Wednesday, March 7, 2012


One of the many things I have to avoid during this elimination diet (and also during the reintroduction stage) is sulphites. They are not something I generally seek out, but equally, I don't necessarily try to avoid them either. Most of the things I usually eat with sulphites also had other prohibited foods like wheat, corn, egg, dairy or soy ingredients in them.

For whatever reason, I've been crazy about sauteed, sliced Brussels sprouts since my pregnancy, and I like to add a spoon of dijon towards the end of cooking them. My mustard doesn't have any prohibited ingredients in it except sulphites. In fact, I was shocked to discover it's pretty much only mustard powder, water and vinegar. I thought for sure there had to be some oil in it, and maybe even some egg. Anyways, I started to wonder what might be involved in attempting to make it myself.

Turns out, not much. Once again, a store-bought product that I had always assumed was far too labour-intensive or time-consuming for the home cook is totally not. This reinforces my current conspiracy-theory-thinking that everything we think we know is really just advertising transmitted through generations. (Just imagine the ad in the early 20th century for Grey Poupon or French's... "You don't want to slave away in your kitchen making mustard. Buy our mustard instead and just use it whenever you want." Or something like that...Actually, I couldn't resist trying to track down early ads for French's, which showed up in 1926, although the mustard was first sold in 1904. Check this out!

The text says:
"What woman doesn't like having the reputation of being able 'to do things' in the table she sets for family or friends? -- This mustard, fine and creamy, in your sauces, savories, salads -- in your cooking -- in your cold dishes -- will help along such good report. Wherever you use French's it adds a touch of irresistible flavor that banishes the commonplace. You will find the booklet offered very interesting.

No other Mustard has such Flavor"

Is it just me, or is there a whole lotta double entendres happening in that text?)

Anyways, I made mustard. I followed these instructions, and it couldn't have been easier. I even ground the mustard seeds by hand in my new mortar and pestle. I let it sit in the fridge overnight. I tasted it the next day, just by itself, because I was so curious, and it blew my head off with its heat. I did enjoy it -- sparingly -- on a salmon sandwich the other day (with quinoa, gluten-free bread) but it's really a bit hot and I'm not sure how to cool it down other than by applying heat.

So yesterday I bought some fresh steelhead trout and decided to try smearing the mustard on it and baking it in the oven (usually my husband barbecues our fish). I was nervous, as I haven't actually handled fresh fish myself but I'm getting more comfortable with the I-don't-know-how-to-do-this-and-it-feels-really-weird-and-unpleasant feeling and mostly ignored it. I mixed in a bit of maple syrup to tone the mustard down a bit, because I was worried the oven just wouldn't do it enough.

While the fish baked, I got on with the vegetables for my pasta with leeks, greens and pink fish. At the end, I flaked about half my trout into the leeks and greens and saved the other half for whatever we wanted. Mmmm, that fish was delicious. Like Homer, I wish I was eating that fish RIGHT NOW. But it disappeared way too quickly. I will totally do that again.

(I actually took this after I'd eaten most of it, so it doesn't look as good as it tasted. But look at the bowl! Five of them for only $1 each at the Salvation Army and they're from before 1891!)

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