Roasted Sunchokes

I frequent the farmer’s market every Saturday in my neighborhood. This year they moved the market to a new location, and one which was a great improvement. I was excited several weeks ago to say the least, not only for the new location but to see some of the familiar faces and to check out what was in season.

There was the standard Spring items including rhubarb, some asparagus, honey of course, and then sunchokes. If you have never seen or tried a sunchoke, it is a must try. They are knobby looking vegetables that are way to easy to make, and leave you with almost a nutty flavor. With that being said it was my duty to pick up a pound of them, take some advice from the farmers, and get to work. This is my take on the roasted sunchoke.

Roasted Sunchokes
Roasted Sunchokes

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 lb sunchokes, rinsed and cleaned
  • salt to taste

That’s it my friends. I used garlic and butter only because I was making camerones al mojo de ajo (garlic shrimp) for a main, so the sunchokes would be served as my vegetable and side dish.

Start by heating a skillet on medium to low heat. Add in the butter, oil, and garlic, and let that come to temperature.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Once the butter has melted (do not let it brown), add in the sunchokes, and give them a gentle turn from time to time. You only have to do this to get some flavor, or should I say more flavor onto the sunchokes. Once your oven is preheated, add remove the sunchokes with some tongs onto a baking sheet and place into the oven for about 35 minutes or until they are tender.

Remove from the oven, season with a bit of salt, and plate and serve.

When I plated these, my wife and kids were a bit intrigued, as was I. So my wife and I grabbed a few and were blown away. They are nutty, and almost potato like, but with these had that nice garlic butter and salt addition which topped them off even more.

If you are looking, or if your market still has sunchokes, get them, and hook them up. If you do not want to turn on the oven, feel free to put them on the grill on indirect heat. These make a great side, and to boot are really great for you. Thank you farmers and farmer’s market! I’m glad it is that time of year!

Homemade Corn Nuts

I grew up eating corn nuts. I loved them, and still to this day. I’m a bit cautious however eating them nowadays only because I think I may crack a tooth or something. But corn nuts are something my boys love as well, and I figured what the heck, let’s make some homemade ones. I was thinking of what to seasons these corn nuts with, and came up with two versions. One using a Filipino sisig seasoning (you can find it in your Asian market), and the other using one of my son’s favorite seasoning blends, Slap Ya Mama.

These corn  nuts are really easy to make, come out a bit on the chalky side which is ok, and still pleased the boys. Feel free to use whatever seasoning mix you enjoy.

Homemade Corn Nuts Recipe
Homemade Corn Nuts Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag of Goya Giant White Corn Kernels (You can find at your local Mexican grocery store)
  • 1 pinch of sugar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • water to cover and soak
  • 3 cups of canola oil
  • 3 tbsp of your favorite seasoning blend

Now you have a couple of options here. You can fry them or bake them. I default to the fry method, however if you are going to bake them, bake them at 400 degrees between 20-40 minutes turning every 10 minutes.

You have to soak the beans overnight in a large bowl in cool water. The next day, drain the water, and them them stay in the strainer to air dry a bit. Sprinkle in the sugar and salt, and give them a good toss.

Next heat up a pot and pour in the oil. Bring to a medium-high heat for a few minutes. Drop in a couple of corn nuts and see if they sizzle. If not, wait a few more minutes until they do sizzle.

Homemade Corn Nuts
Homemade Corn Nuts

Fry the corn nuts, in batches, for about 15 minutes or until they get nice and golden. Move them around with a slotted spoon from time to time. Once they are golden, remove them to a paper lined baking sheet with a kitchen spider or slotted spoon, removing any excess oil, and let them cool slightly.

While they are cooling, pour them into a mixing bowl, and add your seasoning, tossing to completely coat them. Repeat and serve.

My oldest loved these, in particular the Slap Ya Mama version. Crunchy, salty, and delicious. These make for a perfect snack. Hope you enjoy!

Baseball Park Style Candied Cashews

Unfortunately we were not able to get out to a ballgame this year. It is one of those things we love to do as a family. Everything from the tailgate, walking into the stadium, and enjoying the game (and more food). If there is one thing my wife loves it is the candied style nuts that they serve. The smell of them cooking is intoxicating, and they are as good to eat as they are to smell. It’s one of those things we typically buy together when we go. So with that being said, and a bit disappointed that we were not able to get to a game this year, I was not going to let that stop me from coming up with a batch of these baseball park style candied nuts for my wife and kids to enjoy.

Baseball Park Style Candied Nuts Recipe
Baseball Park Style Candied Nuts Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of whole cashews
  • 1 whole egg white, beaten
  • 1 tsp ice cold water
  • 3/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • generous pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • cooking spray, or parchment paper

The trick to getting that candied effect on the nuts is the egg white. It adds just the awesome crunch and serves as the glue for the seasoning.

Baseball Park Style Candied Nuts Recipe
Baseball Park Style Candied Nuts Recipe

Preheat your oven to 250 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Beat the egg white and water in a bowl until it is nice and frothy.

Add the nuts to the bowl, along with the spices, and mix very well.

Baseball Park Style Candied Nuts Recipe
Baseball Park Style Candied Nuts Recipe

Lay the nuts evenly on the baking sheet and place in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until everything begins to caramelize and get nice and toasted. Once that is achieved, remove from the oven, and slide those nuts into a serving bowl. Let cool for about 5 minutes (if you can resist), and dig in.

You want to talk about not only a great ballpark snack, but these nuts are perfect this time of year, especially around the holidays! Hope you enjoy and Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone!

Eggplant Parmesan

Unfortunately our local farmers market season has ended and for us Wisconsinites that means only one thing. Winter is on its way. It’s actually snowing out while I type this and looking out of the windows yields a heavy, thick snowfall. It’s pretty for about 2 minutes, then well I guess I’m over it. But reflecting on the market days, I always try to buy an array of things from various farmers. Eggplant was one of those items this season. I’ll be up front and honest, I’m not not a fan of eggplant and never really have been, but I keep trying, much like I will keep trying beets (yes, not a fan). When I brought them home, I immediately thought of making baba ghanoush (that I am a fan of), but then I thought I would go with an eggplant parmesan and see how my kids would like it. They love lasagna so maybe if I tried to disguise it as a lasagna on a meatless Monday, how would they react?

Eggplant Parmesan Recipe
Eggplant Parmesan Recipe

It was not actually all meatless, as I used about a 1/4 pound of ground meat just to get the kids thinking it was possibly what they thought it was. It worked out just fine.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 3 whole, small eggplants, cut into 1/2 inch rounds
  • 28 oz jar of your favorite marinara sauce
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 2 cups of panko breadcrumbs
  • 3 whole eggs, beaten
  • salt, to taste
  • cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 lb ground beef, cooked and fat drained

Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees.

Season your eggs and breadcrumbs with salt and pepper.

Take each eggplant round and swipe it through eggs, then the breadcrumbs, then place on a baking sheet. Repeat with all eggplant. Drizzle the tops with olive oil.

Place the baking sheet into the oven and cook for about 25 minutes or until the eggplant’s coating is a nice golden brown.

Eggplant Parmesan Ingredients
Eggplant Parmesan Ingredients

Next, add about 1 cup of marinara to the bottom of a casserole or lasagna dish. Layer in half of the eggplant, top with half of the mozzarella cheese, layer with the remaining eggplant, then more cheese, then top with the ground meat, and finish with more marinara and all of the remaining cheese.

Place into the oven, uncovered, and cook for about another 25 minutes or until the cheese and sauce is nice and bubbly. Remove and let it cool for about 10 minutes before slicing into it.

The result? Well, eggplant parmesan. Were my kids a fan? Not really! Was I? Not really, but it was nice knowing I wasn’t indulging in a mound of meat and potatoes. It was easy, clean, and well very good if you are into that type of stuff. Hope you enjoy!