The one where Chelsea teaches you about sunchokes


Hi! It’s been a few, I know I know. 12 weeks of work travel, listing and selling, then moving only to move again in 6 weeks will do that to you. It’s been a complicated 2018.

So, sunchokes. “What, that creepy gnarled thing?! I thought that was just weird looking ginger” you may think to yourself. Next time you see a bin of sunchokes (also called Jerusalem artichokes) at Whole Foods or a farmer’s market, trust me and load up on a couple pounds. I know, they look like the things you plant to grow tulips and not remotely edible. But under the thin brown skin lies the sweet and starchy yet surprisingly vegetal meat of this weirdo tuber, and I’m going to teach you how to eat them. They’re easy to deal with, and will impress the heck out of all of your friends. Soigne hand strong.

Sunchokes can be manipulated into a variety of textures, and cooked in almost any way you can think of. A truly psycho like me might get super inspired and make an entire composed dish made up of different preparations of the vegetable, white cloth farm-to-table style. Here’s a quick list of things you can do with sunchokes:

  • Shave them raw into a salad for a clean and crunchy element
  • Boil them until they can be pierced with a knife, then puree them with some half and half, salt, and butter. Satisfying like mashed potatoes, but infinitely more complex.
  • Boil them until they can easily be pierced with a knife, cool slightly, then smash with the back of a pan. Pan fry in butter and olive oil until the skin is crispy.
  • Boil them until they can easily be pieced with a knife (do I sense a pattern here?) then blend in your Vitamix with chicken broth, roasted garlic and onions, and a splash of half and half. Garnish with chopped parsley and a drizzle of you most expensive olive oil.
  • Cut them into chips with a mandolin and deep fry or roast in the oven or air fryer until they’re crispy. They’d taste dope with creme fraiche and caviar…or canned french onion dip on top if that’s more your pace.
  • Chop about a pound in a food processor with the white part of a leek, an egg, some breadcrumbs, garlic, and parsley. Form into patties and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes or so. Pan fry until crispy.
  • Make a hash by shredding sunchokes in a food processor then tossing it in a skillet with some chopped onions. Top with a runny egg and chopped herbs.
  • Cut into even chunks and roast in the oven or air fryer. This is my favorite preparation, since you get to experience both the creamy flesh and crispy skins that make the sunchoke such a treat. In fact, I’ve got a recipe all ready for you!

Roasted Sunchokes with Classic Gremolata

You’ll Need

  • 2 lbs of sunchokes (or however much you picked up)
  • 1 bunch of flat leaf parsley
  • 1/3 of a cup of grated parmigiana. Not the garbage in a green can.
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh cracked black pepper


  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F (or if you’re living dat air fryer life, retrieve it out of your cabinet and plug that baby in).
  2. Rinse the sunchokes and cut off any dried patches on them. Don’t peel the sunchokes! The skin gives it all its texture. I’m fine with a good rinse under water, but scrub them down with a vegetable brush if that makes you feel better. Cut them in halves or quarters (or leave small ones whole), so they’re all pretty uniform in size–about 1 inch pieces is good.
  3. Toss them in olive oil and a healthy dash of salt. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes or so. When they’re finished, you should be able to pierce through them with a knife, but the texture should be a bit pliable and leathery, if that makes sense. Think of a great roasted carrot–no hard crunchy texture left, but it won’t fall apart the way say, a boiled potato would. Comprende? (Ps, if you’re using an air fryer, roast them at 350 for about 30 minutes, tossing halfway through).
  4. While your sunchokes are roasting, we’ll make the gremolata. Zest your lemon (I know you’re an adult and have a big kid microplane), peel your clove of garlic, grated your parmigiana, chop the bulk of the parsley stems off and discard. From here you can toss the garlic, lemon zest, cheese, and parsley into a food processor and pulse until its minced and all incorporated together. It should look like delicious green confetti, not saucy like a pesto. My food processor is packed up in storage for the next 6 weeks, so lucky me gets to mince everything with a knife.
  5. Serve your sunchokes with the gremolata sprinkled on top. I’m serving this on the side of some simple oven roasted halibut. Cheffy AF with minimal effort. You go Glen Coco!

Remix The Dish: You can follow this exact recipe with baby potatoes or fingerlings–just be sure to roast them long enough! The gremolata would taste delicious over steak, chicken, fish, or any other roasted vegetables. Another good play on this would be to toss the roasted sunchokes with olive tapenade, orange zest, and chopped parsley, or straight up jarred pesto if you don’t want to work that hard.

Why yes, I did have to make Alex an entirely different meal. He tasted a sunchoke though, I’ll give him that.

Mushroom Steel Cut Oat Risotto

This is a dish I’ve had in the back of my mind for years now. I’d read that you could treat some starches other than arborio rice just like you would a risotto–farro, barley, even brunoised (finely diced) potatoes. Alex and I were staying at a hotel in Cancun called Live Aqua, where Michelle Bernstein has a restaurant and featured a savory steel cut oat risotto. I tried it for the first time and loved it. It was rich and cheesy, perfectly paired with melt in your mouth osso bucco and bright pickled fennel.

Last month I went to Empire State South while in Atlanta on a business trip, and Hugh Acheson’s rendition of steel cut oat risotto was truly something special. The umami-rich mushrooms contrasted with bright green basil oil, and an acidic element added depth and tied the whole thing together. This is my attempt to recreate that magic.

You’ll Need

  • 1 container of mushrooms–baby bellas, shiitakes, or something fancier if you have access to them
  • 1 clamshell of dried porcini mushrooms–about 1/3 of a cup
  • 3/4 a cup of steel cut oats
  • 1/2 a cup of white wine
  • Granulated garlic
  • 1/2 a cup of fresh grated good parmiggiano, plus more for garnishing
  • A palmful of chopped tarragon
  • Tarragon, balsamic, or red wine vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Chives for garnish


  1. Start by boiling 3 cups of water, then add the dried porcinis. This will steep and produce a very dark, umami-rich liquid. This will be the flavor base of the dish. Trust.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Rinse the mushrooms really well in a colander, toss with a pinch of salt and a drizzle of olive oil, then roast on a sheet pan for about 35-40 minutes, tossing halfway through and checking to make sure the mushrooms don’t dry up too much. The mushrooms should release a lot of their liquid and concentrate in flavor. They’ll taste awesome. Remove and let cool slightly. We’ll use these to top the risotto at the end, so if you want to do this a day in advance, that’s totally cool. I run a very laissez-faire kitchen up in here.
  3. While your mushrooms are roasting, do your prep work–chop your herbs, grate your parmiggiano, measure out your wine, get all of your ingredients out where you can easily access them. Once the cooking process starts, you won’t be able to leave your station for too long. Nuke the porcini mushroom liquid for 2 minutes so it’ll be warm and ready to go.
  4. To start the risotto, get a large flat-bottomed pan (a sauté pan or frying pan that’s a couple inches deep will work well). Drizzle in some olive oil, and heat over medium. Once warm, pour in the steel cut oats and let them toast. Stir the oats constantly and don’t let them burn–this step is over once you can smell their nuttiness, about 30 seconds later. Pour in the white wine and give it a good stir, then turn the heat down to medium low. Add a couple big pinches of salt and a generous pinch of granulated garlic. Stir with a wooden spoon every 15 seconds or so, and let the oats absorb the liquid.
  5. For the next 25 minutes or so, this is your job: splash in 1/4-1/2 a cup of porcini broth into the oats, and stir and stir until the oats absorb much of the liquid. Once the liquid mostly dries up, add some more. Your oats should always be veiled under a thin layer of liquid, and you should stir it constantly to make sure everything cooks evenly, doesn’t burn, and that the excess starches get creamy and delicious. It’s a labor of love, but you’ll be so glad you put in the hustle.
  6. Once all the broth is used up, taste the oats. They should be hearty and toothsome, but not unpleasantly hard. Add warm water and continue cooking if it needs more time. If not, cut the heat and stir in the parmiggiano, tarragon, and a splash of the vinegar. Taste, then add more salt if needed.
  7. To serve, spoon into a wide bowl. Top with the roasted mushrooms, the chives, fresh grated parmiggiano, and a drizzle of good olive oil. Try not to wolf it down too quickly.

Remix The Dish: You can use this same method with chicken, beef, or veggie broth if mushrooms aren’t your thing and still get a crazy delicious meal. Chicken broth topped with roasted asparagus and bright green basil oil with be a super sexy spring dish. Next time, I’m going to double this recipe and eat the leftovers for breakfast with a 7 minute egg.

Chrissy Teigan’s Coconut Rice

Warning: this stuff is clutch. Can’t-stop-eating kind of delish. Salty and sweet coconut is crack to me. One of my all-time favorite desserts in the world is the delicious sticky rice with slices of mango on top from Thai restaurants. While this won’t yield the same desserty richness or al dente bite of official sticky rice (future post for sure) this is an excellent approximation that captures those same flavors in a savory application. Plus, this recipe is super easy, only takes about 20 minutes, and doesn’t require the soaking and steaming and special equipment that real Thai coconut rice calls for. Niiice.

I modified this recipe from one in Chrissy Teigan’s cookbook. She suggests serving it alongside a pineapple short rib offering. I think it’d taste clutch with any grilled teriyaki chicken, fish, shrimp, or steak, fried pork chops, stir fried veggies, or jerk chicken. I had some various garden goodies I didn’t know what to do with, so I threw them all in a roasting pan at 425 degrees until they were tender-crisp and served with ponzu sauce over the rice. The next day, I ate the rice with some Trader Joe’s shrimp dumplings that I steamed and drizzled with chili oil. It’s a blank palate…but not *too* blank.

You’ll Need

  • 1 1/2 cups of Jasmine rice
  • 1 can of coconut milk. The regular full fat stuff, not the lite version or the milk substitute. The thick creamy delicious stuff.
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt


  1. Put the rice in a strainer and give it a good rinse in the sink. Put the rice in a medium saucepan with the coconut milk, sugar, salt, and fill the empty coconut milk can full of water and pour that in too. The coconut milk will have probably separated in the can into a thick white semi-solid layer and a clear liquidy layer–that’s totally cool! It’ll all become homogenous once the rice heats up.
  2. Bring the rice mixture to a boil over high heat and give it a good stir. Reduce to low, cover the pot, and let barely simmer for 20 minutes. (If you lost the proper lid to your saucepan, you can Macgyver one out of foil). Uncover and stir the liquid layer back into the rice with a fork, fluffing as you go. Remove from the heat, cover, and let stand for 5 more minutes.

Remix The Dish: to reheat the rice to eat with leftovers, microwave it for a minute or two with the rice covered with a damp paper towel. My momma taught me that trick!! It rehydrates the rice so it won’t taste all hard and mealy.

You could also make a poor man’s version of the delicious Thai coconut rice dessert by adding an extra 1/4 cup of sugar to the rice, and simmering another can of coconut milk with 1/2 a cup of sugar, a teaspoon of corn starch, and several big pinches of salt. Serve the rice with fresh fruit, a generous drizzle of the coconut sauce, and sesame seeds sprinkled on top.

Girl and the Goat Roasted Cauliflower, and a little chat about flavors

I had the pleasure of visiting Girl and The Goat one week after the chef/owner Stephanie Izard won Iron Chef Gauntlet. That’s right, the first person to win Top Chef and become an Iron Chef is a woman, and her food is just as stunning as you’d expect.

We went family style and tried everything from goat belly to escargot ravioli to “pig face” to the most delicious shishitos I’ve ever tasted, covered in a crunchy layer of sesame and parmesan cheese. Stephanie is ballsy AF and understands how flavors work together.

When it comes to cooking on the fly, the most valuable skill you can possess is understanding what each component brings to the party. Knowing what an ingredient is supposed to accomplish empowers you to substitute with what you have at hand. Here are the flavor profiles we’re looking at in this dish:

Roasted Cauliflower = earthy, vegetal, soft

Parmesean = salty, umami, rich

Mint = fresh

Roasted Nuts = crunch

Pepperocini = acid, brightness, heat

Next time you take a bite of a dish with several components, think about how they all play off each other–how the sweet meat of a burger plays against a soft and buttery bun, crunchy lettuce, and tangy pickles, or how funky blue cheese works with fresh iceberg, salty bacon, and sweet tomatoes. A great plate combines several different flavors and textures, and this week I challenge you to contemplate this as you eat.

You’ll Need

  • A head of cauliflower (or be lazy and buy one pre-cut from the salad section, no judgement here)
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • A handful of mint, chopped (can sub flat-leaf parsley or any leafy green herb)
  • 1/4 cup of roasted almonds (can sub whatever you have in the house–walnuts, pistachios, or even peanuts would accomplish the same thing. Stephanie used roasted pine nuts! Seeds or even crushed croutons work too)
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup of shredded or grated Parmesan cheese (pecorino, manchego, or and hard and flavorful cheese would work fine)
  • Pepperocini rings (banana peppers, peppadews, jalapenos, or any spicy pickled pepper would work great)


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees F. Break the cauliflower down into 1-2 inch chunks. If you’ve never cut up a cauliflower before, I promise it’s way less scary then you’d think. They’re significantly softer than a spaghetti squash or even a cabbage, so no need to say your hail marys or feel like your fingers are living on borrowed time. I like to slice the thing into 4 big pieces then gently separate the florets from the leaves and thick center, using my hands or a small knife. The leaves and stem are edible (and delicious), but that’s for another post.
  2. Toss the cauliflower with about a couple good glugs of olive oil and a few big pinches of salt. Place on a baking sheet (cut side down for maximum browning) and roast until tender, 20-25 minutes. TIP CITY: when roasting veggies, in addition to tossing in olive oil, I also like to hit the baking pan with some Pam spray, as well as spritz the tops of the veg with it before popping it in the oven. Oil promotes browning, and browning = flavortown.
  3. While the veg roasts, rough chop the nuts and the mint. Have some ziploc baggies handy for the leftovers–the nuts and mint would taste awesome tossed with berries, sprinkled over a salad, or mashed into some goat or cream cheese.
  4. Remove cauliflower and toss in a serving bowl with the parmesan. Taste for seasoning, and add more cheese or a little more salt if necessary. (If your nuts are salted, keep this in mind! Nothing shuts down a party like too much seasoning). Sprinkle the mint and nuts on top. Finish by garnishing with the pepperocini.

Remix The Dish: try this cauliflower with peppadews and manchego cheese for a Spanish take, or use basil or cilantro, peanuts, pickled jalapeño, and omit the cheese for a Thai spin.