BRAD     |     EMILLIE

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Buried by boxes

We are still unpacking... and I've officially declared this weekend to be THE WEEKEND when we finally open and break down all the remaining boxes.  Not a small task, as we have at least 20 + boxes stashed away!  (heh heh)

Moving chores have taken over our lives, and we spent our long Thanksgiving weekend using my Mom's visit as an excuse to borrow her car to buy all the little things that we needed to settle in.  I also tackled one small closet worth of boxes with our extra day off, and I was left feeling very defeated.  Just 4 boxes collapsed for the effort of a whole day!  (heh heh... back to my weekend plans?  We'll see how much I actually get done.)
As you can see in our group Thanksgiving photo, my carnivorous son is holding a turkey leg (it was a happy, local, running around, heritage turkey).  His sister also seems to be a meat lover as she easily ate a 1/4 of her body weight in turkey.  It was truly incredible how much that kid ate.  Clearly they are both missing the "meat" component of their diet!  (I know there's lots of nay-sayers, but I make sure they eat lots of complete proteins, iron, B-vitamins and zinc containing foods, but their excitement over meat suggests that there is something they need).

Now for a vegetarian harvest celebration!

Sunchokes (Jerusolum Artichokes)

Sunchokes are a native plant around here, and they grow like a weed... in every way!  So if you have a square patch of garden that you can devote to sunchokes I would highly recommend it.
Growing: Simply put some tubers in the ground in the fall, or early spring.  They don't need any care other than watering in the dry summer months.

We co-plant with beans because the tall plants (at least 9 feet high in our garden) provide a natural trellising for runner beans.
Harvest and storage: You can harvest them all fall and winter long!  What ever isn't harvested will sprout up again next year.  And I am warning you... it's impossible to harvest all of these little tubers, so you'll be assured of a good crop every year.

If you want to harvest them all in the fall, then they store best in layers of "clean" dirt (free from anything that will rot, like roots).  At that point you can keep them in a cool room or outside.

Nutrition: Sunchokes are high in inulin fiber making them a great pre-biotic.  They also are a good source of iron.

Eating: Fresh sunchokes are so much nicer than store bought ones.  They have a lovely white skin that is soft an edible.  We add them raw to salads and stirfry's where they lend a water-chestnut-like taste.  Or you can cook them up like potatoes, though they have a stronger flavour than potatoes.

Here is a recipe for...

Roasted Sunchokes with Hazelnuts
Scrub up the sunchokes, and peel if you want to (not necessary for fresh sunchokes).  Slice into bite-sized chunks.  At this point you can parboil to get your sunchokes for 15 minutes to make them really soft, or you can roast them right away.

Toss sunchokes in olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.  Then roast at 425 F (200 C) for 20-30 min (until cooked and crisping).

Meanwhile toast some fresh fall hazelnuts.  When the sunchokes are done toss with the hazelnuts and herbs of your choice. (Parsley, thyme or rosemary are nice).

Now... back to those boxes!!

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