One thing I do miss about living in an apartment is not having a garden. In my late teen I took over a section of my parent’s backyard to grow vegetables.Only one problem: I do not have a green thumb. But still it is a fun and relaxing activity. now I have a herb garden and still no green thumb. I did try to grow a tomato plant in a big pot for 2 summers. It was not a big success.
It’s a shame because one of the great pleasures of summer gardens is fresh juicy tomatoes. And it just so happens to be the them of this month’s Creative Cooking Crew challenge. And of course to do something different! So get your fish, chicken or even breakfast toast out for my Roasted Tomato Jam.
—-Sorry I have been MIA. Was planning on catching up on comments this weekend following a crazy week…and then Saturday I had a minor flooding issues and had to evacutate my place as 7 industrial fans dry up my place. So I’ll be back to commenting asap! —-
Way before this blog, way before I realised where my passion for ethnic food would take me, I bought a Mexican cookbook like 20 years ago, ironically from an Australian publication house!?!? I was really excited about cooking up some Latin flavors but I got discouraged rather fast once I really flipped through the pages. All the recipes had the craziest and longest list of ingredients. There were so many elaborate steps. I think I never actually made a single recipe in the end.
So I shyed away from making Mexican food for so long. Now I know better. There are very simple recipes that are absolutely bursting with flavor. Take for example the humble Huevos Rancheros with Roasted Tomato Salsa dish.
As I was catching up on my favorite food blogs the other day I felt so awful for Bren who described how she broke her camera during an event. I also got a bad gut feeling. Well exactly one week later I broke my DSLR lens. I could not believe it. In such a stupid and careless way. I was carrying 50 things at once, including the camera, to toss on the couch as I was planning on downloading picture. Well I loss my grip on the camera and it fell. The UV filter was shattered and and the zoom extending part was crooked.
Well it looks like the body is OK and I was able to download my shots. I also had just received 2 payments on Paypal which now became lens shopping funds. Good timing but would have skipped the whole episode. Found one on Ebay and waiting for the mail man to bring my package. This is one of the recipes that I was thankfully able to download, a Roasted Jerusalem Artichoke and Walnut Salad with Ricotta adapted from this blog post.
Have you broken broken a camera lens before or an expensive electronic ‘toy’?
Back to the salad. Have you ever eaten a Jerusalem Artichoke before? I discovered this vegetable about 10 years back and fell in love. At the time it was really hard to find but it is gaining popularity. My mom said she remembers it from her childhood but I guess was forgotten for a few decades.
In case you are wondering, it is not related to the artichoke nor has it a connection with Jerusalem. It is actually part of the sunflower family and when the Italians started immigrating to North America they called it by the Italian name girasole (sunflower in Italian) which somehow turned into Jerusalem.
And how do we explain the artichoke part? The delicate and earthy taste has a faint resemblance to artichokes. Do not judge it for its tubular root look, this is a refined vegetable to the palate. Most recipes ask to peel them but don’t bother. The skin is thin and totally edible. Just give it a good brushing under cold water. This is a great warm salad that can totally substitute as a meal, it is a hardy portion.
Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Place the artichokes on a baking tray lined with aluminum, drizzle with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Put in the oven for about 30min until soft and cooked through.
Put the walnuts on a baking tray. Pop in the oven for about 5min until golden. Take out and leave to cool. Chop roughly.
Prepare the seasoning by mixing together the mustard, the vinegar and olive oil. Toss with the artichokes.
When the artichokes are cooked and warm, prepare 2 plates with greens on the bottom. Spoon the artichokes on top and add the walnuts and ricotta on top. Serve straight away.