Today I’m headed to the Hillsdale Farmers Market to join farmers and chefs in welcoming the Toyota Farm to Table Tour to Oregon. Three tents, nine chefs, 5,000 farm-fresh samples being dished out – all free, and you’re invited! May 1, 10am-2pm.
I’ve partnered up with Ancient Heritage Dairy, Gathering Together Farm, and Gee Creek Farm, and will be serving a plate of local artisanal cheese with seasonal market-inspired condiments. Here’s the recipe so that you can make it yourself when you get home from the market:
makes about 2 cups
This sweet-spicy fruit mustard condiment is magic paired with cheeses. It is very easy to make and keeps for quite some time refrigerated, or can be “put up” using the waterbath canning method. It scales up nicely – I usually do a 5 pounds-of-rhubarb batch.
Wash the rhubarb and cut it into cubes, about 3/4 inch in size. The fruit will break down, so there is no need to be too particular about uniformity, you just want to shorten the fibers of the stalks so that the mostarda is texturally pleasing.
In a heavy-bottomed, non-reactive preserving pot or saucepan, combine the rhubarb cubes, the sugar, and 1 cup of water. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to cook the rhubarb at a steady simmer until it has softened to the point that it can be easily mashed with the back of a wooden spoon. (If you are making a large batch, cook over high heat and skim as much of the foam that rises to the surface as possible as the rhubarb cooks).
While the rhubarb is cooking, put the mustard and mustard seeds in a small bowl. Whisk in enough water to make a thin paste. Season the mustard mixture with salt and pepper (you will want the mostarda to be savory, with a sweet fruitiness, and a little heat, so salt accordingly). Stir the mustard paste into the softened rhubarb and simmer the ingredients together until they have thickened and the flavor has developed. The mostarda should be the consistency of applesauce. Remove the finished mostarda from the heat and allow to cool, then refrigerate in an airtight container.
I used a lavash cracker recipe as the base for this cracker, substituting barley, spelt, and rye flour for some of the all-purpose flour that the recipe calls for. They are really good with all all-purpose flour, but have a satisfying earthiness when the grains are varied. To add a little spice to the cracker, blend in a bit of toasted chile d’arbol powder or cayenne. I omitted it for the cheese course.
1 pound flour, including:
- 7 ounces all-purpose
- 5 ounces rye flour
- 2 ounces barley flour
- 2 ounces spelt flour
1/2 ounce sugar
1/2 ounce salt
1/2 ounce cold butter, cut into pieces
a pinch or two of chile powder, optional
3/4 tsp. active dry yeast
1 scant cup cold water
for sprinkling on the cracker: poppy and sesame seeds and salt (I used flor de sal, but sea or kosher salt work as well).
Combine all of the dry ingredients in a bowl. Pour in the water and incorporate to form a ball of dough. It will be a little sticky – the water will absorb into the grains as it rests). Knead the dough once or twice, then wrap in plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Cut the rested dough into 4 or 6 pieces (a size that you can easily manage). Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Dust a piece of dough with flour and roll out thin with a rolling pin or dowel. Using a pasta roller (such as a hand-crank pasta machine), roll out the crackers just past half as thin as you can go. Use as little flour as possible, if any, to keep the dough from sticking to the machine. Lay the strip of dough out on the workspace. Sprinkle it with the seeds and salt, then press down to encourage them to adhere. Dust with flour. Turn the dough over and repeat. Roll the decorated dough through the machine so that it is as thin as you can make it, and still manage it. Cut the thinned dough to fit a baking sheet and lay it out on the baking sheet.
Bake 3 minutes, then take the baking sheet out of the oven, turn the crackers over, and return them to the oven to crisp, about another 1-2 minutes. Watch the crackers carefully. If they are almost there when you check them, check again in 30 seconds. Yes, they go that fast! Like I said, I make a little extra dough….