Monday, July 4, 2011

Artichoke, You're No Joke

2011 has been a year of new vegetable experimentation: turnips, asparagus, avocados, etc.  But artichokes, they're nothing new.   I've had them before.  In Spinach-Artichoke Dip.  At TGIFridays. 

Which I've decided - DOES NOT COUNT.

So, here's this week's vegetable project: the artichoke.  As you know, they look like this when you buy them in the produce section of the grocery store:

Here are the two major things I learned: if you cut up the artichoke and don't dip it in lemon juice, it will turn brown quickly.  Kind of like my children in the summertime.  And, these guys are a pain to cut up, and I think next time, I'll go with frozen (if I can find it).

So, I began my project by hacking (and I mean hacking) the stems off.  Then, I lopped off the top inch or so.  Then, I plucked off all the tough outer leaves.  Finally, I was ready to hack the bereft fruit in half...

And that, right there, gives this vegetable its name: that hairy, fuzzy little bit right there when you cut it open.  The choke.  Such a weird name, really.  It's inedible too, so why is it even a part of the vegetable's name?

Anyhow, from here, I quartered it and tossed the pieces into my rice cooker, which happens to have a steaming component to it as well.  After twenty-five minutes, I threw the steamed bits into a skillet with some sauteed mushrooms and green onions (random veg I found in the crisper).

I threw these vegetables (with some minced garlic) together in the skillet (with some garlic-infused olive oil, because olive oil makes the world go round) for another five or so minutes, while I boiled up some rotini pasta.  When the pasta was al dente, I tossed the artichoke/mushroom/onion mess in with it.

The finished product: Sauteed Artichoke-Mushroom Pasta
And this is what we ate for supper the other night.  With some cut-up fruit and bread.  A little Parmesan on top.  The kids' plates were clean, my plate was clean, Brent's plate was clean...I think that's a pretty good indicator that we will be making this again.

I feel as if I am gaining confidence in the kitchen...because guess what?  I totally made this recipe up in my mind!!  No cookbook!  Whee!

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