Friday, November 16, 2007

Gorgeous Carrots

Today was a great cooking day to be married to the 'grow weird varieties' market farmer. Mr. Chardgirl is growing 5 colors of carrots. So: What to make for dinner? We also have two sweet-toothed chardettes: I made a carrot salad with only the three sweet-as-raw carrots that we currently have around. Chantenay orange, Chantenay Yellow, and a beautiful purple carrot that is yellow in the center. Our White Belgian and Indian Red carrots have dramatic carrotness in their flavor, but they aren't especially sweet when raw. The recipe was inspired by one I read in How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman. I of course included a few of my own changes!

Cumin Colored Carrots

2 pounds carrots: many colors, 2 colors, or all orange
juice and zest from one lemon or orange
2 tablespoons walnut or olive oil (I used a freshly purchased roasted walnut oil and it was divine)
S & P to taste
1 teaspoon cumin powder, freshly purchased within the last few months does make a difference.
Freshly chopped parsley or cilantro

Whisk together the citrus juice, zest, salt, pepper, cumin and oil. Julienne carrots on a mandolin or other grater. If you've got sharp knives and the skill julienne the carrots with just your knives and knowledge. Pour dressing over carrots. Stir in parsley or cilantro, or just use it as garnish for the top if presentation matters to your table.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Sunchokes, also called Jerusalem artichokes

I photographed them, then peeled some, scrubbed others, and had 1.5 # of sunchokes so I decided to to a quick cooking of them. I found a great recipe in one of my favorite cookbooks: Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison. I found that peeling the 'chokes was easiest with a sharp paring knife. Scrubbing them was also easy, you can decide which you prefer. It might depend on what you want your final dish to look like. A rustic saute that will be sprinkled with seeds and parsley doesn't really need the pure white of peeled sunchokes; a creamy white soup might want the roots to be peeled.

Sauteed Sunchokes with Sunflower Seeds

adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison

1 1/2 pounds sunchokes (also called Jerusalem artichokes), sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
2 tablespoons sunflower seed oil, or other high heat oil such as peanut or grapeseed
S & P to taste
3 Tablespoons sunflower seeds, toasted
2 Tablespoons parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon chopped thyme

Saute the sunchokes in the oil in a large skillet over high heat until lightly browned and tender but still a bit crisp. Taste them as they cook; they can be done in 5 minutes or as many as 10 minutes. Season to taste with S & P, add the sunflower seeds, parsley, and thyme, and toss well.

Serves 4-6.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Popovers as Jam Vehicle

We made popovers today: they are quick and a perfect vehicle for jam. I've not yet made any jam this year, but my kitchen has many jars from friends and family: quince, ollalieberry, fig, strawberry, and my own favorite: apricot.

I made popovers because they are quick and I thought at least the kids would enjoy eating the various jam choices with the fresh, steaming popovers.

Above is a photo of Lena's popover, you'll notice there's no jam in sight!

Popover Recipe:

1 cup flour
pinch salt
1 cup milk (I use whole milk)
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla, optional
1-2 Tablespoons melted butter
1 warmed greased muffin tin

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Mix the salt into the flour; Whisk milk, eggs, vanilla and melted butter together. (I use a large pyrex cup so I can measure the milk then add the eggs and butter.) Gently fold wet stuff into the dry stuff, be careful not to over mix. Pour batter into greased muffin tin. (I stick it in the oven while I'm mixing everything up.) Fill each muffin cup half or 3/4 full, depending on how popover-y you want them. Bake for 30 or so minutes, until they are brown and ready to eat!