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Blog Wed Nov 07 2007

I Didn't Want to Cook. But I did Heart the Sunchokes.

On nights when it's my turn to cook for my roomie but I'd rather grab take out and veg with a book, I force myself into it. For a second, I would wish I had just picked us both up falafel at Sultan's, plated it, and brought out our deep fryer to pretend like I made it. It's too bad she wouldn't believe that unless the whole apartment smelled like oil. And if it really did, I might as well be making my own falafel. I usually love to cook. My weeks have been hectic (sometimes too much time wasted away on tedious tasks like searching for the perfect day bag) and it's been maybe two weeks since it's been my turn to cook. So here's a memory of a cooking love fest from a few weeks back.

On my night for our family dinners, I took on my Green City Market bounty (yes, the winter market is going through December at the Nature Museum). I baked a halved acorn squash, open side up. I slathered the top of each half with a mix of a spoonful of brown sugar, a few shakes each of cinnamon, ground clove, ground nutmeg - whatever amounts fell in - salt, pepper and enough olive oil to make it all spreadable. 60 minutes at 400 F. Carrots - sliced into 1/2-inch thick sticks - went in tossed by hand in the same mix. They came out crispy, tender and sweet. Meanwhile, I parboiled sunchokes in salted water "just until they lose their crispness," as Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything puts it. Then, I drained, rinsed and sliced them into 1/2-inch thick pieces, tossed them in olive oil, chopped fresh dill from Growing Home, salt and pepper and put them in the oven, too. They turned out to be my favorite - nicely browned and super smooth after 30 minutes. Make sure to scrub them well to avoid grit in your teeth. For another dish, I chopped three leeks into discs and sautéed them with seitan, green tomatoes from my pal Rose's garden, small heads of broccoli and cauliflower - chopped including stems - and (last in) cored and ripped kale. I had reserved some of the sunchokes' water to heat with thick Middle Eastern style couscous (2 parts water to 1 part couscous) - until tender and ready to serve with a bit of mushroom-flavored olive oil my parents gave me, topped with sprouts from Tiny Greens.


Cristin / November 8, 2007 4:18 PM

I love the sunchokes too. I've been picking them up at the Nichols Farm stand downtown recently. I like to cut them into smallish chunks, toss them in a baking pan with olive oil, s&p, garlic, and some fresh rosemary and roast at 425 for about 40 minutes. So light and crisp!

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