Saturday, October 11, 2008

Heart for Artichokes

I've been fighting off the sickness this week. Nothing social after work. At least 8.5 hours of sleep a night. Three full Brita pitchers a day. Clean sheets, all the meds a girl could ask get the picture.

I reign triumphant on this beautiful Saturday morning, finally ready to come out of my self-imposed banishment. Last night I celebrated the final eve of my alone time with a little cooking, some new music and, of course, Breaking Dawn. The last book of the Twilight series. I'm so geeked out right now, I can smell it on myself. Thanks to the artichokes, it smells a lot like butter and pesto.

Watching the artichokes pop up at farmer's market and all across the interweb usually brings a host of ambivalence up in me. It's a vegetable that, while never really made at my house, was something I've always enjoyed (usually across the street at Betty and RJ's). After reading about them at Rustic Kitchen and For the Love of Cooking, a decision was made. I had all the time in the world and $3 in my pocket...just enough for 2 artichokes and 1 lemon.

For the Love of Cooking inspired the flavors in this one but my laziness gets most of the credit. She was using basil, garlic and olive oil to season her lil chokes. I had two cubes of frozen pesto in the freezer, the juice of one lemon and a pad of butter (little less than 1 TB). And a microwave. Ta-DA! Preheat the oven to 350 and get to work!

Prepping artichokes is probably the most daunting part of the process and likely why they never made an appearance in my mother's kitchen. We didn't leave her a whole lot of time for nonsense like sharp interior leaves and annoying fur. Although it's quite lovely, no? After I did it once though, not bad. As with anything, you get a system going. Be sure you've lightly oiled your baking dish with some EVOO- doesn't need to be the nice stuff and even olive oil-flavored PAM would work for this end.

Once they were all cleaed out and with the sharp points of their exterior leaves snipped, I set about rubbing them down. I am not shy with lemon juice in my mixture as it will help them maintain at least a little green color and the acid will help to break down tough leaves.

Push the pesto mixture under the leaves and into crevices and don't be shy about it. You'll be happy when you find the little treasures for good eating later. Pour a third of a cup of chicken stock and a third of a cup of white wine into the bottom of the cooking dish and cover it tightly with tin foil.

45 min to an hour later. This is where the photos end because I'm a little embarrassed. I hadn't eaten much all week and with my appetite finally returned, dinner was 3/4 of the above baking dish and five massive strawberries for dessert. I added 1 TB of chicken stock and a little extra lemon juice to my leftover marinade and used it as a dipping sauce.

Then devoured all of it with two mountains of teeth-scraped leaves to show for myself. And the photos of course, since I finally did buy a camera while Jaimeson was in town last week:)


nicoleantoinette said...

"I'm so geeked out right now, I can smell it on myself. Thanks to the artichokes, it smells a lot like butter and pesto."

I love you so much it makes my nails hurt when I try to type comments fast! and all I-adore-you like.

Also? please cook for me ASAP.

RebeccaC said...

Yum...friggin...YUM! I'm having a serious craving right now for chokes. The Tuesday farmers market better be stocked tomorrow!

Btw, dawn finally broke on Breaking Dawn yesterday afternoon. I am victorious at last and JiT finally gets his bride back. Insert self-satisfied sigh here.

allison said...

need to do. kids love em too. will add to list. allison/amomthing

Susie said...

I always want to cook with artichokes. I think you've inspired me!!

And you might be inspiring me to read Twilight too. I've tried to resist but with all your talk of it, I might have to cave. I do trust your opinion afterall.

surviving myself said...

Just remember to change the filter on the Brita. Those little black specs that float around in there always freaked me out. Not enough to make me get off my lazy ass and change the filter though I suppose.

So@24 said...


Can I request a post from you?

What are some recipes you would recommend for a single guy?

Also, can you post a good, relatively simple recipe for gumbo??

rehab monster said...

looks delicious