Tag Archives: artichokes

Fried Artichoke Hearts with Yogurt Dip

Seasoned to Taste - Fried Artichokes

I overheard a child say that he and his friend were going to get their sleds out and attempt to sled down a grassy hill in the rain. It was so sad. So desperate for the Christmas they see in every movie, they are willing to fall in the mud, pretending it’s snow.

I remember snow, with all its pretty detailing. I also remember the stress of going somewhere as simple as the grocery store. How stop signs and sharp turns gave me cold sweats. How it feels to scrape ice off your car with numb fingers for 15 minutes before work. How no pair of snow boots can grip the black ice between you and your car. How traveling home for the holidays means much fretting, waking early for flights that may or may not have snow delays and lots of Weather Channel obsessions. How everything smells wet and the air hurts.

So yeah, I miss making snow angels and feeling the soft flakes on my cheeks. But the adult me is happy with mild temps and the true Christmasy spirit alive with too many cookies in the oven, too many presents under the tree and too many holiday-scented candles flickering all over the house.

I think artichokes are more of a spring-summer vegetable, but aren’t the holidays about having exotic tropical treats in the dead of winter? Plus, artichokes are so expensive, who knows the difference? I want them in the winter, when they are warm and tender and dipped into something creamy or lemony. I watched Ina Garten’s friend Mr. Zabar make these on TV and thought – surely regular artichokes are the same as baby artichokes, but with longer cooking times? Afraid not. BUT I made it work, friends.

I don’t deep-fry many things, but these called for deep-frying in olive oil, which I found too strange to resist. Wouldn’t it smoke up and overcook everything? What I found is this – it works, if watched carefully. Also, cutting artichoke hearts down to their most tender leaves and then frying them gives you crispy leaves with tender ends to dip in sauce, and soft, fragrant hearts to eat any way.

These were rich, which seems perfect for the holidays. I mixed together a quick yogurt dip, too, with lots of fresh herbs to cool and lighten things a bit.

Adapted from Food Network.

Fried Artichoke Hearts

Ingredients:

  • 3 artichokes
  • Olive oil
  • 6 cloves fresh garlic, peeled
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Remove and discard the artichoke stems. Peel off lower leaves until you get to the tender center. Slice off the top half so that only the light green remains, then cut the artichoke in half lengthwise and remove the fuzzy part and the spiky purple petals. Cut halves in half again, so you have quarters.

Place the artichokes in a medium pot, flat side down, and add olive oil to just cover. Add the garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Bring the olive oil to a boil, cover the pot and reduce the heat to a low flame and simmer for 15 minutes. Insert a knife into the lower half and if easily penetrated, it’s done.

Remove the thyme and garlic from the pot, raise the heat and fry uncovered for approximately 2 minutes, turning over the artichokes midway. They are done when brown and crispy. Remove the artichokes from the pot and place them on paper towels flat side down. Sprinkle with salt and serve.

Seasoned to Taste - Fried Artichokes

Yogurt Dip

Mix together 1 c. Greek yogurt, 6 T mayo, and your preference of chopped fresh thyme, sage and rosemary. Add garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste. Spoon into serving bow.

Seasoned to Taste - Fried Artichokes

The artichokes were not easy or ladylike to eat, but it was kind of fun. Best to grab on piece, peel off the leaves for dipping then scraping with your teeth, and finish with the heart.

I would serve this at a party, easily, or as a nice snack during a football game.

Seasoned to Taste - Fried Artichokes

Enjoy, friends! xoxo
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Couscous Cakes with Artichokes, Feta and Creamy Mint Sauce

Let me begin by saying that I love anything with artichokes. Growing up, my birthday dinner always included steamed artichokes, which provided tender leaves for me to pluck off and dunk in a lemon-butter sauce.

While artichokes don’t play a prominent role in this recipe, they add a certain olfactory nostalgia when I get a bite that includes the crispy couscous cake, tender artichoke and lemony mint dressing.

This recipe is a pleasant surprise that I easily made on a weeknight with some leftover couscous – remember my risotto cakes? Yeah, using leftovers in this fashion is amazing!

You start by mixing cooked couscous with lemon zest, eggs and a puree of chickpeas, parsley and garlic. Then you press them into 1/4 cup measuring cups  and pan fry them until golden on each side. The egg holds them together quite well – I only had one cake fall apart a bit. THEN you place them on a salad of lettuce (I used bibb lettuce), tomatoes, artichoke hearts and a delicious sauce made of sour cream, mint, lemon juice and olive oil. Finish with a sprinkling of feta cheese.

I think Grant was a disbeliever when he first saw me making this, but then the smells got him salivating and he ended up loving it.

Another splendid recipe from my Fine Cooking magazine that I can’t put down!

Couscous Cakes with Artichokes, Feta and Creamy Mint Sauce

Ingredients (serves 3-4):

For the dressing –

  • 2 T fresh lemon juice (1 lemon)
  • 1 T low-fat sour cream
  • 1 tsp finely chopped mint leaves (it grows like a weed around here)
  • 5 T EVOO
  • Salt and pepper

For the couscous cakes –

  • 3/4 c. couscous
  • 1 c. chicken stock
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 large garlic glove, peeled
  • 1/4 c. packed Italian parsley leaves
  • 1 14-oz. can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 T canola oil

For the salad –

  • Lettuce of your choice (spinach works well, or Romaine or bibb)
  • 14 oz. artichoke hearts, drained and sliced (I used Trader Joe’s frozen artichoke quarters and just thawed them and drained them)
  • 1 c. chopped fresh tomato (or cherry tomatoes)
  • 1 oz. crumbled feta cheese

In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, sour cream and mint. Slowly whisk in olive oil, season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Bring chicken stock to boil, then add 1 tsp salt and couscous. Remove from heat, cover and let sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork, then set aside to cool (or make ahead!)

In a food processor, add garlic and parsley, pulsing until chopped. Add chickpeas and 1 tsp salt and pulse until blended together.

In a medium bowl, mix together the chickpea mixture, couscous, eggs and lemon zest. Press mixture into 1/4-cup measure and invert to release the cake. Repeat with remaining mixture.

Heat 1 1/2 T oil in large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add enough cakes to fit, flattening them with a spatula a bit. Cook, flipping once, until browned on each side, then remove to a paper-towel lined plate to cool. Repeat with remaining cakes, adding more oil as necessary.

To assemble the salad, place lettuce on a plate, then tomatoes, artichokes and cakes. Drizzle with creamy mint sauce and finish with a sprinkling of feta.

So good! Just right for a warm night – eating outside or in front of the TV for the season finale of Mad Men (eeeek!).


Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Shrimp Linguine with Artichokes and Crispy Bread crumbs

I don’t know why, but whenever I think of linguine, I think seafood. There must be something about the shape of the noodle – not too thick, not too thin – that makes it easy to twirl around a bite of firm sea fare. And it goes so well with the typical buttery or white-wine sauces of seafood pastas.

This recipe is a wonderful and simple way to enjoy your own linguine seafood pasta, with the splendors of artichoke hearts and crispy herbed bread crumbs scattered on top. The artichokes are the marinated variety, so the brine adds a salty effect to match the buttery shrimp and garlic-infused topping.

I used to hate bread crumbs on top of otherwise soft foods, but now that flavorful crunch is my favorite thing, and you’ll see me sneaking extra pinches of bread crumbs to my plate.

I added some garlic to the dish because I can’t fathom cooking pasta without it. It not only makes your kitchen smell wonderful, but garlic goes with pasta like peanut butter goes with jelly.

Even as a leftover, this was delicious … and I rarely enjoy seafood leftovers (they usually become too fishy).

Adapted from Real Simple.

Shrimp Linguine with Artichokes and Crispy Bread crumbs 

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 3/4 lb. linguine
  • 3 T EVOO
  • 1/2 c. panko bread crumbs
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 T chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 lb. peeled, deveined large shrimp
  • 12 oz. (about two jars) marinated artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Cook pasta to al dente, reserving 1/2 c. of cooking water; drain and return to pot.

Meanwhile, heat 2 T EVOO in large skillet over medium. Add bread crumbs and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper, stirring 1 min. Add garlic and stir until crumbs are browned, 2-4 min. Mix in parsley and transfer to a bowl. Wipe out skillet.

Heat remaining 1 T EVOO in skillet over medium-high. Season shrimp with salt and pepper and saute until opaque, 4-6 min. Add artichoke hearts and pepper flakes and cook until heated through, 1-2 min.

Add pasta to the shrimp in the skillet, along with reserved cooking water and toss until thickened, 1-2 min.

To serve, plate the pasta and top with the bread crumb mixture.

Season to taste, of course.

This dish pairs extremely well with a crisp white wine and a simple salad. And it’s easy enough to have on a weeknight, even if company is over (very little chopping required).

I love eating these simple dishes on the front patio, where I can watch all the people running around Hanes Park or walking a dog or two.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo