Wednesday, May 12, 2010

39 and Holding For Now...

I'm talking about artichokes. I've picked 39 artichokes already this year, and there are more growing! Surprised does not describe what I think about this. Shocked maybe.

When I planted the seeds two years ago four plants made it and I planted them in one of the square beds in the potager. The bed was filled with dark moist organic garden soil and top dressed with compost. The bed gets shade in the evening when the sun is at it's hottest. Whatever the combination it worked. The bed has (except for one small corner) been completely taken over by massive artichoke plants. They grow very large and need a lot of space.

There are a bunch of baby plants sprouting from the sides. I plan to carefully cut them away (including some roots) and pot them up. Hopefully in this way I'll have artichokes every year. If planted from seed artichokes take two years to produce.

So what am I doing with all those artichokes? What every New Orleanian would do...stuffing them, and grilling them as well.

Stuffed artichokes ready to be popped in the oven.

Prepared hearts ready for the grill.
Stuffed Artichokes:
(I can't give specific measurements because I just "eye it up")
Four Artichokes
About 4 cups of Italian Bread crumbs
About 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
About 1 cup grated Romano cheese
1 tbsp garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
salt to taste
Olive oil
To prepare artichokes: Wash artichoke and cut pointy tip off of each "leaf". Bring a pot of water to boil and then boil artichokes for about five minutes. Remove and set to side to cool while preparing stuffing mixture. Mix bread crumbs, cheeses, garlic, pepper and salt. Add enough olive oil to make mixture moist yet still crumbly.
On a platter spread open artichoke and stuff mixture into artichoke. Make sure to fill each "leaf". These can then be wrapped and frozen for later or baked right away. To bake I use a broiler pan. I put a 1/2 inch of water in the bottom, then put the top grid on, put the artichokes on top of that and then cover the whole thing with foil. Bake 1 to 1 1/2 hours at 350 degrees until golden brown and tender depending on the size of the artichoke.
To eat...pull each "leaf" away and holding tip scrape stuffing and artichoke with your teeth into your mouth and discard woody part of "leaf". When you reach the heart, use a knife to cut away the feathery parts and gobble it up. My girls devour these. I serve them with a little plate to hold the discards.
Preparing Artichokes to grill or bake:
Cut the top of the artichoke off right above the heart. Use a tomato corer or a melon baller to scrape out the feathery parts. Cut the tips off of any leaves lower than this part. Rub heart with a mixture of olive oil and lemon juice to keep it from turning black. You can then marinate them or season them with whatever you prefer and grill or bake them.
You can eat all you want (grilled or baked....Stuffed? I'm not so sure) . They are said to help lower cholesterol.


JeanSkirtGirl said...

WoW thats look great yum,yum!! =] love carmencita

Anonymous said...

you dont know how much i luv those things! hey, remember, next time u have stuffed artichokes callwe me over!

hugs and kisses, mckenna