Monday, July 30, 2012

artichoke adventures

The series continues- things I wrote a billion years ago and never published :) Apologies for slightly-out-of-season-now vegetables.

Artichokes! My faaaaaaaaaaavorite!


Back story- I went to college in Boston, for those of you new to the blog, as did my cousin Steven, son of Tom and Kathy. He was a senior when I was a freshman, and Tom and Kathy would come to visit BOTH of us and take us out for a scrumptious dinner in the North End, Boston’s Little Italy. Then Steven graduated, and they kept coming and taking ME out! This is because Tom and Kathy are awesome (and really really love the North End!)

So one time we got these stuffed artichokes, and it’s safe to say that I spend the next three years thinking about them. They were that good.

And, now that I’ve done it--- so so so easy!

The most formidable task is cutting up the artichoke.

Chop its top off so you can see its swirly innards like so.



Then cut off the pointy parts at the tops of the leaves.


Then once one is done, chuck it in some lemon water to keep it from getting too brown.


And make your stuffing!

The star of my stuffing is these sun dried tomato bits that have been in my cupboard for, I’m not even kidding, a billion years. They’re great. You could just use sun-dried tomatoes, obviously.


All mixed up: breadcrumbs, garlic, olive oil, herbs, cheese- tasty things! Obviously this is something that is open to interpretation. You know what I bet’d be great in there? Pine nuts. Might try that next time.


Getting the choke out is essential to have room for the filling (and to prevent the people who are eating these from choking to death, an admirable goal as a chef). I used a kinda pointy ice cream scoop to hollow it out. A grapefruit spoon would work too.


It’ll look like this:


I used just a spoon to smush filling in between the layers. Starting on the outside and working my way in worked well for me.


Give it a long bakesie in some broth and that’s that!

So good! Make these! You’ll feel like you’re in the Italian countryside.


Stuffed Artichokes

2 c. breadcrumbs
1/2 c. grated parmesan
2/3 cup finely chopped sun dried tomatoes (I used a dried seasoning mix that included herbs; you could use straight up sun dried tomatoes, optionally adding your favorite herbs. If you use oil-packed, cut back on the oil)
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1 T olive oil
4 large artichokes
2 tsp. olive oil
1 1/2 cups water
half a lemon

Make the stuffing: Combine breadcrumbs through 1 T olive oil.

Prep the artichokes- cut off the top 1 inch of leaves and trim the remaining ones so they aren’t sharp on top (I use scissors). Cut the stem so only half an inch or so remains. Pull out the center leaves until you can see the choke (the fluffy, spiky bit) and remove, using a grapefruit spoon or, as I did, an ice cream scooper with a pointy edge. Put the artichokes in a bowl of water with a squeeze of lemon juice to keep them from browning excessively.

Spoon the stuffing inside the artichokes. I found the easiest way to do this was by squeezing a small spoon between the layers of leaves, and stuffing a large amount of stuffing into the middle.

Put the artichokes in the Dutch oven, and sprinkle each artichoke with 1/2 tsp. with the remaining olive oil. Put on the lid, transfer the pot to a 375 degree oven, and bake until tender, about 50 minutes. Then uncover and bake until filling browns, another ten minutes or so.



So we had some more artichokes, and for these I decided to go classic and just steam em and eat em with mayonnaise. I am not someone who puts mayonnaise on sandwiches or in potato salads but man oh man the only thing I want with fresh artichokes is mayonnaise.

But wait! Mark Bittman has a recipe for homemade mayonnaise!

The first time I tried to make it, using the supposedly idiot proof food processor method, it was a disaaaaaaaaster. A hot mess. It did not emulsify at all.

So… I did it by hand! Rather, I did it by hand with the invaluable assistance of my sister. SO much easier when you have someone to stream the oil while you whisk/switch with you when you think your arm will fall off.


AGH HOMEMADE MAYONNAISE IS SO GOOD! Particularly using farmer’s market egg yolk. So rich and flavorful!

Parceled the mayo into adorable individual containers.


Happy dunking! This combination just makes me so happy.


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