Stay tuned, stay hungry, and go cook something already!

Follow Mouth of Wonder on Instagram!

If you make something from the blog and don't share it on social media, did it really happen? #mouthofwonder

Thursday, February 01, 2024

Jerusalem Artichokes (aka Fartichokes)


Seasonal Recipe of the Week
Today we are going to talk about Jerusalem Artichokes, sometimes called Sunchokes, and sometimes Fartichokes! Let's start with some basic info compliments of The New York Times.

“One of the most abundant, curiously neglected and oddly named foods in America is the Jerusalem artichoke. Since its inception the name has involved a comedy of errors not only in this country but in France. The English name of the vegetable, which I find appealing to the taste and semantically captivating, has nothing deliberately to do with the capital of Israel, and that requires explanation. The Jerusalem artichoke is not an artichoke at all, as we know the more sophisticated globe artichoke. The Jerusalem version is actually related to the sunflower. The sunflower is called girasole in Italian, - it means gyrating or turning to the sun. And, at least according to folk etymology, girasole through some slip of nomenclature turned into Jerusalem. That is even more historically fascinating, considering that the vegetable in question is native to America. It was indigenous to the central United States and Canada and was first taken to France by Samuel de Champlain in 1616, from which moment it began to flourish. After its introduction to France, the easily proliferating root vegetable was first referred to as poires de terre (earth pears) or artichauts de Canada (Canadian artichokes).” — The New York Times 1981

Then there is the “fartichoke” business, which is not just a rumor, trust me! It has to do with the high levels of inulin, a soluble fiber, which gives them their sweetness but passes through your digestive system intact until it reaches the colon where gut bacteria breaks it and releases the gas. There are remedies for this such as slow roasting or soaking them in salt water before simmering them in milk. The addition of caraway or fennel seeds is also said to help, which is great news because those flavors work perfectly together. Other great options are to pickle them, purée them, or use them with potatoes and apples in a soup.

Why discuss this now? Because last week my lovely neighbor "Dan the Fig man" (so-called because he grows hundreds of fig trees in his own personal Garden of Eden ... as well as peaches, he raises chickens, cares for pigeons, and generally is a man at one with nature) called to offer me some Jerusalem artichokes and I was delighted! I tried them 3 ways: a thin sliced marinated salad; a chunky pickle, and roasted herbed slices.

Will report back later about the pickles because they take a while but the other 2 items are fast and delicious. Here are two simple recipes which you can elaborate on and make your own:

Jerusaleum Artichoke salad

8 ounces Jerusalem artichokes, soaked in cold water for a few minutes then brushed clean with a vegetable brush
3 tablespoons lemon juice (this time of year Meyer lemons are available and extra fragrant and delicious)
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
Sea salt to taste
a few grinds of black pepper
1/4 cup of a good quality fruity olive oil
2 scallions, cut into thin slices

Once your chokes are free of dirt, slice them very thinly — I recommend using a mandoline slicer. Soak them in some salted water with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice for 30 minutes, then drain well. If they are too wet, the oil dressing will not stick. Then mix together the remaining lemon juice, oil, orange zest salt and pepper and scallions. Let marinate for at least 30 minutes. Now eat!

Roast Jerusalem Artichokes

8 ounces well-scrubbed Jerusalem artichokes(see above instructions) cut into 1/4 inch slices on the diagonal
3 Tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon fresh chopped herbs, I used Rosemary (still growing from my garden), thyme, and tarragon (you can also use dried herbs)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and lightly oil a sheet pan. Toss all the ingredients together and spread out on sheet pan. Roast 20 minutes, or until they are tender in the center and browned on the outside. Adjust salt and pepper and serve.

Monday, January 22, 2024

Marzipan Loaf Cake


Seasonal Recipe of the Week
There is something about certain food words that make them extra special. I have gone on for years about how much sexier tangerine is than orange. Drizzle is way more upscale than drip. There is nothing I can do with foam, but put a a savory marmalade on my plate and I am in. I feel this way about marzipan, much cooler than almond paste.

Which brings me to the cake I just pulled from the oven. I was wandering about LIDL, my local weird supermarket which I have a love/hate relationship with. They are a European chain and often have unusual products littered randomly throughout the store. Things I don't really think anyone on Long Island wants or needs, like pickled Greek Octopus salad (rubbery and inedible) to the bar of marzipan I found today which was 40% off, a leftover from Christmas. Fortunately this stuff is almost indestructible.

Recently I had read a Nigella recipe for a marzipan loaf which sounded like it needed trying. Here it is, unchanged from original, though now I'm thinking adding chocolate chips would be divine!

Note: this is a British recipe so it's in grams, get out those scales!

150 grams marzipan
125 grams unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
50 grams granulated sugar
75 grams all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
3 large eggs, room temperature

Heat oven to 325. Spray and line a loaf pan with parchment and spray parchment.

Tear up the marzipan into small pieces and put in food processor, then add everything else and run till batter is smooth. Stop twice to scape down sides of the bowl. Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes, or until the top is golden, it springs back, and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Freezes well.

Monday, November 20, 2023

Thanksgiving Tips 2023

My People! Rula is here for you! As always, my surefire tips will make sure your dinner goes off without a hitch:

❯❯❯ Rula Gives Good Bird ❮❮❮

Yes, fellow Pilgrims, these are the same tips I post every year, but isn't it comforting to know that some things never change?

Stacy's been back on Long Island since 2014 — where have you been? And Mary-Charlotte has long since retired from radio, so there will be no more day-before-Thanksgiving Radio Café appearances. But you can still relive their glory days — there are eight years of Radio Café shows in the archives that feature Stacy's Thanksgiving tips. I guess the internet is good for something besides TikTok dance routines, after all!

Well, my little Meat Thermometers, it's back to Brooklyn for me — that gravy won't make itself! Ciao!

Sunday, July 16, 2023

Mandarin Orange (or Clementine) Cake


Seasonal Recipe of the Week
Last weekend, we were at the Jersey Shore hanging out with my husband's college buddies. What did we do there? A little beach time, some boardwalk-ing. Lots of eating, drinking, and discussing the end of America as we know it — which led to more drinking and eating. Everyone brought food and beverages and our lovely hosts made it all work together seamlessly into a splendid holiday.

One of the things I tried for the first time, was an orange-flavored cake with only 5 ingredients, by Nigella Lawson. But of course I ended up putting my own spin on it. The recipe calls for almond flour — it's naturally gluten-free! — but I didn't have any almond flour, so instead I used a combo of half Bob's Red Mill hazelnut flour and half grain-free paleo flour. The recipe is also dairy-free. And, lastly, I switched out the sugar for Erythritol (alternative sweetener sold under the brand name Swerve) so I could eat it.

You can do an optional glaze using lemon or orange juice and confectioners sugar, but I think it's intense enough as it is. Perhaps a chocolate drizzle is in order? Other changes I made to original recipe were the inclusion of ground coriander, cinnamon, and mace. The original recipe said to use a springform pan, but I opted for a parchment-lined square pyrex dish and it cooked perfectly. I left the edges of the parchment paper tall so I could use it to lift the cake out of the pan. Here is my recipe, but please note this can be experimented with and certainly improved. Say ... with the always sexy tangerine, or lemon or lime or grapefruit. Note: the amount of sugar you use will need to be adjusted depending on the citrus.

5 whole mandarin or clementine oranges (total 375 grams)
220 grams Swerve granular sugar substitute
6 large eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
125 grams hazelnut flour
125 grams Paleo grain free flour
1/4 teaspoon mace (you can substitute nutmeg)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon coriander

Put the oranges in a pot, cover with water, partially cover, bring to a boil, and simmer for two hours. Keep an eye on it, as the water has a tendency to boil off. Drain and let cool. Cut the oranges in half and remove any seeds. Spray a glass pan with baking spray, line with parchment, spray again, and set aside. Preheat oven to 375.

Place the oranges into a food processor fitted with the steel blade, and pulse till you have a purée, then add everything else. Scrape batter into pan and bake 1 hour. Let cool 10 minutes in pan before lifting out. It's better the next day — but who can wait? I'm thinking a little salted caramel ice cream on top might be fabulous.