Tuesday, April 26, 2016

South Carolina Mustard Sauce

South Carolina Mustard Sauce 

My husband doesn’t really care for the typical sweet tomato barbecue sauce. Most of the time, he’ll pass when we eat ribs, pulled pork, etc. A few years ago we catered our anniversary party from a local barbecue restaurant. They assured me that none of their ribs were brined and agreed to put all the sauces on the side. For a change of pace, I asked for some mustard sauce in addition to the red stuff. I’d never had mustard BBQ sauce, and, I was pleasantly surprised. I really liked it, and so did my husband. That experience sent me on a search for a mustard-based sauce I could adapt to low sodium cooking.

Happily, I came across a recipe at Serious Eats that fits the bill. It’s super easy to make, is very flavorful, and is easily adapted to low sodium. But, like so many things loso, you’ve got to have the right ingredients. Since it calls for quite a bit of mustard, I use Westbrae NSA Stoneground Mustard. It’s great stuff. Absolutely no sodium but with plenty of mustard flavor. It’s stoneground, so It’s not exactly like neon-yellow ballpark mustard. But it’s very tasty and perfect for those times when you need more than just a smear of mustard on a sandwich.

Low Sodium Ingredients

I used to be able to get Westbrae NSA Stoneground Mustard at my local grocery store, but as often happens when dealing with loso products, the store no longer carries it. No worries, though. I can order it from Amazon (which I just did a few days ago) or from Healthy Heart Market. It’s one of those products that I’m willing to spend more on just to make sure I have it on hand.

Another “salty” ingredient is Worcestershire Sauce. Luckily, you normally don’t use a lot of Worcestershire sauce in most recipes, rarely more than 1-2 teaspoons. I’m fortunate that a couple of local grocery stores carry French’s Reduced Sodium version (45 mg sodium/tsp). There’s also a Lea & Perrins reduced sodium product available (same sodium content as French’s). And Healthy Heart Market carries Robbie’s brand which is only 20 mg sodium/tsp.

Finally, the recipe calls for a bit of ketchup. Fortunately, for all of us, most grocery stores now carry either Heinz or Hunt’s NSA ketchup. So it’s easy to find a low sodium substitute.

Pulled Pork with SC Mustard Sauce

The sauce is a great dipping sauce for typical barbecue fare – pulled pork, ribs, chicken, etc. And it’s also good with oven roasted or pan fried chicken or pork chops. It’s nice drizzled over roasted vegetables, especially potatoes. The Serious Eats recipe makes a lot. Even though we truly enjoy the sauce and it keeps well in the fridge, we simply can’t get through that large portion quickly enough. So I’ve cut the recipe in half.

Grilled Chicken with SC Mustard Sauce

South Carolina Mustard Sauce
Adapted from Serious Eats

½ Recipe:

¼ C + 2 T low sodium mustard (I use Westbrae NSA Stoneground Mustard)
¼ C honey
2 T apple cider vinegar
1 T low sodium ketchup
1½ tsp brown sugar (use less to cut sweetness)
1 tsp low sodium Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp hot sauce (I use Original Red Tabasco but Healthy Heart Market offers several NSA hot sauces)

Combine ingredients and chill overnight before use. (If you can’t chill overnight, at least chill for an hour or two before use.)

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Swanson Unsalted Stock vs Swanson Unsalted Broth

Swanson's New Unsalted Chicken Broth

A few weeks ago I discovered that Swanson now makes two types of unsalted products: stock AND broth. When I first noticed it, I thought I had mis-read the labels. But upon closer inspection, I realized that there were, indeed, two distinct unsalted products.

Here are the facts:

Swanson's Unsalted Stocks

Swanson Unsalted Chicken Stock: 130 mg sodium/cup
Ingredients: Chicken Stock, Dehydrated Chicken, Natural Flavoring, Chicken Fat.
Swanson Unsalted Beef Stock: 150 mg sodium/cup
Ingredients: Water, Beef Stock, Yeast Extract, Natural Flavoring, Honey, Sugar, Onion Juice Concentrate, Tomato Paste, Lactic Acid, Beef Fat, Beef Extract

Only 45 mg Sodium/Cup of Unsalted Chicken Broth

Ingredients: Chicken Stock, Contains Less Than 2% of: Yeast Extract, Dehydrated 
Chicken, Natural Flavoring, Carrot Juice Concentrate, Celeriac Juice Concentrate, Chicken Broth, Chicken Fat, Onion Extract
Swanson Unsalted Beef Broth: 75 mg sodium/cup
Ingredients: Water, Beef Stock, Contains Less than 2% of: Yeast Extract, Natural Flavoring, Onion Juice Concentrate, Beef Fat, Carrot Juice Concentrate, Celeriac Juice Concentrate, Beef Extract, Onion Extract

According to cooking resources, stock is usually made with bones – a lot more bones than meat, and often no vegetables. As a result, refrigerated stock turns into a thick, dense gelatinous  substance. Broth, on the other hand, is made with more meat and vegetables. There may be some bones involved, but the end result is looser when refrigerated.

This is what Swanson has to say about its unsalted stocks: “100% natural Swanson Unsalted Chicken/Beef Cooking Stock is a full-bodied cooking base with a rich and savory chicken/beef flavor. With no added salt and seasoning, it is the perfect foundation for flavor creation.”

Here's what it says about the new unsalted broths: “NEW Swanson Unsalted Chicken/Beef Broth adds a richness of flavor, while allowing the natural taste of the food to come through. With no salt added, this broth provides the perfect foundation to work from, letting you make your dishes the way you like them.”

The broth ingredients include carrot juice and celeriac juice, neither of which is found in the stocks. But the biggest difference is the sodium content. The unsalted broths are much, much lower in sodium.

Sodium per 1 Cup Serving:

Chicken Stock – 130 mg Chicken Broth – 45 mg
Beef Stock – 150 mg Beef Broth –  75 mg

So if your stores carry the new unsalted broths, they're the best low sodium options. However, the unsalted stocks are still a good choice. They’re much lower in sodium than the so-called lower sodium versions of broths or stocks.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Mrs. Dash Table Blends: Sweet Southern BBQ & Roasted Garlic with Herbs

I tried both these salt-free blends several months ago and became an immediate fan. I normally don’t use many Mrs. Dash products. (I prefer Penzeys for NSA spice blends.) But I decided to give these two a try, and I’m glad I did.

First, the Sweet Southern BBQ. Years ago, in my college days and way before low sodium, I used to buy Lawry’s barbecue flavored seasoned salt to sprinkle on cottage cheese. (This combo was my emergency diet mainstay.) The flavored salt tasted just like the stuff sprinkled on BBQ potato chips.

Sweet Southern BBQ & Roasted Garlic with Herbs

When we first started eating low sodium, I could buy BBQ and lemon pepper flavored Terra brand unsalted potato chips. But, alas, they’ve stopped making them. (Unfortunately, that often happens with favorite low sodium products.) So, for years now, I’ve been missing that BBQ flavored spice blend. But, no more!

Mrs. Dash Sweet Southern BBQ Table Blend has captured the barbecue flavor I so fondly remember. It’s great on cottage cheese, grilled chicken or pork chops, oven baked French fries, etc.

There’s only one drawback – It has a tendency to clump together in the shaker bottle. That’s because of the sweeteners used in the blend: sugar, tomato powder, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, dried molasses, and honey powder. So I put one of those moisture-absorbing silica packets (from supplements) inside the jar to help keep it free-flowing and eliminate moisture from opening the jar. I also keep the jar stored in my freezer.

Sweet Southern BBQ on Roasted Boneless/Skinless Chicken

On to the Roasted Garlic with Herbs. I know what you’re thinking. Who needs another garlic & herb blend? But this one is slightly different. Most garlic & herb blends are super strong with the garlic powder and weak with the herbs. That’s the reason I gave up on them. I figured I might as well use just plain old-fashioned garlic powder.

What makes this blend different is that the garlic flavor is not overpowering. For one thing, the garlic is roasted, so it’s a lighter flavor. For another thing, the blend is finely ground. It’s meant to be for table use, so it’s easy to get just a sprinkle. It just seems more delicate and subtle to me, yet you still get a good garlic flavor.

I especially like to use it with cooked vegetables ‒ a sprinkle and then toss them with a bit of butter. It’s also good on grilled or roasted meats. And it makes a fine last minute garlic bread spread when mixed with butter.