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.

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Keepin’ Warm in the Winter

Over my winter break, about a month ago, I made a lot of food to get me through the remaining winter months.  Also, I wanted to use my Christmas gift from Brandon, which you’ll see later in this post. One of the soups I crave during the winter months is cream of tomato.  I have tested several recipes over the years with the tomatoes I grow every summer. The most flavorful recipe I found was Ina Garten’s Cream of Fresh Tomato Soup from her Back to Basics cookbook.  An added bonus: It is good for you too!

Cream of Fresh Tomato Soup

Materials:

  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil (I only used 2)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped red onions (2 onions)
  • 2 carrots, unpeeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves) (I added 4-5)
  • 4 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes, coarsely chopped (5 large)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup packed chopped fresh basil leaves, plus julienned basil leaves, for garnish
  • 3 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade (…bought mine)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream(I used fat free half & half)
  • Croutons, for garnish(Try making your own! Day old bread cut into cubes tossed in olive oil and sprinkled with Parmesan Cheese. Bake at 350 degrees F until golden brown)

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Guilt-free Dutch Pancake

My husband and I used to go out for breakfast all the time.  Now we try to eat at home so we can reduce our spending (and our waistlines). When I saw a recipe for a healthier version of a dutch pancake, I knew I had to try it. I’ve only made pancakes on the griddle, and this dutch baby is less labor intensive. It does take a little longer since it has to bake in the oven, but once you pour the batter in you only have to wait for it to puff up and be delicious.

Blueberry Dutch Baby Pancake (Serves 4- 1/4 of pancake with 2 T yogurt)

Nutritional Info for 1 serving: 200 calories, 6g fat, 27g carb, 8g sugar, 1g fiber, 10g protein

Materials:

  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 1 cup fat-free milk
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup egg substitute (I used 2 eggs)
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch salt
  • 3/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (I used frozen, but added more than 3/4C)
  • 2 teaspoons confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt

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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!