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All Choked Up

(post, John Dryzga)

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We've fallen into a bit of a veggie rut lately. While we have been enjoying Spring's asparagus bounty, we were looking for a supplement to it. We wanted to add something new and exciting to the flora part of our dinner plate.

I was wandering through our local Whole Foods last Sunday after visiting Mom. It never fails that a trip to buy one or two items results in three bags and an empty wallet. I was perusing the selection in the produce aisle when I saw them in all their knobby glory, sunchokes. Although this North American native tuber was enjoyed by Native Americans, it does not grace many tables these days. Seeing them I recalled the time i had cooked them in one of my myriad cooking classes. I had enjoyed them but never got around to making the dish at home. With this thought in my mind, I tossed them into my market basket.

When time came to cook them, I could not find the recipe I had to cook these things. Here I am surrounded by binders loose paper bearing the logos of the CIA, ICE, The New School, etc. The only things the papers were not bearing was a recipe for these things. So faced with a food stuff I have no idea how to prepare I reach for the one tome that probably will, "The Joy of Cooking". While it may not be au courant and it certainly lacks any food porn panache, it certainly has completeness going for it. It tells you how to scramble eggs, can peaches, grill a steak and braise a bear(page 530 in the 75th anniversary edition). I looked in the index and sure enough, two recipes for sunchokes.

Since I was going to roast some potatoes anyway, I opted for the roasted sunchoke recipe. I just peeled the sunchokes, which was a little challenging due to their scraggy nature. Tossed with some olive oil, salt, pepper, a couple of bay leaves and some sprigs of thyme from the deck. I then popped them into a 425 degree oven for 45 minutes, giving them the occasional stir. When 45 minutes had elapsed, a quick stab with a paring knife proved they were ready to be served. While the sunchokes were roasting, I had quickly grilled some lamb chops on the Weber. I plated everything up and served it to E waiting for her to praise the wonderful sunchokes. Her praise consisted of her pushing the sunchokes onto my plate with her fork. Oh well, at least I really enjoyed them. They were a little sweet, a little nutty and have a slight artichokish flavor to them. I would certainly like to experiment with them some more. I'll just have to make sure to make more spuds for E on those days.