Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Revisiting childhood with an artichoke

When ShankRabbit and I married, he assumed the title of "Chef" and I the "Baker." This arrangement suited us well. He can look at a few ingredients and throw together an amazing dinner. I, on the other hand, need planning, measurements, order (if only you understood how much I truly enjoy leveling off a cup of flour...).

Now that I am the one at home all day, meal preparation is quickly becoming more of my responsibility. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy long as I have a very explicit recipe. Give me a bunch of ingredients and say "have at it!" and I'd either curl up in the fetal position on the kitchen floor or pelt you with said items. Or both. Though I'm sure my aim from the floor would be pretty poor.

(ShankRabbit's domain will forever and always be the grill. I know how it works and what to do...but it still scares the bejeebies out of me)

Last night I decided to try my hand at a childhood favorite - stuffed artichokes. My Sicilian great-grandmother used to make these for us quite a bit and I honestly haven't had one since (well over 15 years ago).

After a lengthy internet search, I deduced that the recipes are relatively the same. So, I melded my favorite ones and got to work.

I won't bore you with the recipe I created, but I will say that it was quite yummy (and thanks again to my hero, The CrockPot Lady, I was able to "set it and forget it" in my crock pot). And for anyone attempting to cook these on your own, here are some things to know:

1. I knew to trim the tips off the leaves, but I didn't know why...until I punctured my finger on one. Apparently, artichokes have thorns (they seem to be sharper the farther in you go).

2. When the directions say "tap the top of the artichoke to spread the leaves," they mean turn the artichoke upside down and smack it against the countertop. Seriously. The wider apart the leaves, the more stuffing you can shove in between (and the more yummy).

This right before it was cooked. They didn't hang around long enough for me to get an "after" photo.

That first taste was just as delicious as I remembered it. While I was inhaling eating, I couldn't help but think fondly about my great-grandmother and how much I miss her (she was 98 years old when she passed in 1999). She was an amazing lady.


Eternal Lizdom said...

I've not done stuffed artichokes. But I grew up with steamed artichokes! And still love to steam them up. We are hitting artichoke season and I've enjoyed them once so far already. Do you still peel and eat the stuffed variety? Down to the heart, remove the choke, all that jazz?

Badass Geek said...

That looks a little bit beyond my culinary expertise... but it looks tasty!

Call Me Cate said...

Look at you tackling stuffed artichokes! And successfully! Congrats. They look yummy. I've always been a bit intimidated by them but maybe I should give it a try.

Otter Thomas said...

Your arrangement is exactly like mine and my wifes. It works pretty good for us too. Artichokes scare me a bit. They are like a weapon. Congrats on cooking them successfully.

Jason said...

Awesome work! While I have to admit that I have never eaten artichoke in any form. It sounds quite intimidating.

I'm getting better at working without recipes, but I'd rather not have to...

Isabella said...

@ Liz - yep, peel and eat (well, not the WHOLE leaf obviously). Though I was a little fuzzy on how to get to the "heart," so we just stopped when there were no more leaves.

@ Badass Geek - It is really easy...a lot easier than I thought it was going to be.

@ Call Me Cate - Give it a try! You'll be surprised at how simple it is.

@ Otter Thomas - Hmm...never thought of them that way. I guess they'd be pretty effective as a weapon. Maybe I should start carrying one in my purse. If someone tried to mug me they'd either be scared of the artichoke itself or the crazy lady behind it. :)

@ Jason - It sounds intimidating, but it's not all that prepare or to eat.

Maggie said...

I totally agree with the cook vs. bake issue. I prefer to bake for the same reasons. :) So props to you on actually cooking! :)