Wednesday, December 21, 2011

CSA Share: Sunchoke Soup

This winter, I've finally signed up for a CSA, or community supported agriculture from Greensgrow Farm in Kensington. Yes, there's a farm in Kensington. It's not all bad there.

It may not sound like it makes much sense to sign up for a CSA in the dead of winter, given that I live in the Northeast and local picks in the cold of winter mean lots of roots and cabbage. But I did it. It's been great so far. This week, I got a bunch of Jerusalem artichokes, or sunchokes in the share.

Sunchokes are related to the sunflower but taste like artichokes. They look like ginger, which confuses people. I handed my boyfriend a piece of ginger and a sunchoke and he couldn't tell which was which. Apparently, they can do a number on people's tummies since they contain inulin. The inulin is part of the reason why they aren't too popular.

But they really should be. Because, as I said, they taste like artichokes, but don't require all the prep of artichokes. They're little tubers, so you can just chop them up and do what you want with them. I didn't even bother to peel them.

I went the soup direction with my batch of sunchokes. If you don't know what to do with it, make soup, I guess. I could have roasted them, but given that it's winter, I have a feeling I will be sick of roasted veggies soon enough.

The soup was mad easy, as soup really should be. You throw stuff in a pot and heat and that's it. I based my soup off of this recipe from the Guardian. I say based because it's in British and metric and I didn't have the wherewithal to convert things. So I just threw stuff in. I think I used one leek, half a pound of sunchokes, and two potatoes. I didn't feel like cutting an onion, so I left that out. Since I didn't have cheddar, chestnuts or parsley, I didn't make the pesto either. My batch of soup made enough to feed me dinner last night and lunch today. All told, good times.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Alcohol For the Holidays

DIY-ing it for the holidays continues to be trendy. Usually, I like to make a few gifts to give to family members at Christmas. Since I've started giving homemade gifts, the bar has gotten higher and higher. Cookies? That's so 2008. Bagels? 2010. This year, my homemade gifts are made out of booze.

Judging from the buzz on the Internet, making your own liqueurs is popular this year. It's also pretty easy, depending on the liqueur you choose to make. I'm trying my hand at coffee liqueur, cranberry liqueur, and the ever-popular limoncello.

I got the recipe for coffee liqueur from Epicurious. It was almost impossibly easy. I did turn my back on the coffee syrup for a second though, resulting in a sticky boiling-over mess. I sampled a bit of the liqueur in a white Russian tonight and it was better than a certain name-brand booze, if I'm allowed to say that.

The cranberry liqueur recipe came from Cooking Light. Again, it was dead simple. Chop up 12 ounces of fresh cranberries, make some simple syrup, add vodka and let sit for a month. I just started the recipe a few days ago, so it won't be ready in time for Christmas.

Limoncello. Limoncello. Everyone gets all excited about this liqueur. It was actually the most annoying to make, as it involved removing the zesty-peel part of the lemons. The zesty-peel part of 10 lemons, actually. Using a slightly dull vegetable peeler and paring knife. I got lemon juice in my eyes twice. Currently, those peels are soaking 750 mL of vodka. After about a week, I'll add some simple syrup and let sit, then strain. I've never actually had limoncello, so I'm hoping it's good.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

New Work of Stitchery

That's my latest stitched piece. It's inspired by a pencil drawing I saw at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Although I had the wherewithal to take a picture of the drawing, I didn't record its title or the artist. Guess I'll just have to go back there and take a look again.

I have big plans for this piece. I intend to do a series of the same design, in different colors and stitches. Some will be stretched over canvas, others left in their hoops. We'll see. In addition to this design, I plan on doing several other paintings or artworks as stitched pieces.