>My apologies for this week’s post being late. The hay truck I mention below knocked out our phone cable (and DSL) but was fine until Monday night, when I walked a cow over it and she got caught and pulled it loose. I can guarantee the phone repair guy hadn’t heard that one before.
THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:
• “Festival” Winter Squash
• “Red” Potatoes
• Sunchokes (a.k.a. Jerusalem Artichokes)
• Siberian Salad Kale
• Baby Bok Choy
• Lettuce or Spinach
I think the word “vacation” means different things to different people. For some, it implies travel. For most, it conjures up long sleepy days free from commitment and work. For me it means a break in which we can accomplish tasks that we haven’t been able to finish all year. So, what did our Thanskgiving break consist of?
Monday: a soggy, stormy day. We rented a big truck and drove to Oakville, near Chehalis, to pick up 5 tons or so of good grass hay for the cows. We loaded it all by hand and drove home.
Tuesday: dry in the morning, raining in the afternoon. We unloaded the hay by hand and stacked it in the barn up to the ceiling. Very tired and sore, we returned the truck and did restaurant delivery and errands.
Wednesday: A fine, dry day, but very cold. Finished butchering stewing hens–25 of them, plus the two “fryers” that escaped the August butchering. The hen weighed nearly 9 pounds, and the young rooster (call him a tom if you want, because he might as well have been a turkey) weighed nearly 12 pounds and is stuffed and in my oven as I write. That’s a big chicken! After school we picked up our Christmas tree.
Thursday: Freezing weather and snow was forecasted for the weekend, so Mike got to picking for the restaurant and weekend farmers markets. (We still need our paycheck, after all. Christmas is coming!) I did my volunteer at Kindergarten day.
Friday: Freezing and raining. Very cold. Mike continued picking until everything froze for the night. It started snowing after he came inside.
Saturday and Sunday: Freezing, snowy, icy rainy farmers markets. And then, back to normal.
Monday I started finally planting next year’s garlic. In September we didn’t have time, October was too wet to make the beds, and then it was November and freezing every day. I got nearly 1/4 finished in just one day, by myself, so I’m optomistic that it will get done soon.
And now, Jerusalem Artichokes!
MASHED JERUSALEM ARTICHOKES
3 1/2 pounds Jerusalem artichokes
1 pound boiling potatoes
1 tablespoon salt
3 cups milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1. Peel Jerusalem artichokes and cut into 2-inch pieces. Peel potatoes and cut into 3/4-inch pieces.
2. In a 5-quart kettle combine artichokes, potatoes, salt, and milk with enough water to cover vegetables by 2 inches and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes.
3. Drain vegetables in a colander and return to kettle. With a potato masher mash vegetables with butter and salt and pepper to taste until smooth.
Vegetables may be made 3 days ahead and chilled, covered. Bring vegetables to room temperature before reheating, covered.
CREAM OF JERUSALEM ARTICHOKE SOUP
2 Tbsp butter
2 teaspoon chopped garlic
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 pound Jerusalem artichokes (washed, sliced 1/4-inch thick)
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup cream
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon chopped chives
1. Melt the butter in a medium-size saucepan over high heat, add the garlic and onion and cook until soft, about 2 minutes.
2. Add the Jerusalem artichokes and sauté about 2 minutes.
3. Add the stock and simmer until the chokes are tender.
4, Add the cream and bring back to a boil. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Purée in a blender until smooth. Strain through fine sieve. Keep warm. Sprinkle with the chive. Serve.
JERUSALEM ARTICHOKE CHIPS WITH LEMON THYME DIP
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
4 cups vegetable oil
1/2 pound Jerusalem artichokes
1. In a small bowl stir together mayonnaise, zest, lemon juice, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste until combined.
In a 4-quart heavy kettle heat oil over moderate heat until a deep-fat thermometer registers 325°F.
2. While oil is heating, cut unpeeled artichokes lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Fry artichokes in 2 batches in oil 1 1/2 minutes (artichokes will not color) and transfer to paper towels to drain.
3. Heat oil to 350°F. Return artichokes in 2 batches to oil and fry, stirring occasionally, until golden and crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer chips with a slotted spoon to clean paper towels to drain and season with salt.
Serve chips with dip.
JERUSALEM ARTICHOKE GRATIN
1 pound Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch-thick and reserved in cold water until ready to use
3 cups milk
8 ounces creme fraiche or sour cream
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 pound Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch-thick
5 ounces shallots, peeled and sliced thinly
5 ounces peeled chestnuts, halved lengthwise
4 slices white bread, lightly toasted, crusts removed, and torn into small bits (to make 1 to 1 1/4 cups)
1. In a large saucepan, combine Jerusalem artichokes and milk. Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes. Drain, reserving 3/4 cups of the milk.
2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk creme fraiche, reserved milk, lemon juice, 1/4 cup Gruyere, thyme, salt, and pepper.
3. Add artichokes, potatoes, chestnuts, shallots; gently mix to combine.
4. Transfer to a 6-cup shallow baking dish, and cover tightly with parchment-lined aluminum foil. Place on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake until artichokes are tender, about 1 hour.
5. Remove foil, and sprinkle with breadcrumbs and remaining 3/4 cup cheese. Bake, uncovered, until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Serve warm.