Chew Your Food

Defiant Scrub Brush

I have two pounds of sunchokes in my refrigerator and I'm scared of them.

Oh, I'm sure they will be delicious but the cleaning of them puts fear in my heart. Perhaps, like many things in life, if I just had a stiff drink before facing them with vegetable scrub brush in hand, it would go a lot easier.

Perhaps that is why I haven't written about our food exploits in a while. I have been so busy scrubbing with extreme prejudice, dicing to bite size, and cooking into submission that I haven't had time to document it all. I know all these lovely vegetables are full of earthy goodness and organic virtue, but that also seems to mean a hefty dose of dirt. We had some carrots that were so dirty we soaked them before scrubbing. It was quite a scene in the sink.

However, I was the one who asked for this. "Why oh why did we not get any root vegetables" I cried into the night every Thursday when I unpacked the farm delivery. Apparently my cry was heard because suddenly I was swimming in parsnips, rutabagas, and turnips. Okey-dokey, now what do I do. I keep thinking back to Couscous with Winter Vegetables I made many years ago from The Savory Way cookbook (Hi Deborah Madison!) Much like now, I had come into possession of many root vegetables and this stew seemed like a perfect fit. Several hours later of peeling, chopping, cooking, sauce making, and assembling later, I had a tremendously delicious dinner. I was especially proud of myself for making one of the sauces, a cilantro pesto. Sauce was usually the first thing to go when I was cooking dinner just for myself. It made a lot which unfortunately resulted in a decreased appreciation of it as I kept whittling away at the leftovers for several nights of dinners. I should look into that recipe again now that I own a tube of harissa and have space, equipment, and another mouth to feed that usually has two servings of whatever is for dinner.

But instead of making a regal platter of Moroccan scented winter vegetables, I went the way I have for the past several years: roasting. Obviously Sam Sifton at The New York Times has felt my pain and put together a menu that was warm, delicious and filling and perfect for winter. It was an excellent excuse to invite people over and so we did. I made spice rubbed tri-tip roast (which I over cooked but miraculously still tasted good) and mighty piles of roasted root vegetables. I was very excited to have that many vegetables to roast because I could pull out my official roasting pan, which always has that 1950's hostess feel about it. All was enjoyed and I think one of our young guests even ate a few of the veg. I wrapped it up with bar cookies so drenched in butter that I was almost embarrassed to serve them until I realized that we had plowed through a third of the pan in no time.

So, if you are going to go through all the effort of chopping, I thoroughly recommend having guests over. Good company has a fine way of making you forget all the work.

For your cooking pleasure:

The Cheat: The Roast with the Most
While Mr. Sifton pan roasted the vegetables, I was too lazy. I oven roasted at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes. Check about half way through the cooking time, stir them around, and check on their doneness.

and after all those vegetables
Julienne's Graham Cracker Chewy Bars