Tuesday, February 12, 2019

fermented mustard

Fermented Mustard
1 1/2 cups whole mustard seeds, pulsed a few times in a spice grinder
4 tsp sea salt
1 cup raw apple cider vinegar (the bottles that says "with mother")
1/2 cup filtered water (no chlorine is key)
2 tbsp raw sauerkraut juice
1/4 cup verjus*

Mix all ingredients in a glass jar. Leave slightly covered at room temp for 1-3 weeks. Store in refrigerator.

I was watching It's Alive, because fermenting things is one of my most favorite things. Seriously, it makes me feel like a kitchen witch every time I can transform a thing into another thing that doesn't go bad because it rotted in the BEST way.

The episode where Brad ferments mustard really blew me away. I had never thought of fermenting mustard seeds and immediately wanted to know what it tasted like.

The first batch I made was much hotter and had some ground mustard, garlic and onion powder. With this recipe I really wanted to see how paired down I could get it. The grind on the seeds is pretty course; I pulsed them just a few times to break most of them up.

For the first few days the mix smells so strong its almost painful. After about a week it started to mellow out, but it was still hot, think Chinese mustard hot. 3 weeks in is when I decided it was done and moved it to the fridge. The finished product tastes like mustard, but better. It is hot, but just at the start, then chills out.

I have used it in marinades, sauces, and salad dressings (really great with a bit of honey, lemon, olive oil).

*Verjus is a pretty special and hard to find ingredient.You can replace it with some sugar - the goal is to give the bacteria something to kick start the fermentation process.
I happened to have some around because I was recreating a medieval fish recipe. It is made from unfermented green grapes. It has a wonderful bright sour flavor that is sweeter than vinegar. (It was also used in cocktails when limes were difficult to procure. It makes a FANTASTIC margarita!)

Sunday, January 6, 2019


On New Year's Day, I said aloud: "every time I have gained weight, my body has been protecting me."
This is a realization I came to a while ago, but voicing it has changed so many things.

2018 was the year that I decided to love my body, exactly as it is.

For most humans, this is radical self love, for those managing chronic disease and pain... it is something I don't have the words to describe.

Seeing my body as working with me, not against me, shifted something. My body and I started working together in a new way.

I thought I loved it before, but all of my love was conditional:
-I love my body, but I wish my stomach didn't have rolls
-I love my body, except for my knee/back/chest/broken toe
-I love my body, why can't it love gluten

The lists continued and I never really loved all of me. I hated gaining weight after surgery/injury/depression and saw it as a moral failing or lack of will power, or some new task I needed to accomplish. When my body was doing what I needed, conserving resources so I could heal. 

I honestly am not sure this is the space to share this, but I also know how many folks struggle with eating disorders brought on or intensified by food-related health issues (raises hand).
I also know that this time of year, we are bombarded with shame, guilt, marketing to "undo" the holidays or "regain" control over our bodies.

Diets have been proven over and over to not work to create and maintain weight loss, and weight is not the sole indicator of health. The trendy new "clean eating" is another form of disordered eating, which is very dangerous to those in recovery for eating disorders.

Today, I love my body. I love it for what it has done and what it is doing. It turned food into energy so I could think this, type this, and share this. That is truly amazing!

I am sharing with you my only resolution for this year, to thank my body for existing and supporting me every day. I take a moment every morning and evening to say it aloud, to be in a moment of complete gratitude. (I am not saying this while I am washing my face and wondering how adult acne hasn't been cured, I am not saying it while pushing on a sore muscle or painful spot.)
I am holding a few seconds or a minute of just pure gratitude.

There are parts of my body that I would like to work differently. I want to be more flexible, I excited to be able to feel stronger, and having better posture means fewer migraines. Instead of being frustrated that I am not these things yet, I am actively saying thank you for every step my body is taking working towards these goals.

Examples of gratitude:
+I am so grateful for making it through 26 minutes of yoga and am proud of listening to my body and taking 2 breaks when I needed them
+I am so lucky for being able to have learned things in PT that keep my back safe, happy, and healthy and I use them every day
+Lymphatic systems are amazing! I am so glad mine is working and clearing out this cold.

It is as simple to be upset that I was sick, or dread exercise, or be frustrated that I couldn't push through something without a break. Or, I could see the joy and accomplishment.

I am human, there are days I am going to probably get it wrong, but I am going to forgive myself and step right back into saying thank you - thanks for having a body that can make mistakes, learn, and do something new and different.

Wishing you your best year filled with love, delicious food, joy, and abundance.