Mind-blowing Artichokes

There are other recipes that could be posted, but I have been preoccupied with graduate school. I rarely post a recipe right after I make it unless I have an abundance of time.  Tonight is different! Yesterday, I made grilled artichokes that were absolutely amazing. I had grilled artichokes for the first time at The Cheesecake Factory.  Last night I tried replicating this recipe.  Having never cooked artichokes before (or even attempted to cut one open) I was fairly nervous.  However, this blog has pushed me to try new things.  I looked up several grilled artichoke recipes online to get an idea of how I wanted to make mine. I was extremely happy with the results of my creation and no dipping sauces were needed!  They were delicious on their own.

Grilled Artichokes

Ingredients:

  • 2 artichokes
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • 5 garlic cloves, 2 smashed,3 minced
  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Procedure:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil with 1/4 of the lemon squeezed into it (and rind) plus two cloves of smashed garlic.  Right before you add the artichokes to the boiling water trim the tops from the artichokes, then cut them in half lengthwise. Add artichokes to boiling water right away, to prevent them turning brown, and cook for 15 minutes. (You can put them in cold water that has lemon juice in it to help this.  Make sure to keep them submerged under the boiling water. Meanwhile, preheat the grill.
  2. Drain artichokes and squeeze the rest of the lemon wedges into a medium bowl. Stir in the olive oil and garlic, and season with salt and pepper. You can adjust the taste by adding a little more olive oil or lemon juice.
  3. Brush the artichokes with a coating of the garlic dip, and place them on the preheated grill. Grill the artichokes for 5-10 minutes, basting with the dip and turning frequently until the tips are a little charred. Serve immediately with the remaining dip.

Printable Recipe!

Observations: I actually cut my artichokes well before my water was ready boiling.  You live and learn, and I learned artichokes brown faster than apples.  I quickly squeezed lemon on them and put them in cold water.  It prevented them from browning any more.  I also did not boil mine long enough and they were not completely submerged.  I’ve read putting parchment paper on the surface of the water helps keep them under so I plan on trying that next time (I still have 2 more in my fridge!)

Analysis:  The grilled flavor is so wonderful that I will never miss the stuffed version dipped in butter.  This is a very healthy way to eat artichokes and I see myself enjoying this all summer! I hope to try varying the flavor profiles, but still include that grilled flavor.  Balsamic vinegar would be delicious without adding unnecessary calories.

Un-stuffed Stuffing

This stuffing was discovered in Food Network magazine, and I felt it would go really well with our Christmas feast. This blog is all about experimenting with new foods/recipes, and Chorizo (a spicy spanish pork sausage) is definitely a new food for me. I bought mild Chorizo, instead of hot, because I wasn’t sure how my guests would react to something so spicy. This recipe comes from Aaron Sanchez, who I love to watch as a judge on Food Network’s Chopped. This recipe was definitely a fun twist on a traditional cornbread stuffing. If you feel like trying something new, click HERE. This would make a great side to any meal, and it was extremely easy to make!

**Note: This recipe yields about 3 Cups, which I thought was odd, so I quadrupled it for Christmas. When I make it again, I will probably double it to have leftovers.

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A lil’ bit of this and a lil’ bit of that..

I received some exciting news today from a fellow blogger!  Karen Chandler, and her blog “Visioning”, has awarded me “The Versatile Blogger Award”. I started following her blog because of the beautiful and inspiring photos she captures with her camera.  She creates true artwork with her photography.  Thank you so much Karen! It is such a confidence boost to be recognized by other bloggers.  When you receive this award, you are supposed to write 7 things your readers might not know about you. Then, you award 15 other bloggers with his award. I hope to complete another post over my winter break to complete this. I try my best to make these recipes easy and accessible to all home cooks, no matter their skill level. Cooking, taking pictures of what I create, and sharing it with others is such an amazing and rewarding experience.

I’ve been in a rut lately because of my hectic schedule.  My meals have consisted of very basic dinner, which are not “blog worthy”.  I have a couple recipes in my files that I plan to post this weekend…

I did make roasted beets recently, but I added a small twist. I peeled/cubed the beets, tossed them with salt, pepper and garlic oil, and roasted them at about 400 degrees.  Right before they were done (check with a fork) I tossed the cubed beets with homemade basil pesto.  Obviously, you can use store bought pesto, but I happened to have some already made in my fridge. This tasted delicious on salads with goat cheese and a champagne vinaigrette dressing. The pesto gives the beets a whole new level of flavor!

 

Freaky Fast Fried Rice

I’m back! 2 games into my basketball season, and unfortunately we have not won a SINGLE game. Oh well, the boys are great so I can’t complain. Here is how my weeks have been going so far:

Monday (Meetings after school)

Tuesday (Science club 3-4/bball practice/or game depending on Tuesday/Graduate class from 5:30-9:30)

Wednesday (practice 3-4 or game till 6 depending on day)

Thursday (practice 3-4 or game till 6 depending on day/ meeting at 7)

Friday rest..pass out..whatever you want to call it.

I’m not sitting here saying that my schedule is any busier than yours or that I am complaining. However, this should explain why I haven’t written in 2 weeks.  I miss cooking! I made myself sit down yesterday and plan my meals out for this week/weekend.

TIP: If you are crazy busy like I am, sit down and write out the days of the week.  Whatever days you will not be home, write leftovers. The days you are home, come up with a recipe you can cook that can feed your family for 2 days. I usually Cook Mondays and Wednesdays so I can have leftovers Tuesdays and Thursdays.

It works out when I actually make my list over the weekend and go to the grocery store. I had the flu this weekend (or food poisoning) and couldn’t get out.  So, I went to the store tonight. It may seem simple to make a list for the week, and many of you might already do this, but it has been so helpful to us (and our wallets!) We are not tempted to eat out as much when meals are planned.

Okay, enough ranting…onto food!  This fried rice recipe is something I do when I am short for time.  You can throw in whatever you like, depending on what is in the fridge.  It is GREAT for leftover rice you do not know what to do with and GREAT for you too! I don’t have specific measurements for this, or a specific recipe, so here it is:

Materials:

  • broccoli (chopped up into small pieces)
  • red pepper (chopped up into small pieces)
  • 2 eggs, cracked into bowl and slightly beaten with fork
  • 2 pork chops (cut into small cubes) -can easily leave out and make vegetarian!
  • scallions, sliced on the diagonal
  • soy sauce, low sodium
  • fried rice seasoning, found near taco seasoning (optional)
  • garlic, minced (optional)
  • cooked rice (brown or white)

Procedure:

I quickly stir fried the broccoli and red pepper in a tiny bit of oil over high heat (add garlic here if you wish.  After 2-3 minutes, take the veggies and place them on a plate.  Add a little more oil, let it get hot and add the cubed pork.  Once pork is cooked, move to the side and pour egg mixture into side of pan. Cook the eggs in the side of the pan until done (keep moving around with spoon to scramble it). Once eggs and pork are both cooked, add the broccoli red pepper mixture back in the pan. Add in the scallions and fried riced seasoning packet.  Stir to combine.  Then, add rice until portions look balanced (4 C?) and add soy sauce a little at a time.  Start with 1/8 C and add little at a time to taste.  Everyone’s taste buds are different so start with less because you can always add more. Stir to combine! This literally takes me 20-30 minutes…Enjoy!

Oberservations/Analysis: I love making fried rice and usually do it with peas and carrots. I will say that I LOVE the broccoli and red pepper combo.  It was a nice change of pace.  My husband also didn’t complain with the fried rice (although he thought it was cous cous at first). This dish is so versatile. You could do steak, chicken, shrimp or just veggies.  By using the low sodium soy sauce, brown rice and a tiny amount of oil, you are really cutting down on the calorie content (in case you are interested!).  This is a very healthy, easy, filling weeknight meal.

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I’ll hopefully be back before the next 15 days fly by… 🙂