  • Barbecue Sauce: Yeah, I love my mustard in barbecue sauces. I’m not alone. Use this sauce on everything. Literally. Everything.
  • Braised Dishes: I love to braise chicken in a mustard sauce. Even more than enjoying the sauce with that night’s dinner, I love having leftover sauce for lunches. This is a perfect comfort food dish. Serve the chicken over rice, potatoes, or quinoa.
  • Cream Sauces: The chicken dish above is essentially a cream sauce, but what about other cream(y) sauces? Like, oh, this delicious sounding egg dish with mustard-creamed spinach. Skip the breadcrumb topping unless you have gluten-free crumbs handy (I keep the ends from Udi’s loaves in freezer to make breadcrumbs on the fly).
  • Marinade: Dry mustard, Dijon, or even a traditional yellow mustard are perfect additions to marinades. Pork, fish, and chicken are perfect candidates for mustard-based marinades. I’ve even made lamb chops this way.
  • Mashed Potatoes: Oh yeah! Is there a reason why you shouldn’t add mustard to your mashed potatoes? No, not a single one.
  • Meat Rub or Glaze: Of course, you know the fun of including dry mustard in your spice rubs. But what I love is using it as a coating for pork chops or salmon. If you’re breading your pork chops, incorporate the mustard into base layer.
  • Potato Salad: My favorite potato salad features a tangy mustard-based vinaigrette instead of a creamy mayonnaise dressing (you could add a bit of mayo or Greek yogurt if you like that creaminess). The warm potatoes absorb lots of flavor from the vinaigrette, so be sure to reserve some for tossing with the potatoes right before serving. Needless to say, a grainy Dijon is perfect here!
  • Stews: I add mustard to crockpot dishes like braised beef or pork. Again, the tanginess enhances flavors. When I make a beef stew, mustard is one of my secret ingredients.
  • Veggie Flavor Enhancer: Mustard can be used in many ways to amp up the flavor of vegetables. It’s great with Brussels sprouts, and, confession, I’d probably mix up my own honey mustard for roasted Brussels sprouts. Or, if I weren’t in a sweet mood, this recipe from Michael Symon would do the trick.

What are your favorite ways to use mustard? Tell me!

Tip of the Week

Mustard, due to the vinegar used to make it, lasts a good long time (well, beyond the “enjoy by” date given by manufacturers). You can store an unopened container in your pantry for about a year. Store opened containers in the refrigerator for about a year. Do not use mustard where the liquid has significantly separated from the other ingredients or mustard, gone dark, and/or that smells “off”.

Menu of the Week

Of course, this week’s menu features lots of mustard! The chicken in the Dijon sauce is a favorite of mine — you can customize the dish for any style of chicken you like. It also makes incredible leftovers. Spoon a bit of the sauce over rice and make your mouth happy!

The addition of mustard to the creamed spinach amps up the flavor — bitter greens are greatly enhanced with a bit of mustard. I prefer to use coconut milk instead of the traditional cream because I like the subtle sweetness it brings to a dish.

  • Chicken with Dijon Sauce
  • Mustard-Coconut Milk Creamed Spinach
  • Rice or Potatoes for Absorbing Extra Sauce

Making Mashed Potatoes Even Better!

It’s probably no secret that I am a carb eater. Rice, potatoes, and, in the old days, sourdough bread were always the stars of my eating repertoire. While things have changed in my world, they haven’t changed that much. I still believe potatoes are one of nature’s (gluten-free) perfect foods.

And in my pantheon of potato dishes, I rank mashed potatoes at the top. Not only are they delicious, but they also remind me of my grandmother, an amazing cook. Even my mother, a dedicated non-cook, makes great mashed potatoes. It’s clearly a family tradition! Continue reading “Making Mashed Potatoes Even Better!”

Gluten-Free Pulled Pork

I think of pulled pork as the beginning of a very good week of leftovers (see this article for ideas on what to do after you’ve made delicious pulled pork). It’s also a truly bargain dish — pork shoulder (also known as pork butt) goes on sale frequently, in quantities that make leftovers a no brainer.

If I were Southern, I suspect I’d be appalled at my version, but since I’m Californian with a full-time job, I will confess the ease of throwing pork into the crockpot and letting it simmer away all day is my idea of a good time. Walking into the house after a long day and smelling dinner? Priceless.

Since I’m committing heresy left and right with the recipe, I’ll confess to another secret: I don’t brown my pork before putting it into the crockpot. Phew! So happy to get that off my chest. I simply toss it, well seasoned (salt generously and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight), into the crockpot. The rest of the seasoning is in the braising liquid.

(Yes, pulled pork is naturally gluten-free, but some people add soy sauce to their braising liquid. I like the idea of adding that additional level of umami, but will remind you to use to GF soy sauce or tamari!)

See notes below for ideas on making pulled pork in your pressure cooker!

Gluten-Free Stuffed Pork Chops with Spinach and Gouda

I love spinach in all of its incarnations — a simple salad, steamed, sauteed with other flavors. And, of course, stuffed into a pork chop or chicken breast. This recipe is filled with flavor — from the pork chop, the horseradish-spiked mustard, the spinach, and, of course, the smoky Gouda cheese.

Gluten-free panko crumbs add crispiness to the dish, making it a bit elegant. And it proves that a gluten-free dish doesn’t have to be boring!

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

One thing I’ve learned from my regular delivery of organic fruits and veggies is that sweet potatoes are pretty much a year-round food in Southern California. After trying my friend Roxanne’s incredible sweet potato salad at a dinner she hosted, I begged for her recipe when it became apparent I had a glut of sweet potatoes.

She sent two of her favorites, and I found myself blending them together (of course!). Needless to say, this is the type of salad that invites creativity. I’ve included some suggestions at the end of the recipe and invite you to use your own imagination for variations.