It is true what researchers claim: that smell can invoke memories. With the tip of my nose into that little jar, I strangely found myself back in my parents' home, as a kid with my three school-going brothers. (Our eldest brother G and sister R were already in campuses out of town.)
This usually took place on Sunday afternoons when Dad was in charge of the household, including lunch. *cringe* Back then, Sunday was a normal school-day for Mom. And she wouldn't be back till after 2pm. Dad would turn the four of us into a team of "house cleaners": the youngest (yours truly) dusts and wipes, the next youngest (S) sweeps, the next (M) mops. While the eldest of the four, R, cleans the compounds around the house (front porch, side garden, back yard). Smart Dad. He'd tire us out by doing the chores, and by lunch time, we'd be so hungry we'd eat anything.
So what has this got to do with the light soy sauce and dijon mustard mixture?
Today's entry is inspired by my friend A. When the husband and I were at A and Y's place for dinner, she prepared some beautifully roasted pork loin for us. Nestled on a bed of cauliflower, the meat was marinated with just one ingredient -- French mustard. The meal was a delightful pairing of Asian and European fair. We had salad with a light vinaigrette dressing, roasted pork loin with cauliflower, ratatouille and steamed white rice. Excellent food. I must mention also, that our hosts are Japanese.
Here's my stab (in broad daylight) at it. A pleasant surprise since it turned out well. I can see myself making this when having friends over for a meal. My take on no-pressure dinner-hosting is to make the oven one's best friend. Leave the oven to work its magic, you enjoy your first glass of wine as the guests arrive. If your friends are stuck in traffic, no problem. The oven turns into a warmer at 180F.
Roasted Dijon Mustard Chicken Breast
* 3 tbsp Dijon mustard
* 1 tsp low-sodium light soy sauce
* 1 tsp honey
* 1 tbsp extra light olive oil
* Herbes de Provence
4 carrots, cut to 2" lengths
4 celery sticks, cut to 2" lengths
6 garlic cloves, smashed
1 tbsp extra light olive oil
2 chicken breasts, skin removed
Salt & ground peppercorn
1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Mix ingredients marked * in a small bowl and set aside.
3. Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add the carrots and parboil for 5 minutes.
4. Drain the carrots under running cold water and transfer them to a baking dish. (Mine's 9.5" round.)
5. Add the celery and garlic. Drizzle the olive oil over and mix to coat the vegetables.
6. Place the chicken breasts on top of the vegetables, with the uglier sides facing up. Smear the breasts with half of the mixture. Then, turn the breasts over and do the same with the rest of the mixture.
7. Place the dish in the center of the oven for 30-35 minutes.
8. Allow the meat to rest in an aluminium foil tent for 10 minutes. Slice the breasts on a board and arrange them back in the dish. Right before serving, tilt the dish and spoon the juices over the meat.