Monday, February 8, 2010

Quilting and Roasted Sunchokes

I have always wanted to make a quilt.

Not just any quilt.

I have always wanted to make a big, heirloom, queen sized quilt for TBHITW and my bed.

I know how to sew but I do not know how to make a quilt.

Until today.

My good friend Anne knows how to quilt (her quilts are beautiful) and she is going to teach me how to make my own. Starting today.

Yesterday we went to the fabric store and I think I died and went to heaven. The colors!! The choices!! I decided for my first quilt I would use my favorite colors, yellow and green.

I'm going to name this quilt "Summertime". The back will be a rust colored cotton reminiscent of the colors of newly turned earth. The green is like a meadow, the yellow represents the sun and the cream is the color of wheat.

Per Anne's instructions, last night while the rest of the world watched the Super Bowl, I washed, dried and ironed the fabric (Go Saints!). Today she will show me how to cut it. We are designing a "Nine Patch" quilt. Anne informs me a Nine Patch is a good beginner quilt. Eventually we will work our way up to the Ohio Star and (be still my pounding heart and aching fingers) the Log Cabin design.

This quilt will cover our bed in our new home. Eventually.

Today I become the student.


Sunchokes are in season. No, they are not pieces of ginger and no, they are not cousins of artichokes. Sunchokes (known as Jerusalem artichokes) are actually the tubers of a variety of sunflower. They are choke full of vitamin C, iron, thiamin, phosphorus and potassium.

Originally cultivated by Native Americans, sunchokes have a nutty, sweet flavor and can be used raw in salads, roasted, fried (chips!), boiled or steamed.

Grab yourself a pound of chokes, roast them up with this recipe and serve along side chicken or fish. Yum. You will be glad you did.

Roasted Sunchokes: (serves 4)

1 pound sunchokes, scrubbed (do not peel) and sliced 1/2 inch thick
3 cloves garlic, sliced
One bulb fennel, sliced into 1/2 inch slices
One 15 ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for drizzling
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons parsley chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Slice the sunchokes and if not using right away, place in a bowl of cold water with juice from 1/2 a lemon (sunchokes will oxidize and turn pink)

In a heavy skillet heat the olive oil. I use my cast iron skillet. Drain and pat dry the sunchokes, add to the pan and saute over medium high heat until nicely browned on both sides.

Meanwhile, spread the artichokes and fennel out on a heavy rimmed baking sheet. Add the browned sunchokes and the sliced garlic. Toss with a little more olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes until the fennel is browned and the sunchokes are soft - turning about 1/2 half way through. When finished roasting, sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.

Thank me later - I'm off to my quilting class.

A Cook's Notes: TBHITW and I have devised a 5 year plan I am calling from City to Farm in Five. While this keeps my mind busy I'm hoping a new found love of quilting will keep my hands busy. I would ultimately like to make each bed in our new home its own quilt.

PS. A serving of Roasted Sunchokes delivers about 160 calories, 6 grams of fat and 4 grams of fiber - as best as I can figure.. remember, I am a cook, not a nutritionist. That's my disclaimer.


  1. I've never heard of sunchokes!

    bravo on the quilt! it's something I've dreamt of doing for a long time too... but haven't had the time yet to learn (or anyone to teach me). it's definitely on my "someday" to-do list! ;o)

  2. I think it's only fair that you become a quilt master and do a quilt giveaway ;0)

  3. I absolutely love homemade quilts and have bedspreads. Have one on my bed and I adore it.

    CJ xx

  4. Add me to the list of those who've never heard of sunchokes. I'll have to try them (they look appetizingly like fried potatoes) when I feel like cooking again.

    I'm sure you'll have a blast making a quilt. I love the colors. They are the same colors I have all over my house. Something about the earthy tones and the way they complement one another is so warm and welcoming.

  5. I have never had this dish. Where does one find these sunchokes? They look like the roots of the giant sunflower I dull up every fall.

    Have fun with the quilt. I am making a freeform quilt for my little grandson. It has skateboards on it and the lining side is green. His favorite color. Love that kid!

  6. Chris - Quilt making has been on my to do list for a very long time too. I'm happy I am finally getting started!

    Eternally - you are such a kidder! Well, maybe...

    Crystal - it seems that farms and beautiful hand made quilts go together, no?

    Buffalo - go, buy, make, try. Love!!

    Whitney - my house too is filled with these colors. I find them all so comforting!

    Kathy - exactly! They do look like the roots of a sunflower and they are closely related. You can find them in the produce aisle. You must really love that boy a lot - I just finished with my first (3 hour) lesson and it is a lot of work!

  7. Those sunchokes look extremely delicious!

    I wish I had a friend to teach me to quilt! My biggest ambition (besides getting a degree and all that jazz) is to be able to design and sew my own dresses/clothing. :)

  8. I have always wanted to quilt! I will enjoy your progress in this endeavor. I really love your from City to Farm in Five. It's going to be a great (and rapid) five years, and the quilts will be ready for the beds.

    I've never made these, but they look really good. Hmmm, maybe a nice change of pace from potatoes.

  9. Are they similar in taste and texture to potatoes? They look it.

  10. Phoebe - Why not study design and get your degree in fashion? The sky's the limit at your age!

    Nancy - tonight I am going to boil some with potatoes and mash together. They will be the "bed" for some pan roasted halibut!

    Suldog - They are similar in texture to potatoes but have a nutty, slightly sweet taste all their own. They are very good.

  11. Hey I'm learning alot of new things on this blog!!! Never heard of a sunchoke??? I'll have to take a closer look at my grocer and try these..I also love quilts..alwasy wanted to make them..but I lack the sewing consist of decorative pillows.. I do have a nice collection of using them on the bed, as tablecloths and have even have hung them on the walls..I can't wait to see your own creation!

  12. Marlene -I may have to come to you for advice on the decorative pillow sewing. Once the quilt is done I want to make a whole bunch of pillows to match. I've always wanted a big bed piled high with pillows...


Wow. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I love feedback... what with being a cook and all. I will respond to your comments via email (if you do not have a "noreply" address or here, below your comment) As always, Bon Appetite!

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