This is funny. And it’s a great ingredient too. It’s mustard; Grey Poupon, in this instance.
When I have a great ingredient I am always inspired to cook. In fact that is usually the genesis of all my cooking. Shopping for great ingredients is where it all begins for me. I have enough cooking know-how that I don’t need to start with a recipe (though I can be inspired that way too). I usually just go out to my favourite market or to my fridge, pantry or garden (well, to be honest the latter has a pretty brief window around here) and see what looks good.
Here in Calgary we have a great mustard expert, the very talented chef Desmond Johnston. When he found out that Alberta actually grows a lot of the world’s mustard seeds (see Canada Harvest mustard seeds story here)and then promptly ships them to Dijon, France to be turned into things like Grey Poupon, he thought, why don’t we make our own? He and his wife Karen Davis started doing just that in 1995 and in 2001 they started their company Brassica Mustard . Des is one of my favourite chefs to work with. He brings incredible passion, fun and energy to everything he does and that translates to Brassica mustard bursting with flavour. I’m proud to be friends with Karen and Des. They’re lovely.
Here’s a few photos of some fun times we’ve enjoyed together.
Des with Paul Rogalski at Slow Food Calgary’s Feast of Fields 2008
When I used to run Feast of Fields for Slow Food Calgary, I could always count on Des to be there to help with set up (he’s only pretending to pout)
Des is a great outdoorsman & frequently forages & hunts
Here are some fun things to do with mustard, whether it is Grey Poupon, Alberta’s homegrown brand Brassica or otherwise.
1. Easy and Elegant Honey Mustard salad dressing - Put 1 tsp of mustard in a bowl, add 1 Tbsp of your local honey and 1 Tbsp of champagne vinegar and then gradually drizzle in 1/3 cup of organic canola oil or camelina oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
2. Pork Tenderloin with Mustard Herb Crust - Put 1/4 cup of mustard in a bowl and add 1 Tbsp chopped garlic, 1 tsp each chopped rosemary, sage and cracked black peppercorns. Stir and then coat a pork tenderloin with this mix. Put in oven for 45 minutes at 375F. Juices will be slightly pink but let it rest tented in foil for 10 minutes and then slice it and it will be tender and juicy.
3. Always Perfect Beef Tenderloin - Put 1/2 cup of mustard in a bowl and add 2 Tbsps olive oil, 1 Tbsp of minced garlic, a handful of your favourite chopped fresh herbs and about 1 Tbsp of cracker black pepper and 1/2 tsp of salt and stir. Coat the outside of a 3 – 4 lb beef tenderloin roast with this mix, set it on a rack in a roasting pan and place it in an oven preheated to 450F. Immediately lower the oven to 400F and cook it for 35 minutes. Remove, tent with foil, let rest for 10 minutes then carve for medium rare always perfect beef tenderloin.
4. Mustard Meltdown - Add mustard to your next grilled cheese sandwich with a few thinly sliced pears, some prosciutto and either gouda or Gruyère.
5. Bold Balsamic Dressing - Put 1 tsp of mustard in a bowl and add 1 Tbsp of aged Balsamic from Modena (should be over 12 years old to be called aged), 1 Tbsp of Canadian Maple Syrup, and then gradually drizzle in about 1/3 cup of the very best Extra Virgin Olive Oil you own. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Now your good to go with another great ingredient to help you savour food and savour life.