Tag Archives: fried

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

Parmesan Fried Okra

Ever since I saw “The Help” with my book club, I’ve been craving fried things. Southern fried things – fried with cornmeal, spices, oil and reckless abandon.

Until I can find the perfect fried-chicken recipe, I will scratch my fried itch with other tasties. Like the organic okra I am swimming in, thanks to Shore Farm Organics.

A Twitter friend, Lisa, actually tweeted me this recipe when I asked the universe to send me good okra recipes. Her Parmesan-fried okra is a great twist on the classic cornmeal method. The okra pods are lightly fried, so aren’t dripping in fat, but still lose that snotty stickiness they are known for (what is that?).

Thanks for the recipe, Lisa! I added my own touches…

Parmesan Fried Okra

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. sliced fresh okra
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c. cornmeal
  • 1/4 c. Parmesan, grated
  • Salt and smoked (or regular) paprika or other pepper
  • Canola oil

Lightly beat egg in one bowl and set aside. Combine dry ingredients in another bowl.

Toss sliced okra in egg.

Then, toss okra in dry ingredients. Heat a few swirls of oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. You want enough oil to cover the pan, but not too deep. When hot, add the okra and fry until golden on each side, 3-4 min. per side. I sort of flipped mine like an omelet in places.

Once the okra is bright green and nicely fried, transfer to paper towels and finish with extra Parm cheese and a little salt.

I served mine with a basil aioli, lemon wedges and Texas Pete’s hot sauce.

Grant finished the plate in less than 15 min.

My mom said that her mother prepared fried okra with a little chopped tomato stirred in at the last minute, which adds a nice acidity. Brilliant! I will try that next time – just got more okra from the farmers’ market.

Enjoy your fried foods, friends! xoxo

Fair Fare

 

Fried, fried, fried!

 

If David-Blaine-wannabe/magician Criss Angel visited the Dixie Classic Fair in Winston-Salem, he would resign his goofy gothic act immediately. Because there is only one “Mindfreak,” and it exists among the dozens of fried-food vendors and chicken-on-a-stick stands.

 

On a stick

 

Visiting a county fair in this neck of the woods is a cultural experience you can’t miss. I didn’t think fairs still had attractions like “WORLD’S SMALLEST MAN!” and “HALF-WOMAN, HALF HORSE!” and “REAL! LIVE! SNAKE MAN!” I honestly felt transported to a different space and time.

To bring me back to reality, I had an awesome sandwich from one of the many church stands in the food lawn. This was a cornbread sandwich with collard greens and fried fatback (!!!). Here’s why it works: the sweetness of the cornbread, the acidic sourness of the collards and the salty smoky crunch of the fatback (fried pork fat). A guy next to me was having a religious experience with his sandwich.

 

Southern comfort

 

Later, we had a grilled pimento cheese sandwich ($2). Homemade pimento cheese sandwiched between white bread grilled in butter. It was spicy and creamy and pretty awesome (even for someone who doesn’t like pimento cheese).

Yes, I saw the fried butter. I’ve never really craved a stick of salted butter wrapped in dough and fried until not completely melted. I also saw every kind of cookie or candy bar proudly dipped and fried, then covered in powdered sugar and more sweet syrups. Dentists: you have job security up in these parts.

Before leaving, we walked through the winning fruits, vegetables and something new to my Northwestern fair-going: tobacco judging!

It was a fitting reminder of how the region was founded. Hope y’all enjoyed the fair (for those who dared)! xoxo

Southern charm

Hydrangeas

I went on a run through a nice part of town recently. It was pouring down rain and thunder threatened from above. But everything was so warm and beautiful … and I was overwhelmed by the smells of gardenia and magnolias. Hydrangeas in a rainbow of pinks, whites and blues decorated every yard and the bright green leaves and bamboo stalks sagged with the weight of the summer rain. I was soaked and never happier because it was so gosh-durn pretty all around me.

In honor of Memorial Day, and a special guest I entertained over the long weekend, I give you … reasons why The South fits me like a glove (as one friend says):

Fried pickles at Mozelle's

The magnolias are blooming!

We had breakfast on the patio, with Reynolda Farm Market sage sausage, farm organic eggs, heirloom tomatoes and Ollie’s Bakery bread with sweet-potato butter. Oh, and Stumptown Coffee, for a taste of Portland, Ore.!

A farm breakfast on my patio, watching the cardinals play

A nice trip to the farmers’ market yielded a bounty of flowers and vegetables…

Heirloom tomatoes!

Do you look for faces in the tomatoes?

Fresh okra!

Fried pies!

You know you're in The South when...

We also tried, for the first and hopefully last time, real Appalachian moonshine! The poison was made smooth and sweet with the introduction of fresh berries.

XXX

I’ll let your imagination take you where this evening ended…

This was the only rational solution to a night of moonshine.

More to come, friends! xoxo