appetizers, feast magazine article

feast magazine, april 2014: jerusalem artichoke + sundried tomato spread.

feast magazine april 2014: sunchoke spread.

Yes, it’s April 2nd, and typically I have my Feast article out at the crack of the new month, but “better late than never” is my new “on time,” at least for right now. This month, I’m pretty stoked about the recipes inside the April issue: so joyously springy, which at least for me was no small feat considering those of us who create recipes had to have our contributions in by mid-February. In case you’ve blocked it out, at that point we were snow-covered and frozen. Some recipes I think you’ll love (besides my humble contribution):

These vanilla bean + lemon curd macarons which i plan on making like, this minute because how completely beautiful.

Pâte à choux, because it’s pâte à choux, enough said. Also, it’s a wonderful building-block thing to really know how to do correctly.

This whole new thing, called “Seed to Table,” with these vibrant, crazy-delicious looking rice nests with roasted spicy greens that I want someone to make me. Read this one, those of you who dig healthy, wholesome foods (as most of us do): I really think a lot of you will enjoy it. And this whole rice-meets-salad thing? I love that. So into foods that are both fun to eat and nutritious right now.

Remember the black walnuts article? Well, this month there’s a food-centric feature about white asparagus, which is photographed beautifully and also contains superb recipes for them by one of St. Louis’s most well-respected chefs, Josh Galliano of The Libertine. The offerings look amazing, and as someone who hasn’t worked with white asparagus that much, I’m eager to try some of them. And by the way, those of us (me included) who bemoan photographing white food? Take a peek at these photos, and feel really stupid for a moment, because I’ve never seen a bunch of white artichokes look so soulful and pensive.

And finally, morels! All the morels, foraged, with recipes, just for you.

And then there’s my thing.

feast magazine april 2014: sunchoke spread.

Sunchokes! Adorably knobby, sometimes hard to find, but fun to play with when you see them in stores. Also called the Jerusalem artichoke (a derivation of the Italian girasole, which means “sunflower”), the are, indeed, the root of a species of sunflower. Very springy, right? You’re literally eating something which brings forth impossibly large yellow flowers with this one, which is entirely appropriate and welcome right now.

The best thing about sunchokes? They come in shapes. It’s like they don’t even know they’re cute, but they totally are. Where other roots grow in oblong spheres, or long, pointy-at-the-ends cylinders, sunchokes grow into all sorts of things.

feast magazine april 2014: sunchoke spread.

Like bears. How awesome is that? Next time you see sunchokes at the market, just root through them (ooh, puns, sorry), because chances are, you’ll find other animal shapes in the bin just waiting for you. It’s less like “buying veggies” and more like “adoption.”

feast magazine april 2014: sunchokes.

For example, you could totally find a sunchoke Scottish terrier puppy looking over its shoulder at you, and you could “adopt” it from the market. You never know what’s in there.

In this month’s article, I talk about the variety of ways in which you can use them; raw, cooked, fried, whatever. This is one of my favorite ways to use them, because it combines the toasty nuttiness of the roasted sunchokes with oven dried tomatoes and a bit of lemon to form a really nice spread or dip for bread or pitas similar in texture to hummus, and full of flavor. I use my own oven-dried tomatoes for this, but you can certainly use store-bought dried tomatoes as well. If it were me serving it, I’d throw it on a tray with some grilled breads and pita chips, cauliflower, snow or snap peas, olives perhaps, maybe some fresh green beans, and so on. And since eating sunchokes in large quantities is not recommended, shall we say (Google it), it’s worth mentioning that this is an excellent way to enjoy them in moderation.

feast magazine april 2014: sunchoke spread.

Listen, I’m gearing up to start blogging (regularly!) again. I think. See you soon.

Until then, scoot over here for my article on Jerusalem artichokes, and the recipe for Jerusalem artichoke + sundried tomato spread. And if you’re ready for spring like I am, flip through the April 2014 digital issue of Feast Magazine: it’s filled with all sorts of wonderful things to get you warm-weather ready.

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  • Reply Willow @Will Cook For Friends April 2, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    Aaah, they’re so cute! I’m so glad to read this. I was just thinking about Jerusalem artichokes, and saw sunchokes at the grocery store the other day, but had no idea they were the same thing. And I totally googled why you shouldn’t eat too many sunchokes, and I’m super happy to have that information under my belt before I dig in. Heading over to read your article now!

    • Reply shannon April 10, 2014 at 8:51 am

      i know, right? ALL THE ANIMALS! it’s easy to pass by them at the grocery store, at least around here. most of our stores have smallish bins with all the roots near each other, and animal shapes aside, they don’t always “stand out” because they’re pretty small and unassuming. And yes, be careful if you make them. because, google is right.

  • Reply elizabeth April 2, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    True story: I love sunchokes even though they have a definitive potato-y taste and I’m not big on potatoes. Maybe it’s because I like how you can pan-fry them and they have a far superior texture to regular potatoes when you do that. They were always my favorite root vegetables to get at the greenmarkets in the city, because they were clearly the most interesting of the few that were available.

    I’ve never though to roast them and turn them into a dip, but I’m going to have to try yours out!

    • Reply Emma April 3, 2014 at 10:43 am

      This is so interesting, I love sunchokes but really can’t stand potatoes! How weird.

      • Reply shannon April 10, 2014 at 9:02 am

        Weird, and yet not weird, because, you. They’re “potato-like”, but definitely there’s a difference, so maybe it’s just that you appreciate that?

    • Reply shannon April 10, 2014 at 8:55 am

      You’re one of the few people I know who has experience with them! I am not surprised. 🙂 I agree: they do have a taste very similar to a potato (or a nutty potato?) and they are texturally identical. Pan-frying them is lovely, and it’s amazing really that they’re so versatile; a great find at the market, for sure.

      Roasting them is nice: since you’ve pan-fried them, expect a similar flavor to come out in the roasting process.

  • Reply John@Kitchen Riffs April 2, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    I’ve done next to nothing with sunchokes! My loss — they’re great stuff. Really nice article. Thanks for putting this up — I haven’t seen the current issue yet, so I’ll probably end up reading most of it online. 😉

    • Reply shannon April 10, 2014 at 8:56 am

      Thank you very much, John: it’s a beautiful issue…very springy, and they changed the layout a bit in terms of photos and text. it’s very subtle, but it’s gorgeous.

  • Reply Abbe @ This is How I Cook April 3, 2014 at 12:15 am

    Used sunchokes in my saffron with chicken dish. Can’t wait to use them again! Hated the peeling and now I can’t wait to try them raw! Going to read this now!

    • Reply shannon April 10, 2014 at 8:58 am

      Oh, that chicken saffron dish sounds incredible: peeling them i’m sure is a total pain: these are easy, because you can just scrub them really well and then throw them on a baking sheet to roast. Thanks!

  • Reply Ashley April 3, 2014 at 9:52 am

    HA! I love the sunchoke animals (the bear is too cute and that Scottish terrier is just downright coy!) and am thisclose to running to the store to adopt some creatures. But then I’d have to eat them and I’m not sure I’ll be able to do that… Except….I really want to try your recipe. I’ve never had a sunchoke before (egads!) but now am desperate to do so. There’s something about your Feast articles that truly excites me about a new ingredient and spurs frenetic trips to the store to find and try it. Thank you!

    Also, HOORAY to having your blog again! I can’t wait to see what’s next!

    • Reply shannon April 10, 2014 at 9:01 am

      So cute, i know. How about this: usually you can find them loose, so adopt just a few sunchoke “animals” and experiment with them.

      And that’s so nice of you to say about the Feast articles: i work really hard on those, and they do such a phenomenal job at giving life to whatever it is i’ve done for that month: truly a great read with so many great contributors, and i’m happy that my column is working! *evil laugh* 😉

      i’m feeling good about blogging; i think i have my happy place back with it, and it’s nice to BE back! Certainly breaks have their benefits, but it’s hard when you don’t want to be on break and your brain just can’t work.

  • Reply Emma April 3, 2014 at 10:46 am

    I adore these cuties, what fun new animal friends will they roll out with next? Sunchokes get the best of me digestively (rhyme!), but I love them just the same. Especially enjoy them mashed. We just started eating them last fall, and every time we had them I was like “OH MY GAWWWD SUNCHOKES OH MY GAWWWWWD THEY ARE SOOO GOOOOOD!” Seriously, every time, the same words. But then my belly hurt.

    • Reply shannon April 10, 2014 at 9:04 am

      Bellies suffer when too many sunchokes are around. FACT. It’s really a shame, too: there’s some other equally delicious roots out there which have that same effect. NATURE! *shakes fist*

  • Reply natalie @ wee eats April 3, 2014 at 11:53 am

    OMG THOSE SUNCHOKES! So cute. I’ve never ingested one myself but I might pick up a few to turn into spread, and maybe a couple to keep as pets too 😉

    • Reply shannon April 10, 2014 at 9:05 am

      The Sunchoke Adoption Agency in your area would greatly appreciate your bringing some home, i’m sure.

  • Reply Deb April 3, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    I’ve always ignored sunchokes. Knobby and starchy seemed better suited to the potato! After reading your marvelous article I must try them! Not sure what’s been keeping me away!

    • Reply shannon April 10, 2014 at 9:06 am

      Deb, i have too! honestly, they sort of get shoved aside in stores, and it’s a shame, because i’ve overlooked them too until recently. Try them: certainly i’m sure not everyone loves them, but they’re pretty versatile – from raw to chips to roasted, and beyond – so maybe there’s a preparation for you. 🙂

  • Reply Amy @ Elephant Eats April 4, 2014 at 11:01 am

    Hehehehe, I love that you found animals in your chokes 🙂 That bear is so cuuuuute!!! I don’t know if I’ve ever had a sunchoke, but i definitely need to put it on my list of foods to try. Can’t wait to see your recipes!

    • Reply shannon April 10, 2014 at 9:10 am

      they found me, Amy; those animals found ME. 🙂 This recipe was a fun one to do: i don’t usually have trouble once i decide on a recipe for any of my feast ingredients (luck, i’m sure) but this one was harder to come by: i tried two other applications and it just wasn’t doing it for me. This spread DID do it for me, so i hope everyone else enjoys it as much as i did.

  • Reply movita beaucoup April 6, 2014 at 5:11 am

    The third sunchoke photo = sloth. Do you see it?

    • Reply shannon April 10, 2014 at 9:12 am

      that could TOTALLY be a sloth. Sunchokes are magical. Like unicorns. oh i bet there are sunchoke unicorns out there too!

  • Reply Jennie @themessybakerblog April 7, 2014 at 9:29 am

    Now I’m going to stop by the root table and choose me a few sunchokes so I can start a farm.

  • Reply Monica April 8, 2014 at 7:42 am

    Sounds like a great magazine, with lots of interesting articles. I have so much to learn. I’ve never bought a sunchoke in my life and not sure I’ve tasted it before. There’s so much out there to explore and thank you for bringing some to our attention.

    • Reply shannon April 10, 2014 at 9:15 am

      I’ll say they’re always good (shameless plug!!!) but this one in particular i loved because it’s so “spring-forward” and it really gets me in the mood for warmer temps.
      I agree, there’s SO much out there; in researching what I can do for future columns, it truly is amazing the variety of things out there that i haven’t tried: so many things! I’m trying to – column by column – shed some light on different things for myself AND for readers, and it’s been super fun to do so.

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