Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes/Sunchokes

Jerusalem Artichokes, also called sunchokes, are the edible tubers of a particular species of sunflower with the same name. They are found in the eastern half of the United States. Once cultivated as a popular food source by Native Americans, this ginger-resembling tuber rarely graces the table of Americans anymore.

Here is a photo of the plant ūüĆĽ they come from, courtesy of Pinterest:

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rst encountered these last year in my CSA. I didn’t quite know what to do with them, so I tried putting them in a root vegetable mash. It was terrible. I don’t think it was the particular fault of the Jerusalem artichokes, it isn’t something I want to try again.

This year I tried something much better: Roasting them. The skin is completely edible, the flesh breaks down to the consistency of a soft, mushy potato, and the edges caramelize nicely. They have a slightly sweet, somewhat nutty, earthy flavor.

Fun fact: Jerusalem artichokes are about 3/4 inulin, so if you are a diabetic, you’d do well to substitute these in place of potatoes ūü•Ē in your meals a few times a week. Inulin has minimal impact on blood sugar.

Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes

Ingredients

  • Small bag of Jerusalem artichokes. The bags my CSA gives out are about 12oz each.
  • 1/8 cup Olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Black Pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400F.
  2. Scrub the dirt off of the Jerusalem artichokes. Leave the skin on, it is edible.
  3. Cut them in half long-ways. You can also quarter them if they are particularly large.
  4. Toss them in a bowl with olive oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary.

  5. Spread them cut side down on a foil-lined baking sheet.

  6. Roast for 20 minutes. (I decided to add roasted garlic powder here at the last minute when they came out of the oven. I don’t think it was necessary and I probably won’t use it next time.)

  7. Serve.

Other flavors I think would work well with Jerusalem artichokes:

  • Butter, mushrooms and thyme
  • Butter and sage
  • Garlic and cheese (you could make these into a gratin!)
  • Bacon, cheese, and scallions. Think potato soup. These actually pur√©e up into a creamy soup base.

Delicata Squash with Brown Butter and Fried Sage

Fall is here, and so is one of my favorite sides: Delicata Squash.

The best way to prepare them comes from my friend Janet Bufton: Roast and top with brown butter and sage.

Ingredients

  • 1 Delicata squash
  • 8 fresh sage leaves
  • 1/3 stick of butter
  • Salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 425F.
  2. Cut the squash in half length-wise and remove the seeds.
  3. Roast them on a foil-lined sheet for 30 minutes. After the first 15 minutes, flip them over. Remove them from the oven when they are done.
  4. When you have 5 minutes left on the timer, take the butter and it in a small pan over medium heat.
  5. When the butter is hot and starting to bubble, lay in the sage. Fry it for two minutes, then remove it and lay it on a dry paper towel to wick away the excess butter.
  6. Continue heating the butter for a few more minutes until it turns brown and the solids start to fall to the bottom. Monitor it so that it doesn’t burn.
  7. When it is brown, remove it from the heat. Let cool slightly and pour it into the open halves of the squash. If the butter is still pretty hot, it may bubble quite a bit when your pour it in. Nothing to be worried about. Lay the fried sage on top. Salt to your liking and serve.

German Potato Salad

Now that it is starting to cool down in the northeast, I’ve been craving some warm comfort food. This German Potato Salad, served hot, fits the bill. It is a completely different animal than its cold, mayo-dressed cousin.

Ingredients

  • 3-4 pounds of medium red potatoes
  • 1 pound of bacon
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 cup of Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 3/4 cup of water
  • 3 tablespoons of course German-style mustard
  • 1 small bunch of parsley (about 1/2 cup when chopped)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper

Instructions

  1. Cut the potatoes into small, bite-sized wedges. Cook them in a large saucepan, covered in salted water, until the water starts to boil. Then turn the heat down to about half and let them simmer for 10 more minutes. They should be easily pierced with a fork, but not falling apart. Drain the potatoes and set aside.
  2. While the potatoes are cooking, slice the bacon into half-inch pieces. I usually keep my bacon frozen, so I remove it from the packaging and use my chef’s knife to slice through it while it is still frozen and easier to handle. Heat up your favorite large cast iron skillet and cook the bacon until it is crispy. I usually start out at 3/4 power and then reduce it to 1/2 power once it starts to brown. Once crispy, remove the bacon from the skillet and set aside. Make sure to keep the bacon grease in the pan, though.
  3. Dice the yellow onion and cook it in the bacon grease over 1/2 power, stirring occasionally, until it is translucent. Don’t let it get brown.
  4. Meanwhile, whisk together the cup of water, cup of vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper. Carefully add it to the skillet with the onion once it is translucent. Turn the heat up to full power and get the concoction simmering. Stir regularly and let it reduce by half. This takes about 10 minutes.
  5. Once the sauce is reduced, add the potatoes and bacon back into the pan, along with the chopped parsley, and toss everything to evenly coat. I like to leave the heat on during this to warm the potatoes backup a little bit in case they’ve cooled.
  6. Once you are satisfied that the potatoes are warm, the dish is ready to serve. I like to set the entire cast iron skillet on a trivet on our dining room table and serve it from there.

If you don’t eat it all in one sitting (it is a lot!), it saves and reheats pretty well. We usually eat our leftovers within a few days because it is so delicious.

Corn, Tomato, and Basil Salad with Old Bay

We had a dozen ears of corn in the fridge a few weeks ago and were sick of corn on the cob, so I started searching for interesting ways to use it. After searching for various combinations of ingredients we had on hand + corn, I found this: Chesapeake Corn, Tomatoes & Basil by Jennifer Segal and Once Upon a Chef.

It was so good that we ended up making multiple batches of it. You can serve it either hot or cold. It makes a great picnic dish!

Corn_tomato_salad - 6

I made some modifications to Jennifer’s recipe to speed up the prep and cooking time. Here is my modified version:

Ingredients

  • 4 ears of corn
  • 4 tablespoons ghee
  • 2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced (we used some flavorful heirloom green tiger tomatoes, but any tasty variety will work!)
  • 10 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade

Instructions

  1. Shuck the corn and cut it off the cob. (An offset serrated knife is great for this.)
  2. Dice the tomatoes and chiffonade the basil.
  3. Heat the ghee for a few minutes in a skillet at around 3/4 power. I prefer cast iron, but any skillet will do.
  4. Toss in the corn and cook until it starts to brown (see the images below). Move it around regularly with a wooden spatula to prevent it from burning.
  5. Once the corn starts to brown, turn the burner off and move the corn into a bowl. Add the Old Bay, diced tomatoes, and basil. Toss to combine.
  6. Serve!

An Unexpectedly Good Side Dish (or, How I Learned About Beurre Meuniere)

It was around 6pm last Friday. The huge ribeye I picked up the weekend before had been in my sous vide for 3 hours. I was ready to start making my sides: Roasted potatoes and pan-fried brussels sprouts.

I just had one problem: I only had three small¬†potatoes and one small package of brussels sprouts. I had used the rest of both earlier in the week and¬†didn’t leave myself enough for another meal. I thought I had, but I was wrong.

I have almost nothing else in the fridge. Little in the pantry. We’ve already planned to go grocery shopping this weekend. If I hadn’t already cooked the steak, I would have ordered pizza or Chinese food. But the steak is already cooked, so now I’m stuck.

I started digging through the freezer and pantry to see what I had to work with:

  • 2 bags of frozen corn
  • 1 bag of frozen green beans
  • Quinoa
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 apples, 3 pears, and 2 bananas
  • Onions
  • Butter
  • 2 bags of frozen whole edamame

Sure, I could roast the edamame with some oil and spices, but that is more of an appetizer, not a side dish for this beautiful ribeye:

IMG_7809.JPG

After about 10 minutes of furiously searching, I found something that seemed to fit the bill: Potatoes, Green Beans, and Corn with Lemon-Brown Butter Dressing from The Kitchn.

I’ll admit, I was skeptical. Would a mixture of¬†potatoes, beans, and corn actually be good? I decided to go with it, though, because I had no other options. I also didn’t really have enough¬†potatoes to make the full dish, so I decided to cook a cup of quinoa to toss in the mix. As you know, I rarely follow recipes.

corn_beans

When I tasted it, I was pleasantly surprised. The lemon-brown butter sauce changed the whole flavor of the dish. It was delicious. Both Amanda and I ate huge helpings at dinner and we gladly ate a bowl of it as a snack a few days later.

After one taste, I decided that I want that lemon-brown butter sauce at least once a week this summer. That lemon-brown butter sauce is going to regularly grace our dinner table. I now know that it is called beurre meuniere. Parsley, shallots, or garlic make nice additions to it. It would go well with asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli, white fish, green beans, or even as a light pasta sauce.

I don’t forsee us needing¬†green beans, corn, and three¬†potatoes to swoop in and save the day¬†any time soon, but I’ll definitely make this again in the future. We’re definitely making that sauce again. Probably next week.

An Example of Meal Planning

I’ve written previously about how I plan meals: Buying what looks good and/or is on sale, and then brainstorming what I can turn into full meals when I get home.

I thought I’d give an example of what I came up with after shopping today.

  1. Zucchini noodles, basil and pine nut pesto, sundried tomatoes, and italian sausage
    We had the zucchini¬†in the fridge from last week and we have some Italian sausage in the freezer. I picked up some fresh basil at the store on Wednesday. We intended to make it this weekend, but ended up having other plans. We’ll most likely make it on Monday.
  2. Sous vide pork tenderloin, roasted broccoli, and a side arugula salad
    We have two pork tenderloins in the freezer that I bought last week, spiced and vacuum sealed immediately, and then froze. We picked up some broccoli today and I’ll likely roast it and grate some pecorino romano on top. The arugula salad will be a quick mix of vinegar, oil, and some roasted red peppers we picked up today.
  3. Stuffed Peppers
    We saw some huge green peppers at the store, so I also picked up some ground beef so we can make stuffed peppers. I have a box of Zatarain’s Dirty Rice mix in the pantry, so I’ll probably cook that up with the ground beef and stuff the peppers with it.
  4. Sous vide ribeye with roasted fingerling potatoes and a side arugula salad
    We picked up the ribeye last weekend when it was on sale and vacuum sealed and froze it when we got home. We picked up the fingerling¬†potatoes today and I’ll probably roast them with some oil, garlic, and pepper. I’ll salt them when they come out of the oven. The arugula salad will probably have a dressing of olive oil and lemon juice, then I’ll use a vegetable peeler to shave some hard cheese on top.
  5. Chickpea pasta with cherry tomato sauce, kale, and chicken & spinach sausage 
    The Food Lab’s cherry tomato sauce is one of my favorite quick pasta sauces. We bought a big container of cherry¬†tomatoes just for this. We have two boxes of Banza chickpea rotini, which we love. It is gluten free, has tons of protein, and has a low glycemic index. A chicken and spinach sausage made at a grocery store we like (Stew Leonard’s) was on sale, so we picked up a package to toss with the pasta. The¬†Lacinato kale¬†looked great as we walked by, so I’ll probably put some of that in there, too.
  6. Veggie Frittata or Crustless Quiche
    We picked up some more eggs today and some brussels sprouts, so I’ll probably make a frittata or crustless quiche with it. We also replenished our supply of sugar free bacon today, so a package of that will probably get crisped up and thrown in as well.

Other options:

  • We picked up some beautiful peaches that we’ll probably cut in half and grill with some cinnamon sugar one evening for dessert. We don’t have a grill, but we do have a grill pan, which works just as well for peaches.
  • We picked up a 2lb bag of various shredded vegetables: Golden beets, broccoli stalks, caulifower hearts, brussels sprouts, carrots, kale, and radicchio. It is cheap and the last for well over a week. I’m not sure exactly how we’ll use them, but we always do. They usually end up quickly sauteed with some spices and used as the base of a lunch bowl with leftover meat, an avocado, and hot sauce. Or as the base of a breakfast bowl. Or I could toss some in the frittata or quiche if we decide to use the brussels sprouts another night.
  • We have carrots. They could be snacks or quickly roasted with some cumin for an alternate side dish.

I don’t quite know¬†exactly when we’ll make these meals, except that the zucchini noodles and pesto needs to be Monday so that the basil doesn’t go bad. Other than that, I’ll probably decide around noon each day. Knowing exactly what I can make with what I¬†have on-hand will make deciding a lot easier.

These meal options will take care of lunches for the week, too. I’ll make enough to have leftovers of each that both Amanda and I will eat¬†for lunch.

Whole 30 Cauliflower Mash with Garlic and Rosemary

One thing you need to learn to do when you embark on a Whole 30 is make all kinds of new sides so that you get enough vegetables in your diet. We’ve found that cauliflower is super versatile and takes on the flavor of things you add to it. This makes it a great candidate to turn into a mash.

This doesn’t mean you are trying to mimic mashed¬†potatoes. These don’t taste like mashed¬†potatoes, but this a great side dish that stands on its own.

Whole 30 Cauliflower Mash with Garlic and Rosemary

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of rosemary (both dried and fresh work)
  • Salt and pepper to taste (I use about 1 teaspoon of each for a large head of cauliflower)
  • 1 tablespoon of ghee
  1. Get your vegetable steamer going in a large stock pot with water that comes just up to the bottom of the steamer. Turn the burner on high.
  2. While the water is heating up, quickly wash the cauliflower and cut it into florets. Chop up the stem, too.
  3. Peel the cloves of garlic.
  4. Put the cauliflower and garlic in the pot with the vegetable steamer. Steam for 10-15 minutes. They are done when tender enough to put a fork through with minimal effort.
  5. When fully steamed, move the cauliflower florets and garlic cloves into the food processor. Take 1/4 cup of the steaming liquid and put it in the food processor, too. Add in the rosemary, salt, pepper, and ghee.
  6. Process until it reaches the consistency you like. I leave it in until it is pureed (usually 2-3 minutes).
  7. Alternatively, if you don’t have a food processor, steps 5 and 6 can be done with a potato masher and a bowl or a hand blender.

If you aren’t on the Whole 30, you can add butter and sour cream to make these even creamier. For folks on the Whole 30, stick to the recipe above. Amanda and I eat it even when we aren’t on the Whole 30 because it is delicious.

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How to Roast Vegetables

Dinner in our apartment frequently follows this formula: One meat + two or three vegetables. If I plan ahead and put something like steak or pork tenderloin in the sous vide around 3pm, I can have a healthy dinner on the table with as little as 30 minutes of active time.

My preferred method of making vegetables year-round is to roast them. It is fast, it works with a wide variety of vegetables, and it is super easy to clean up.

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 F.
  2. Choose and cut your vegetables. A quick guide is below.
  3. Toss your veggies with spices and a little bit of oil (Grapeseed Oil is probably the best option given its high smoke point), and put them on a sheet pan lined with foil.
  4. Put the pan of veggies on the middle rack of your oven for 20 minutes. No turning needed.

This method works well with all of the veggies listed below.

Vegetables, how to cut them, and what to season them with

Vegetable How to cut Seasoning
Acorn Squash Halve from stem to tip, then slice into half moons Cinnamon, nutmeg, and sage
Asparagus Cut the woody bottom part of the stem off and leave the rest of the stalk whole Salt, pepper, garlic, lemon zest
Broccoli Florets Salt, pepper, and garlic.
Brussels Sprouts Halve from top to bottom Salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Top with fresh grated parmesan.
Butternut Squash Peel and dice into 3/4 inch cubes Sage, sautéed onions, cinnamon, and cranberries (not all spices, but my favorite way to roast butternut squash
Carrots Slice longways into quarters, then cut the lengths in half Cumin or ginger
Cauliflower Florets Adobo or Cumin or Salt, pepper, and garlic powder
Celeriac Peel then cube Salt, pepper, paprika, thyme
Eggplant Slice into 1/2 inch thick disks Garlic, parsley, salt, pepper
Garlic whole peeled individual cloves Nothing needed
Mushrooms Whole Butter, garlic, thyme
Parsnips Slice longways into quarters, then cut the lengths in half Cumin or ginger
Pumpkins Halve from stem to tip, then slice into half moons Cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg
Radishes Halve or quarter Salt, pepper, and smoked paprika
Rutabagas Peel and 1 inch dice Salt, pepper, thyme, and balsamic vinegar
Sweet Potatoes 1 inch dice Salt, pepper, rosemary, and garlic or chili powder
Tomatoes Halve if small, quarter if large Oregano and garlic
Turnips Peel and 1 inch dice Salt, pepper, thyme, and balsamic vinegar
Yellow Squash 3/4 inch disks Smoked paprika, salt, and pepper
Zucchini 3/4 inch disks Smoked paprika, salt, and pepper

 

 

Up next: Braising is another good method for cooking vegetables. Fennel, leeks, radicchio, and artichokes tend to turn out better braised. Watch out for a post on braising soon.

 

 

 

 

Sous Vide Asparagus

Asparagus is so easy to make in the oven, so why should you make it in a sous vide circulator?

  • More intense asparagus taste.
  • Easier clean up.
  • Same length of prep and cooking time.

Sold? Here’s what¬†you need and what to do with it:

Just looking for time and temp suggestions?  175F (79.44C) for 15 minutes will give you asparagus that is still firm with a bit of bite left in it.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb of fresh asparagus
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Zest from one small lemon (or half a large one)
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Trim the tough bottom part off of the asparagus stems.
  2. Put the trimmed asparagus in a bag with the olive oil, lemon zest, salt, and pepper.
  3. Seal the bag (vacuum seal or ziplock with the water displacement method).
  4. Cook in the sous vide water bath at 175F (79.44C) for 15 minutes.
  5. Remove the asparagus from the bag and serve immediately.
Asparagus in the sous vide circulatorsous vide asparagus with lemon zest

Roasted Whole Cauliflower

This is my new favorite way to make cauliflower.¬†It is¬†great dish to make for a dinner party or a pot luck. It is vegetarian-friendly, can easily be made vegan-friendly, and doesn’t require much active work.

The seasoning in this particular recipe is inspired by the seasonings on elotes, Mexican street corn. At the end of this post, I have ideas for other seasonings that work well with cauliflower.

Roasted Whole Cauliflower

Necessary Tools

  • Oven
  • Large, oven-safe pan or skillet
  • Knife for slicing and serving
  • Measuring spoons
  • Bowl and spoon for mixing ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1 whole head of cauliflower (I used a yellow head, but any color will do)
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup of sour cream
  • 1/8 cup cotija cheese
  • 1 tbsp Adobo seasoning (garlic powder, salt, oregano, turmeric, black pepper)
  • 1/8 cup cilantro leaves and stems, finely chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. Peel all of the leaves off of the outside of the cauliflower, but do not cut through the main part at all. Keep it as in-tact as possible.
  3. Mix all remaining ingredients together in a bowl. If you want to reserve some of the cheese to also sprinkle on top, you can. I did.
  4. Slather the mixture on the outside of the cauliflower.
  5. Put the cauliflower on/in the oven-safe pan and roast for 40 minutes.
  6. Let cool for 5-10 minutes, slice like a pie, and serve.

 

Cauliflower in the skilletCauliflower in the skillet, ready for roasting
Whole roasted cauliflowerA slice of whole roasted cauliflower

Variations

  • Use olive oil instead of mayo/sour cream on the outside for a browner, crispier shell.
  • Use plain Greek yogurt instead of mayo/sour cream.
  • Use your favorite curry powder as the main spice.
  • Use cumin, oregano, and coriander as the spices.
  • Use garlic, olive oil, parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper as the coating.