Food: freestyle experiences

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Heirloom… February 19, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — caroschm @ 11:47 pm

Heirloom :  “a valued possession passed down in a family through succeeding generations.”

I learnt about this word few days ago because I was looking for what I was calling “old vegetables”.

I do not mean old as the carrot or the cabbage who are sleeping in the fridge, bought two weeks ago! No.

I mean heirloom vegetables : Jerusalem artichokes, Chinese artichokes, scorzoneras (or black salsify), swede (rather called rutabaga), nettle, barbentane’s aubergine,…all those rare vegetables that become more and more popular.

It can be a wonder to enthral your friends : « tonight I will cook « sautéd jerusalem artichokes with garlic and bay leaves » specially for youuuuu  !»

Heirloom vegetables become increasingly trendy however they share a peculiar part of our patrimony.

Let us have a look to the following website where the heirloom vegetables gardener’s give advices to protect them, to cherish them, far from the industrial agriculture. Heirloom is not a business !

Here is the one you did not dare to ask me : THE trendy recipe

sautéd jerusalem artichokes with garlic and bay leaves

Prick up your ears to this sweet greedy poetry :

« Jerusalem artichokes are sweet and almost garlicky and mushroomy and gorgeous. Although called artichokes they’re actually tubers – like rough and ready potatoes. You can scrub and roast them whole like mini jacket potatoes and split them open, drizzled with a little chilli oil. You can even use them in a salad with smoky bacon. A Jerusalem artichoke’s best friends are sage, thyme, butter, bacon, bay, cream, breadcrumbs, cheese and anything smoked. »

(Thank you Jamie Oliver !)

The ingredients for 4

600g of Jerusalem artichokes.

Olive oil

a few bay leaves

2 cloves of finely sliced garlic,

white wine vinegar


Peel the artichokes, then cut them into chunks. Fry them in the apropriate pan with little oil until they become goldy on both sides. Add the bay leaves, the garlic, a splash of white wine vinegar, some salt and pepper.

Place a lid on top and continue cooking softly about 20 to 25 minutes.

After that put again the heat on to crisp the artichoke slices up one last time, then serve straight away with meat or fish or as a warm salad.

Bon appetit !


6 Responses to “Heirloom…”

  1. thalounette Says:

    Never heard of Jerusalem Artichokes… The picture looks tantalizing nonetheless 😀
    Where can you find/buy these Caro?
    You quoted many heiloom vegetables (black salsify, swede, nettle, etc…), did you know they existed before reading their names? Have you tried one?

  2. caroline Says:

    The french word for Jerusalem artichokes is…topinambour ! I am sure you knew it.
    I knew most of those vegetables before, you can find them at the market. However I am not very keen on cooking them. Thank you internet !!!

  3. thalounette Says:

    All right! Yes, I am coming from New Caledonia, and we eat this vegetable a lot in fact!
    You are not the cooking type Caro? 😀
    You should try the recipes you write on this blog 😀

  4. carolille Says:

    …”you are not the cooking type ” i do not understand….was it ironical? What does cooking type mean?

  5. thalounette Says:

    It was a question! I asked if you were like me, if you were cooking a lot?

  6. davelecteur Says:

    Hey Caroline, sorry for reading your post so long after you wrote it…
    I’d never heard of “heirloom vegetables” before! I didn’t really understand why they’re called this. Is it just because they are rare? Or maybe a vegetable that was commonly used many years ago but almost forgotten about until recently? Or maybe it’s that there are ancient families who have kept a stock of them in a pantry for hundreds of years and finally they’re old enough for the new generation to savour them like an old wine??
    Here are a few English language tips:
    – “old LIKE the carrot or the cabbage WHICH are sleeping…”
    – “all those rare vegetables that ARE BECOMING more and more popular” – in English, I believe that anything “qui devient de plus en plus [adjective]” should take the -ing form because it is, I suppose, “en train de devenir de plus en plus populaire…”. If that explanation helps… There’s also one more example of this small mistake in your text.
    – “they share a peculiar part of our patrimony” – I understand what you mean, but I think this sounds a little Frenchified. French has some really nice, concise ways of expressing quite complex ideas. But in English this sounds a bit vague, a bit hard to know exactly what you mean.
    – I think we always use the word “advice” in the singular
    – Your quote from Jamie would be a “poem” (nice cultural reference, by the way – he’s been really popular in the UK in recent years, but I guess you knew that)
    Hope you’re well,

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