Thursday, April 17, 2008

Stuffed Artichokes

I had alot of fun with the last roundup at Joelen's Culinary Adventures" . The general idea is to highlight a different kitchen tool each time to show the versatility of the roundup's chosen tool. This time we're looking at the many uses of scoops. Without even knowing it, I've been using my mellon baller for a variety of things other than mellons. If you get an opportunity, it's a real learning to see how people use their kitchen tools. Stop by Joelen's Culinary Adventure. Not only is she lovely but her blog is alot of fun to follow.

While shopping at one of my favourite (I have several) Italian markets, I picked up a few artichokes. Although a staple in Italian diets, most people I know are totally intimidated at the thought of even attempting this spiky little relative to the sunflower. I decided to stuff 4 just so I can say I'm really not a wimp.

I found this recipe in Eating Well

Prepping the Artichoke:

1. Cut off the top 1 inch of leaves from the artichoke.

2. Remove the outer layer of small, tough leaves from the stem end.
3. Snip all remaining spiky tips from othe outer leaves.
4. Cut the bottom stem to make a flat bottom, discarding the stem.
5. Starting at the outer layers and moving inward, pull the leaves apart to loosen.
6. Pull open the leaves at the centre until you see the lighter leaves around the heart.
7. Pull out the lighter leaves to expose the fuzzy choke.

8. Scoop out the choke (this is where I used the mellon baller)

9. Repeat process with all artichokes
10. Put artichokes in a large bowl of acidulated water (fancy term for water with lemon so the artichokes don't turn black)

The Stuffing:

1 - 1 1/2 cups coarse dry whole-wheat breadcrumbs
1/2 cup finely crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, rinsed and finely chopped
1/4 cup minced fresh basil
1 clove garlic, minced

Before I go on I have to share a new toy with you. While at the National Home Show I spotted this handy little gadget. It looks like a plate but rough on the inside. You take garlic or ginger or whatever you want minced and scrape it against the rough inside of the plate. At first I thought okay, how is this any better than a garlic press. Then I saw this "plate" in action. It actually creates a butter consistency of whatever it is that you're scraping.

Can you see the smooth texture? Imagine mixing this with butter and making garlic bread - ooohhh baby!!! Of course, I picked one up for Psychgrad and in her usual sarcastic tone said "gee Mom, how did I survive all this time without one". Clearly the sarcasm doesn't stop me from getting new innovations for her and in this case it doesn't really matter how small her kitchen is - it'll fit :).

1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Combine all ingredients

The finale:

1. Spoon approximately 1/4 - 1/2 cup stuffing into the centre of the artichoke.
2. Stuff into the outer leaves toward the base using a small spoon.
3. Repeat with other artichokes

2 tsp olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tbsp lemon juice

4. Heat 2 tsp oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
5. Add 2 cloves minced garlic to oil for about 30 seconds just to infuse the oil.
6. Add 1-1 1/2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
7. Add 1 tbsp lemon juice to liquid
8. Carefully stand the artichokes upright in the pan.
9. Drizzle each artichoke with a tsp of olive oil
10. Cover and transfer pot to oven and bake until tender when pierced down through the centre with a knife - approximately 50 minutes
11. Uncover and continue baking until the stuffing is slightly browned (approx 10 more minutes)
12. Remove from the braising liquid and serve (use braising liquid for dipping)

As a recap: This was my first time stuffing artichokes. I didn't have the coarse whole wheat bread crumbs so I used regular bread crumbs. In retrospect, I would have opted for the coarse.

A good tip is to use the largest artichokes possible. Th ones I used were in my opinion a little too small for stuffing - so alot of fussing for a moderate amount to eat. I couldn't have used this as a meal but it is a nice snack and fun finger food for when people are gathered around the table.

On a final note - I bought myself a gift this week and once I master it, you can be sure you'll be seeing some Moroccan dinners being blogged. Meet my new tagine - yet to be named.



Pixie said...

Lots to respond to here.

Artichokes can never get enough and would never have thought of using a melon ball to scoop out the hairy bits. Ta for that tip.

Your second gadget-love it!

as for the tagine, I'm full of envy, that's one item I simply have no space for but would love to have. What shall we call her? Tangerine?

Peter M said...

Aretichokes are easy to clean but did you know that about and inch or so of the stem is also edible? You're snipping away good eats!

As for your Le Creuset tajine...I saw them being sold at that lil' cooking shop on Danforth @ Logan...I'd be sleeping with it at my bed side.

Lori said...

Join Tuesdays with Dorie!

So funny I have been seeing these Tangines and wondering what I would use it for. Here is the answer. Thank you.

Laura Paterson said...

Good idea with the melon baller! I love GAs - going to check when they're in season here and make this dish!

Ben said...

I have never had artichokes before, they do intimidate me and wouldn't know how to cook them. That's changed now. Thanks for this recipe. I shall conquer another cooking fear soon :)

giz said...

Pixie - I like that name - maybe Tagerine..cute - you're welcome to come and use mine - I even have an extra bedroom so you can stay the night

Peter - thanx for the tip - I really know nothing about artichokes - also I got an Emile Henry and I'm totally thinking of sleeping with it at my bed side - it's so beautiful

Ben - this was my first shot at artichokes - really not a big huge deal to work with and fun actually - try it, you'll like it :)

That Girl said...

I was all set to comment on your lovely loosening of artichoke leaves, but then I saw the tangine and now I'm jealous and not speaking to you.

giz said...

Kate - you made me laugh so hard - not fair - you know what happens when women get older and laugh too hard...............oops

PG said...

Who is this Giz person? Never heard of her before.

Deborah said...

I saw a similar recipe on Everyday Italian that I have been dying to make. Yum!

Dr. Deb said...

This is virtually how I make my stuffed artichokes as well. Looking at the photos makes me now want some!!!

Katie B. said...

Your handy gutting of those artichokes has me thinking I should try again - I battled artichokes once, and they totally kicked my butt! Yours look great!

Neen said...

Love the tagine! Do's maternal side of the family lived in Tunisia between 1492 and the mid 1950s, and so we'd really like to tackle some of the Magreb's cuisine. I'll be looking forward to your explorations!

Anonymous said...

I too have that little red number in my kitchen...I stick with his given name Emile Henri...

RecipeGirl said...

Amazingly enough, I grew up eating artichokes, and it's one of the few veggies that my 6 year old will eat too!! I just picked up 2 large artichokes at the store today for a buck apiece.

I have ALWAYS just steamed them and eaten them dipped in butter or mayo. I've never thought to stuff them. Thanks for the post. It's giving me ideas...

Elle said...

1st--LOVE artichokes, those look fantastic!

2nd--your garlic gadget is too cool.

3rd--I'm always looking longingly at tagines! Trying to convince I don't need one. You're making it tougher. hehe.

Elle said...

Trying to convince *myself* hehe. See? You have me hypnotized with the tagine!

test it comm said...

I "will" try getting/using artichokes this year. They have intimidated me long enough. That tagine looks good. I have been seriously thinking about getting one. Does it have the iron bottom so that you can use it on the stove top? I can't wait to see what you make with it.

giz said...

Kevin - I think the whole thing is ceramic but it withstands stove top - I think they all do. I've wanted one for so long and finally just bit the bullet and so glad I did.

Susan @ SGCC said...

Your artichokes looks delicious! My Italian nonna would be impressed! She used to make these for me when I was little(but with romano cheese instead of feta). I loved eating my way down to that sweet heart! I rarely make them myself because, as you pointed out, it's a lot of work for a snack. Also, no one else in this house likes them but me. Oh well, majority rules.

Rosie said...

I would love to own a tagine I seem to use my old trusted casserole dish.

Learnt something new reading about stuffing artichokes - what an enjoyable post to read :)

Rosie x

Melissa said...

I need an artichoke recipe like this - WONDERFUL!!

amycaseycooks said...

I just bought 7 artichokes. Now I have the recipe to use with them!!

Sarah said...

I got one of those garlic gadgets this spring, and I love it! However, my fiance broke it. :( You don't happen to have the information that came with it? I know it had like a website or email address on it, so I can contact the person who sold it to me. I really want another one and can't seem to find it on-line. Thanks for your help!

giz said...

Sarah - I'm sure I threw the bill already and I'm not entirely sure of the name but the company was The Popcorn (something or other). I'm sorry I can't be more help but maybe you'll at least be able to track them somewhat. Or... go to the National Home Show website for Toronto and look in the exhibitor section for the '08 show - they should be there.

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