Monday, January 12, 2009

italian stuffed artichokes

oh my. Ok. Im totally cheating here. I KNOW how to make these things. So I'm not really learning anything per say, I just wanted to start off on a good note and not screw something up for my very first posting. These things have become a staple in our list of "things for dinner". Billy says he could eat these every night and never ever get sick of them. I don't know about
that...buuut...they are so so good, and SUPER easy once you get the swing of it. Artichokes may look daunting and cactus-y, but they are a gentle beast indeed. These ones are the baby variety, we usually go for the big suckers, but the wee ones were on sale, so what the hell right? That means I can eat 2 of them. And pretend I'm a giant at the same time. Multi-tasker.

Anyways..I'll get to it now...

Italian Stuffed Artichokes

1 Container/Can (whatever) of Seasoned or Italian Bread Crumbs
1/2 cup of Romano Cheese, finely grated
1/2 cup of fresh parmesan cheese, finely grated
1/2 cup of chopped green onions
1/2 cup of chopped fresh parsley
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of salt
1/2 tablespoon of black pepper
1/2 tablespoon of cayenne pepper

2 large artichokes (or 4 wee little ones!)
extra virgin olive oil
1 large lemon

(the bread crumb mixture lasts like, 2 weeks in the fridge, so you can make more artichokes tomorrow!! and thursday! and sunday!...)

Stuffing (bread crumb mixture)
Throw it all in a large bowl and toss! HOW EASY is that I ask you??! (I usually funnel it back into the bread crumb container it came in, they have good lids and I am usually lacking tupperware anyways)

Cut the tops of the artichokes off, I hack away at it until I see some purple inside. Then, grab some scissors and snip the little spiked ends off of the leaves (if any) that are remaining. Spread the leaves out as much as you can without busting up the whole thing. They need to be open enough to fill with stuffing.

At this point, you will want to start boiling the water. The trick to these, is that you are steaming them, therefore they need to be above the water. We have one of those pasta pots that have a built-in strainer, it works great, we can fill the bottom of the pot with about 2 inches of water, and the strainer will sit just above that containing the artichokes. If you don't have one of these, you will have to improvise, we used to use two small mugs inside of a pot, and sit each artichoke on top of the mug to keep them above the water. There are tons of ways to do it. Just make sure you can still have the lid on the pot, tightly.

Cover the artichokes with the stuffing, I mean really jam it in there, open each leaf and pile it in.
When they are all stuffed, I line them up in a dish and pour a tiny bit of olive oil, just a drizzle. Top each arichoke with a slice of lemon.

Turn the boiling pot to medium heat , and set a timer, or remember to check on the water level after the artichokes have been in for about 15 or 20 minutes. When the water gets low, refill it so it's always at just below where the artichokes sit.

They take about an hour, so sit down and watch some TV or go creep people on facebook.

Final product:

Remove the lemons, and melt a little butter in the microwave, add a little bit of lemon to the butter and it's a meal with a job, which I love, I don't eat crab or lobster, but I was always intrigued by the work it involves, all of the cracking, and dipping it butter, you really have to WORK for it. Same thing goes with these, you pull the leaves off, dip them in the melted lemon butter and scrape the leaves clean!
Good times. Thanks to my husband and mother in law for showing me the goodness that is stuffed artichokes.

I have no idea what I will make next time. I guess I will have to start planning it out. I'd like to try something Mexican I think, but we shall see.


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