Cook in the Moment: Not Your Average Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp

I’m so excited about this recipe I can hardly stand it! Originally inspired by the the article, “Come Together” in the June issue of Whole Living magazine, I have gone down a different road. This week at La Domestique, I’m cooking with oats, which are essential to the topping of a traditional crisp. Have you ever made a crisp before? You should! Crisps are simple to bake yet make you weak in the knees yummy. Comforting oozing hot fruit topped with a golden, lightly crunchy crust- that’s a crisp. Interpret it in your own way. Try a combination you imagined in your mind. Crisps are a great way to try new things and come out successful. What can go wrong? Hot fruit, crispy topping, done. Easy peasy.

When I set about making this crisp I had some deep thoughts. I meditated over how to make the strawberry rhubarb combo uniquely mine. Give it a new hairdo. Maybe some fun new shoes to jazz things up a bit. Then it came to me: fennel seed and black pepper. I know it sounds crazy but it’s crazy good!


10 Ways Tuesdays: Oats

Banner - Oats (c)2011

I’ve come up with 10 ways to use oats in your spring pantry:


1.  Homemade Granola

If you haven’t tried homemade granola, you’re really missing out. The aroma fills the house: cinnamon, nuts, honey…heavenly. It’s the same feeling I get when chocolate chip cookies are baking in the oven- a warm and comforting feeling. I don’t stick to recipes, but instead throw whatever nuts and dried fruits from the cupboard into the mix. Using olive oil yields a fruity, complex granola. The guys from Baked have a good quick baking granola recipe in their fantastic book, New Frontiers in Baking. Love them!

2.  Pastry

While reading  The Versatile Grain & the Elegant Bean, I was intrigued by the recipe for a tart shell made with oat flour and quick-cooking oats as a base for a mixed berry tart. I can see how the tart shell would be more satisfying with a nutty flavor and crisp texture. If you make a lot of tarts, this would be a great way to change your routine up a bit and try something new.


Ingredient of the Week: Oats

Banner - Oats (c)2011

It’s funny, as summer approaches and the days get hotter, I am wishing for more spring. All the sudden I feel I’m not ready to move on from risottos and cool weather vegetables. This is ironic because all through spring I’ve yearned for summer- so many ingredients to write about! Spring comes late in Colorado, and while California has strawberries and fava beans we have greens, greens, and more greens. Asparagus has just barely appeared in our farmer’s markets. At La Domestique, I cook with the seasons of Colorado, and in the beginning of the growing season it’s difficult to have variety to keep things interesting and keep you people in more temperate climates entertained. Just as I’m about to get what I wanted (summer), I don’t want to let go of spring. So, we will savor the last two weeks of spring, even if it was 90 degrees outside today. Let’s enjoy this transition where berries and rhubarb are in season, it’s not too hot to turn on the oven and bake something sweet, and our appetites are stimulated by being outside in the garden or on a hike.


The Past Week at La Domestique

Ingredient Of The Week - Mustard (c)2011

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

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.