Roast Artichokes, a road test of a recipe

One of the wonders of the internet is the recipes available. So when you encounter a vegetable that you have seen but never cooked, a simple search will find an enormous number of recipes. The original prompt was an SBS program on Croatian cuisine Stuffed_artichoke_(punjeni_articoke) . I saw the artichokes at the PCYC markets in Toowoomba and the price was right for a test. The artichokes were sold with stems, which is normally a good hint that some people like the stems. So my initial search was just for recipes. I then refined my search by adding stems and the simple roasting recipe by John Mitzewich Roast Artichokes Recipe. came up. The first reason for choosing John’s recipe is because steaming for 45 minutes for me is normally equivalent to boiling dry and you have start somewhere and the second reason was that I had all the necessary ingredients.

From John.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 whole large artichokes
  • 2 lemons, halved
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled, left whole
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt

Preparation:

Using a serrated knife, cut off the stem of the artichoke where it meets the base. Turn the artichoke around and cut off 1-inch of the top. Quickly rub each artichoke with a cut lemon so they don’t discolour. 

Tear off 4 large square pieces of heavy-duty foil. Rub a few drops of olive oil on the foil and place an artichoke stem side down. Stick a clove of garlic into the center and push down an inch or so. Sprinkle over 1/4 tsp of salt. Drizzle 1 tbsp olive oil over the top. Finish by squeezing the half lemon over the top. The lemon juice will “wash” the salt and olive down in between the leaves. Gather up the corners of the foil and press together on top to tightly seal the artichoke (like a chocolate kiss). You can wrap in a second piece of foil if you don’t think you have a tight enough seal. 

Repeat with the other artichokes. Pan in a roasting pan and bake at 425 degrees F. for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Let rest for 20 minutes before unwrapping and serving. Can be eaten hot, warm, or chilled.

My results

My artichokes were a bit on the small side. This meant I only used half a clove of garlic in each globe and I fear they were a little over cooked. Since the only palate I have to please is mineand I thoroughly enjoyed the slightly aniseed after-taste, this is a definite red hot go for a repeat except four artichokes aren’t enough.

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Panzanella in Toowoomba

Tinky Weisblat at her blog http://www.ourgrandmotherskitchens.com/ had a post titled “Pestapalooza” http://www.ourgrandmotherskitchens.com/?p=4203 . In this post she had a recipe for Panzanella. I would never have thought to combine lemons and tomatoes. I have been giving this recipe a bit of a try out. Obviously it was high summer in the northern hemisphere when Tinky wrote her post, so normally I would be a bit out of luck in the southern hemisphere however the only shortage was the fresh basil.

Basic Panzanella (after Tinky)

 

  • Tomatoes cut into cubes (a couple of tomatoes)
  • Basil (fresh is best)
  • Capers (1 teaspoonful)
  • Thin lemon slices.
  • Red wine vinegar to taste (will need enough to help soak bread).
  • Olive oil to taste (will need enough to help soak bread).
  • Bread toasted and cut into cubes.

 

Tinky recommends preparation 10 minutes before serving and ideally I would also stick to that.

I have found that everything but the bread can be combined before leaving for work. My variations on a theme include using Wendland lime infused olive oil, some olives and a couple of slices of apple. I found a nice stone-ground wheat loaf that seems to provide the kind of bread that goes well with this.

 

It does appear that the standard recipe for panzanella calls for onions not lemons. After my trials, I recommend the citrus themes and I am keen to give kumquats a go in this salad. As a personal note I find the lemon rind and all easier to digest and refreshing to the palate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Charles Hugh Smith – free ebook Survival+, known sources of Happiness

Charles Hugh Smith at his blog http://www.oftwominds.com/blog.html has posted a free ebook. It is not a long read but it is a good read.

I feel it useful to post the following reminder from Charles’ book

The known sources of happiness require little to no consumption:

1. health

2. friends

3. free time to pursue interests

4. spiritual communion/worship

5. exercise/sports/play

6. gardening

7. meaningful work (unpaid qualifies)

The experience of well-being has been so derealized that the sense of deprivation experienced at the loss of fine dining, Caribbean cruises, season tickets to the games, etc. is itself suspect.

 

 

Celery Soup

 

Fiona Beckett on her Frugal Cook blog http://thefrugalcook.blogspot.com/2009/04/celery-overlooked-veg.html did a post on the humble celery. Mention was made of Cream of Celery soup. This sounded so intriguing I could not wait to get some celery and make some soup.

The next step to look for recipes and I came across a post by Alanna Kellogg at her blog A Veggie Venture http://kitchen-parade-veggieventure.blogspot.com/2006/03/day-345-cream-of-celery-soup.html .

Alanna is very helpful in her recipe because she lists the classic but inserts her variations. She used brown rice and omitted the cream. She certainly inspired me

My version

Ingredient

Quantity

Onion

One

Butter

Enough to soften onion

Garlic raw/roasted

Enough to flavour

Boullion cubes or chicken stock

2 (I used Massel’s vegetarian)

Celery sliced in 1cm pieces

Enough to fill pot, use all leaves and stalk

Potato peeled and cubed

One

Water

Enough to cover vegetables

 

Slice the onion and soften in a pan with sufficient butter. Add garlic. Add potato. Stir to coat with butter. Add celery and stir to coat and cover with water. Add boullion cubes to water. Bring to boil and simmer for about 30 minutes or celery is softened. Flavour with pepper. The boullion cubes seemed to have enough flavour to avoid adding extra salt.

Put soup in food processor to blend the soup. I cook my soup in a large pot and used my stab or immersion blender. (Tilt the pot slightly and angle the blender appropriately. This will not make it fine. The proper way is to then filter through a Chinoise to remove bits. I find the variable texture acceptable.

I found 500ml of this soup with a thick bread or croutons a good lunch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boerewors – variations on a theme

I find boerewors pleasant both hot and cold so I tend to cook more that I can eat at a sitting.

I was raised to believe that it could only be grilled or barbequed/braaied.

However baking/roasting in the oven is easier.

Could I suggest the following?

    Bread support.

Place enough slices of bread on a tray under the boerewors to make a bed for the Boerewors and then place the tray in the oven to cook. I cooked the boerewors in the oven at 180deg C until cooked turning halfway through. In more scientific terms, put in the oven at the beginning of “Neighbours”, turn at the beginning of “Home and Away.” and it will be ready to eat at the end of “Home and Away”.  Vary to your own tastes. I like my sausage a little dry. The bread sort of fries in the dripping from the sausage.

Eat with the relish or salad of your choice, I like a puttanesca variant.

    Polenta/Pap/Sadza

Using the standard yellow polenta, I have used freshly cooked polenta as a base to cook the boerewors. The polenta sort of roasts. The sausage stays moist and may not brown as easily. Again the polenta will absorb the dripping off of the sausage.

The bread will not receive the Heart Foundation seal of approval.

Comfort food –

Flavours from my youth,

Tonight I had

Peasant Sausage

Tomato compote

White Polenta

That makes it sound more expensive than

Boerewors

Tamatie sous

Pap/Sadza

The sadza, and the folks I grew up with would laught at me, was not as stiff as it should be. Leftover sadza (polenta) was allowed to cool on a tray for polenta chips for tomorrow’s lunch. This idea was sourced from Judy Rodgers’ “the Zuni Cafe cookbook.”

Boerewors is that strange sausage that Australians get used to seeing in places where Southern Africans have settled. 

Notes on the Boerewors

The boerewors is local from Paynes Butchery. I baked it on a scanpan instead of my usual in a cast iron frying pan on the stove top.

I ran low on olive oil so more butter was used on the tomato sauce. All vegetables were purchased at the local markets.

    Leftovers

The leftovers were enjoyed over the following 2 days. The Tomato sauce was varied with addition of feta cheese and almonds.

Apple Lemonade – Frugal Food

From Fiona Beckett’s The Frugal Cook

I’ve also found a good way of using up the apple peel which is to add it and any leftover lemon shells you’ve discarded after juicing. You simply cover them with cold water, bring them to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes or so then strain and cool the cooking liquid. Result: a very natural-tasting and delicious apple lemonade that tastes every bit as good as those expensive top-end soft drinks.

Sarah, one of the commentators on the post did say this is about as frugal as you can get.