Archive for January, 2011

Support Farmer Heinz (and a Sunchoke Soup Recipe)

Friday, January 7th, 2011

A local Maryland farm, Next Step Produce, recently lost their boiler room in a fire. They lost $1600 worth in seeds in the fire and are unable to heat their greenhouses until the boiler room is rebuilt. Read more about the situation here, or go to FreshFarm Markets’ website to make a contribution to the “Help Heinz Fund.” Not only is farmer Heinz a fixture at the Dupont Circle FreshFarm market, but his organic produce is also distributed through our CSA in a crop-sharing arrangement. Below is a favorite recipe from the FoodieTots archives using one of the ingredients I was first introduced to by Heinz, sunchokes. My toddler, then just two-and-a-half, eagerly sampled a sunchoke handed to him by Heinz at the market — and if I remember correctly, sampled this soup as well.

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Sunchokes, also known as Jerusalem artichokes, look very similar to ginger root, but when you begin to peel them they offer an intensely concentrated artichoke aroma. Raw, they have the texture of a water chestnut, but taste sweeter and nuttier. They are a member of the tuber farm and are packed with iron and potassium. They aid in digestion and store carbs as inulin, not starch, making them an ideal substitute for potatoes. The farmer suggested roasting them or serving raw in a salad, but I’ve had sunchoke soup on the mind since Ramona’s post in the spring. This simple soup lets their flavor shine. I added mushrooms which added to the earthy flavor, but you can omit them.

Recipe: Creamy Sunchoke Soup
Adapted from Thomas Keller

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound sunchokes
  • 1 leek, white part and an inch of the green portion, rinsed well
  • 1/2 cup maitake mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup cream

Instructions: Peel and thinly slice the sunchokes. (They are a little tricky to peel, so go carefully.) Slice the leek cross-wise into thin strips. Coarsely chop the mushrooms. Melt butter in stock pot over medium low heat. Add sunchokes and leeks and cook until they are translucent, about 8 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook 2 minutes more. Season with white pepper and salt, and stir in chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and puree in blender or with stick blender until smooth.  Stir in cream, warm over low heat for two minutes, then remove from heat and serve. Makes 4 servings. Enjoy!

Farms of Origin: Organic sunchokes and leek, Next Step Produce and maitake from the Mushroom Lady, Dupont Circle Farmers Market. Butter from South Mountain Creamery.

– originally posted 12/09/08

2010 in Review

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

It would be hard to out-do the highs and lows of 2010. Looking back, some of our most memorable meals weren’t even homemade — such as the pizza dinner in our new dining room the day we closed on the house, and the first sushi after the foodie bebe’s birth. Between the many firsts still in store for the baby, and the boy starting kindergarten in the fall (?!), 2011 is bound to be full of so many more memories. But before we forge forward, here are just a few favorite Foodie Tots moments of 2010:

3 favorite Sweet Treats

3 favorite Farmers Market Meals

And tooting my own horn for a minute, 3 notable honors:

And looking forward now … the foodie bebe ate her first solids on the first day of 2011:

Stay tuned for a few posts on baby food as we kick off 2011 with a renewed focus on good food for even the littlest eaters. Thanks for reading these past three years, and please drop me a note if there are topics you’d like to see more of in 2011. Cheers!