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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10 Ways Tuesdays: Mustard

 

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

1.  Mustard Vinaigrette

Mustard Vinaigrette is lovely as a dressing for spring vegetables.  In Jamie Oliver’s Magazine Issue 18 for April/May he includes a recipe for “Leeks with Mustard and Dill Vinaigrette and Feta.” You could use this preparation for steamed asparagus or artichokes as well. Most recipes for mustard vinaigrette call for the use of a prepared mustard, in this case it’s Dijon.

2.  Mustard Mayonnaise

Mustard is often used as a flavoring for mayo or aioli. In the book, Barefoot in Paris, Ina Garten suggests the traditional pairing of mustard mayo with a seafood platter. Picture this: a glass of champagne in your hand and in front of you a tray of raw oysters and little neck clams with cooked lobster, shrimp, and crab on a huge bed of ice. Dip the seafood in the mustard sauce and sip your champagne without a care in the world. Sounds like a very happy happy hour to me.

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Ingredient of the Week: Mustard

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


Mustard. It’s a spice, a seed, a condiment.  A leafy green from the Brassica family, mustard is related to broccoli, Brussels sprouts, collards, kale and kohlrabi.  Mustard is used for so many things that it’s easy to take for granted. Look in your cupboard right now and you’ll probably find some Dijon, as well as jars of pickles with mustard seeds and a tin of mustard powder. You might have spice rubs for grilling that contain mustard. It’s possible your vegetable crisper is full of mustard greens you picked up this morning at the farmer’s market.

Mustard is pungent and spicy. It adds heat and complexity to dishes. Mustard greens are peppery and slightly bitter. Vinegar gives prepared mustard a pleasant tanginess. A world without mustard would be a bland world indeed. Even though the flavor of mustard is bold, it seems to bring out the flavor in other ingredients. Hot Dijon spread on a ham sandwich intensifies the sweet, smoky flavors of ham. Bitter mustard greens accent the richness of salmon. As part of a seasoning blend for barbecue, pungent mustard powder makes the smoky flavor of paprika and sweetness of maple sugar pop when caramelized on a grill. Thank you mustard! Not only are you delicious, but you make other foods taste better too! Well done.

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Friday: Spring Radish Salsa

Spring Radish Salsa

I’m so excited to share this dish with you! A salsa based on radishes is light and elegant and oh so right for spring. Save the tomatoes and peppers for summer and make this salsa now. It’s a cheerful salsa inspired by the flavors of Mexico and the islands. Impress your friends this Memorial day with Spring Radish Salsa. They will like it. A lot.

This recipe brings together ingredients with bold flavors and bright colors. I use french breakfast radishes because they look so elegant. Cilantro brings a refreshing herbal note. The lime zest is fragrant and almost floral while the juice brings acidity to the dish. Jalapeño adds an extra kick while the Haitian mango balances the salsa with it’s creamy sweetness. This is the first time I’ve cooked with Haitian mangoes and I have fallen head over heels for them! The skin of the Haitian mango is green and yellow, while the flesh is golden just like other mangoes. I was overwhelmed by the exotic, tropical flavor of the Haitian mango- amazing! The flesh is pithier and stringy compared to other mangoes, but it’s good in a raw, jungle fruit sort of way. If you haven’t tried a Haitian mango, it’s time to try something new.  Plus, your dollars are going to Haiti, where they are trying to rebuild their economy.

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