[Smashy the Hammer] [An Aspiring Luddite]
I carry no phone
An aspiring Luddite
In a wired world.
[Jeff Berry]
Jeff Berry is an early adopter of the Internet and the Web, a late adopter of Twitter, and declines to adopt Facebook. With the death of Google+, he's experimenting with federated platforms. He admins a medievalist Mastodon instance, and can found on the PlusPora diaspora pod. He hates cell-phones.

Fresh from a Friend's Garden
3 May 2012
[Bread and Cheese]

One should cultivate one's friends as one cultivates a garden. The extension of the metaphor about providing good care and so on is left as an exercise for the reader. The jokes about feeding them manure and so forth are likewise left as an exercise for the reader. One should also, ideally, cultivate friends who cultivate gardens. That way, they sometimes give you things which they have grown in their gardens. Such a friend recently sent me a gift basket containing fennel tops, tarragon and Jerusalem artichokes. With such bounty I went on a mad spree of fresh produce cookery.

I decided to make a terrine using the fennel tops, cheese with the tarragon and roast the Jerusalem artichokes. All three are variations on things which I've discussed before, so this article will meander a bit more than most and provide fewer concrete recipes. Onward!

I have discussed how to make cheese several times on this site, once in excruciating detail. To make the tarragon cheese, I followed the instructions linked above, up through the point where the cheese was hung and drained. I used a quart of milk and a pint of half-and-half. When the curd had drained I added a teaspoon or two of salt and a good handfull of chopped tarragon. After mixing it thoroughly, I simply packed it into a crock and called it done.

As with cheese, I've also given recipes for several different terrines before. The basic idea is pretty straightforward - mix your ingredients, cook in a water bath, weight for a while, then eat. This was a pure liver terrine, using both lamb and goat liver. (The goat liver was also a gift from a different friend. Cultivate your friends carefully.) An egg, a couple of tablespoons of flour, 1/3 cup creme fraiche, some garlic, some salt, some black pepper and several fronds of fennel were the other ingredients. The fennel tops, garlic and liver all went through the grinder. I seared the liver in just a bit of pork fat before grinding, deglazed the pan with whiskey and added that as well. [Bread and Pate]

And so to the Jerusalem artichokes, famously neither from Jerusalem nor artichokes, and also called by some "sunchokes." If wikipedia can be believed, and sometimes it can, they contain an indigestible carbohydrate called "inulin." This can make them somewhat, or extremely, gassy and may even cause, ah, "gastric distress." This tendency was noted as early as 1633, in Gerard's Herball, where it is written, "... which way soeuer they be drest and eaten they stirre and cause a filthie loathsome stinking winde within the bodie, thereby causing the belly to bee pained and tormented ..." (The full entry is on Cindy Renfrow's site, here.) So one might wish to use them sparingly at first, until you learn how your system, and those of your loved ones, handle them.

Roasting the sunchokes with brussels sprouts sounded good, so that's what we did. The sunchokes were simply sliced into smallish pieces, and the sprouts were halved or quartered or left alone, depending on size. Onto a sheet pan they went, a dollop of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt was added, they got mixed up to coat the veggies, and then into a 375F oven they went for about forty minutes, with a short toss-and-turn about twenty minutes in.

[Sunchokes and Brussels Sprouts] We served it with a bit of flank steak (yet another gift), and a simple sauce. Starting with the pan drippings from searing the steak, add a tablespoon or so of flour and stir until it's browned a bit. Add a cup of milk and stir quickly until it's well combined and thickened. Add a tablespoon or two of cracked peppercorns, taste and adjust the salt level to your liking.

© 2012 Jeff Berry
The Aspiring Luddite