Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Dulcet - A gluten-free product review

How excited was I when the good people over at Dulcet contacted me to 1) let me know the majority of their line of condiments, dressings, and spice mixes are gluten free, and 2) they would be happy to let me try a few samples? (I know, if only all questions were this easy!)

Dulcet makes several types of spice mixes, salad dressings, mustards, marinades, and (their newest addition) ketchups. All of their products, except for their Asian sauce, are gluten free. They not only have their products in several stores, they have a stand at the Portland Farmer’s Market every Saturday. I had, of course, seen them at the market, but made the silly assumption their products, like so many dressings, contained gluten. If there is something I’m learning these days, it’s to not make assumptions – in doing so, I may miss out on some delicious food! In addition to this post, check out their beautiful website where they list the numerous awards their products have received. Beware, though, it will make you hungry!

The package of samples I received included Curry Ketchup, Moroccan Cooking and Spice Rub, Madras Curry Mustard, and Tangy and Peppery Moroccan Sauce and Marinade. I was really excited to try them and for our first use of them, we stayed fairly well “in the lines” in order to get a good feel for how they taste, but I also offer suggestions on how they might be used when you want to get creative.

The first one we tried was the Moroccan Cooking and Spice Rub. It came with a recipe for roasted carrots and we happened to have a number of large carrots on hand, so I cut them up into sticks and tossed them with some olive oil and a few tablespoons of the spice mix. I roasted them at 375F for about 35 minutes.

The carrots were delicious. The spice is somewhat like a curry and has a bit of a spicy kick. I can imagine this spice going really well with a variety of things in addition to roasted vegetables – pork roast, grilled chicken, sautéed vegetables in coconut milk, or even mixed in with scrambled eggs before cooking. We are definitely fans of this spice mix and are excited at all of the new cooking possibilities it opens up!

The next products we tried were the Curry Ketchup and the Madras Curry Mustard. Here’s the German girl in me again, but when I saw them, I immediately thought, “Bratwurst.” Around the Köln (Cologne) area of Germany, a really common street vendor dish is curry-wurst, which is made with sliced bratwurst cooked in curry ketchup and served over French fries. We made sweet-potato fries in the oven and cooked up some German-style bratwursts to eat with our Curry Ketchup and Madras Curry Mustard. I have to admit I am not much of a mustard fan, but I enjoyed both the Ketchup and the Mustard. The ketchup is thick and the flavor is surprisingly well-balanced. Ben is a mustard fan and could not get enough of this mustard, but didn’t care too much for the ketchup. And, again, these products could be used for so much more than simply condiments! I can see brushing the mustard on various meats while grilling or adding a bit to your potato salad for a different twist.

Last, but certainly not least, we tried the Tangy and Peppery Moroccan Sauce and Marinade. I sautéed some zucchini, broccoli raab, mushroom, and onion in a pan. As the vegetables started to soften, I poured in just enough of the sauce to cover the vegetables, turned the heat to low, covered them up and let them simmer for about 10 minutes. The package directions say to simply add to the vegetables and serve, but I felt the simmering time would allow the vegetables to absorb some of the flavor of the sauce. I served the vegetables over cooked brown rice. As the name suggests, this sauce is pretty tangy, but also pretty sweet. We really liked it, and will use it again, but it tastes a bit too sweet for my palate (keep in mind, though, that I almost never use sugar in my cooking and use less sugar in my baking than most folks and Ben didn’t think it was too sweet at all). This sauce would be a great marinade for chicken or as a cooking sauce for fish. Tonight, for example, I will be cooking foil packets in the oven with Tilapia, zucchini, and this sauce.

I am so glad companies like Dulcet are making natural products, which are naturally gluten free, and are amazingly delicious! Go ahead, try them out, and expand your spice and sauce horizons.

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