Cook in the Moment: Roast Chicken with Mustard and Pumpernickel Croutons

Roast Chicken with Mustard (c)2012 LaDomestique.com

Only 7 days left before the move. Next Thursday we get the keys to our new place, a different apartment in a different neighborhood not far from here. My mind is cluttered with thoughts, wondering why I packed ________, which I really need right now, and how much of our furniture will actually fit in this smaller unit, measuring in at 900 square feet. Packing paper and cardboard boxes threaten to take over, while empty closets hold only the echo of memories. My husband and I spent two years here, a long time for us. I like this place, with its many windows and sun-drenched views of meadow and pond. Our lease is up, though, and the rent is only getting higher. It’s time to move on.

I get a thrill from moving on, always welcoming a fresh start- the feeling that anything is possible. My mom says it’s a trait from my dad’s side of the family. We don’t hold on to the past, we don’t dwell on memories. My dad left us when I was 12 years old, never looking back. After that, mom wanted out of the home my little sister and I grew up in- too many memories, too many ghosts. There would be many more moves, from duplexes to apartments, each time with the promise of a fresh start for the three of us. I carried with me the belief that things would get better, encouraging my mom and holding onto my sister. All that moving means there’s not a lot left of our childhood memories. I keep a box with a handful of photos and a doll my mom made for me, my sister is the caretaker of a tiny nativity in a cigar box that belonged to our dad. Now she and I are grown and married, and things have gotten better. I married an Irish rover with itchy feet, a man who gets a thrill from new places, new discoveries. I like that about him. No matter where we go, together, we are home.

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The Past Week at La Domestique

Ingredient Of The Week - Mustard (c)2011 LaDomestique.com

Last week at La Domestique was all about mustard: seed, powder, and fresh greens. It was fun to see how each form fits into the spring pantry, from prepared mustard to pickling to southern greens. I visited the Savory Spice Shop in downtown Boulder to pick up all the different types of mustard seeds and spice rubs for the barbecue. At the Boulder Farmer’s Market I grabbed some gorgeous leafy mustard greens from Red Wagon Farm. To learn more about mustard I immersed myself in books on southern cooking as well as grilling.

Here is a recap of the week:
  • Monday: Announcing mustard as ingredient of the week
  • Tuesday: 10 Ways Tuesday! Learn 10 ways to use mustard: the spice and the fresh greens
  • Wednesday: A recipe for southern style mustard greens and cornbread with pickled hot peppers
  • Thursday: Learn the story behind mustard with a photo collage and details on flavor pairing and cooking techniques. Plus an interview with tips from local spice shop owner Dan Hayward
  • Friday: The role of mustard in BBQ spice rubs. Grilled wild sockeye salmon and quinoa salad with mangoes and herbs
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Grilled Salmon With Spice Rub

How about we wrap up mustard week and kick off the weekend with a spice rub for grilled salmon? Recently I was visiting the Savory Spice Shop in downtown Boulder, Colorado, where I picked up a packet of the Pearl Street Plank Rub. Dan Hayward, the owner of Savory, created this  blend of spices for his customers who were always requesting a spice blend for grilled salmon. The Pearl Street Plank Rub is a blend of maple sugar, smoked sweet paprika, salt, chiles, garlic, and yellow mustard powder. Dan opened up the jar and encouraged me to take in the aroma. I breathed in … chipotle, smoke, sweetness, depth. He instructed me to rub the blend on a filet of salmon and grill the salmon on a cedar plank. At this moment, Pacific wild salmon season is upon us. The season for fishing wild Pacific salmon as they migrate to spawning waters begins in May/June and continues until Autumn. I picked up a gorgeous red fleshed filet of Copper River sockeye salmon at my local market.

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Storyboard: Mustard

Mustard Story Board (c)2011 LaDomestique.com

Mustard Greens

 

Mustard greens are the leaves of a plant belonging to the cabbage family. Originally grown in Asia, the mustard plant has spread across the world. The leaves are green with red or purple veins and have a flavor ranging from peppery in the small leaves to spicy and pungent in the larger leaves. Mustard greens are in season early spring until the weather warms in Summer. Small leaves are tasty in a mixed greens salad. Large leaves should be removed from the tough stem and steamed, sautéed, or simmered.

Storage

Store mustard greens in a sealed plastic bag in the fridge for up to a week. Wash them just before using.

Flavor Pairings

bacon, ham, garlic, onion, ginger, peppers, soy, sesame oil, lemon, vinegar.

 

Mustard Seeds

 

Mustard seeds are harvested from seed pods on the same plant as mustard greens. According to the reference, Herbs & Spices, the pungent taste of mustard seed is a result of the enzyme, myrosinase, which is activated by water. There are 3 types of mustard seeds: white, brown, and black. White mustard seeds (aka yellow) are the least pungent and are used to make American style mustard. Black mustard seeds can be difficult to find and replaced by brown mustard seeds which are easier to harvest commercially. Brown mustard is native to India where it’s used in mustard oil and curry dishes.

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Cook in the Moment: Mustard Greens

Mustard Greens with Sweet Cornbread & Hot Pepper Vinegar

I grew up in the southern United States.  My hometown, Fort Smith, Arkansas, is famous for Judge Parker’s hanging court and mentioned in the movie, True Grit. Greens such as mustard, collards, turnip, kale, and chard are a staple of southern cooking. According to The Gift of Southern Cooking, “Greens should always be accompanied by some type of cornbread.” Cornbread is important for sopping up the “pot likker”, which is the tasty broth left behind once the greens are cooked.  Mustard greens are traditionally cooked low and slow in smoked pork stock. However, these greens are also delicious quickly sautéed in bacon grease, garlic, and onion.

In The Gift of Southern Cooking, Scott Peacock writes that hot pepper vinegar is “the essential condiment of the Deep South, used to season greens, other vegetables, and meats.” When I think back to my childhood and going out for supper with my family, I remember hot pepper vinegar on every table, next to the ketchup. I don’t remember ever trying it, or maybe I did give it a taste and I just didn’t like it. My mother never once cooked greens in our house. Growing up in the big boom of convenience foods and the microwave, the only green leafy thing I ever ate was iceberg lettuce salad with supper each night. I did, however, grow up eating (sweet) cornbread. To this day I love it with butter and honey, just like when I was little. I haven’t had cornbread since moving to Colorado three years ago. While researching this article I came across the recipe my mother used to make. As my kitchen filled with the aroma of sweet cornbread baking in the oven, I realized how much I’ve missed it. Everyone is so obsessed with sourdough…is cornbread just not cool? I would like to start a petition for more cornbread please!

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