Kind of pokey, artichokey…..

So, in all the years I have been cooking, I have never actually cooked an artichoke. Doing so, requires a bit of time consuming prep that may possibly be filed under “not worth the effort”. Still deciding.


I found a bag of HUGE Land of the Lost sized chokes at local wholesale club only a couple of days after I watched an episode of Giada in Italy where she served grilled artichokes with “bagna cauda” or  “hot bath” dipping sauce of lemon, butter, garlic and anchovies.


That’s the easy part..first you have to get the chokes ready and cooked.


‘First cut the tip of the artichoke off, about two levels of leaves down and peel off the outside leaves. Then snip the tops off the outer leaves. I definitely had to size up on the knife when lopping off the top!


Cut the chokes in half and trim the stem of outside layer.


Then, use a teaspoon and remove the soft chokey part. ( see example on the right)

Add some wine, water and fresh herbs to a large non reactive pot.

Nestle the halves and some lemon halves in the pot and bring to a boil. Cook for about 20 minutes, so the artichokes are good and soft. The color will fade too like all cooked veggies.


Then toss the cooked halves in olive oil and grill for about 8 minutes per side.


Lessons learned…

I needed to peel off more outer leaves after cooking to find the very tender and sweet inner leaves…yum!

Everything tastes good dipped in anchovy butter!

Just Another Meatless Monday…

We had really fallen off “ye olde healthy option wagon” while I was home for the two week yoga pant vacation, so in an effort to right the ship, or should I say wagon, I did some cooking over the weekend to get ready for the work week. 

 
Carrots, onions, red lentils, curry, turmeric, cardamom and veggie broth turn into curried lentil soup. Once cooked down, I hit it with my trusty mix stick and add about a tablespoon of cream right before service. You can make as spicy, or not, as you want.

  
I had half of a bag of French green beans, that were about a second away from getting schlammy, so I threw them into another pan with lashings of lemon, red pepper flakes and some olive oil. The Hubs was snacking on them off and on, the ultimate compliment… Would be great with some crumbled feta cheese.

 

  
Lastly, the darling of the “but it could be steak” delusional hoax, currently front and center on every cooking site and recipe list…behold the roasted cauliflower. I’ve made it hundreds of times, and have never had a leftover, but I was inspired by a half hour with Lidia Bastianich, on Saturday afternoon, and ginned together this “bagna cauda” or “hot bath” of a sauce for the cauliflower featuring lemon, olive oil, capers, bottled artichokes, some onions, garlic and basil. I wasn’t  too sure on Saturday, but a couple of days in the fridge got the flavors to settle in nicely.

   
   
 
The little bit of leftover sauce might just get tossed with some rigatoni, arugula salad, Parmesan strips and maybe a few cannelini beans! “Hmmmmm, tastes like steak…”

 

The Twelve Posts of Christmas Pt. 11 – Okey Dokey Artichokey…

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I found baby artichokes at the market yesterday and far be it from me not to take the babies home!

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I have limited experience with artichokes, but figured I would just forge ahead. I pulled the hard outer leaves off from the stem and then trimmed the stem and peeled it also . You also have to snip about a 1/4 inch off the top of the artichoke

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Then I cut them in quarters and tossed gently with lemon juice, olive oil, fresh ground red pepper, black pepper and sea salt.

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Roast at 400 degrees for about 1/2 hour. Sprinkle with some extra salt when you first take them out of the oven..truly delish!