Friday, April 30, 2010

Heaven in the Form of Food.

I am here today to talk to you about my favorite food in the world. Since I was a little girl, and was in school on the first day, and you had to go around and introduce yourself and tell everyone your name and favorite color and favorite food, this has been my favorite food. So please, for a moment, imagine, a little second grade girl...

Hello, my name is Kaitlin. My favorite color is pink. And my favorite food is artichokes.

I swear, that's how it went down. For as long as I can remember. It's a wonder the other children associated with the girl whose favorite food was one they couldn't even pronounce. I thought it was so normal! I would go on explaining what kind of food it was, thinking they would all understand as soon as they heard how amazing artichokes are. Instead, they said, "You mean, your favorite food is leaves?"

And this is when I realized I was just a little bit different than everyone else. And that I liked it that way. And now, a recipe.

This is handed down from my Mama, who had it handed down to her from my Poppy. Poppy was her father in law, and he taught her how to make them in my Grandma's kitchen. Poppy was very special to me. He called me his little Pip. Pip #3, to be exact. Poppy would have loved to see me pregnant. But instead, I will carry on his memory via artichokes.

Look at these beauties. Start by cutting off the very top leaves, and the stem.

Then, using a good old fashioned scissor, trim the tips of each leaf. This seems tedious, but it goes very quickly. And also, it is necessary, because you are actually cutting off tiny little thorns from each leaf tip. Don't be frightened. Artichokes are beautiful.

Then, spread the leaves of the artichoke open all around, using your thumbs. Here is a choke before it is separated, and after. See how it is opened like a flower?? As you pull the choke open, you will hear a wonderful squeaking sound. This sound is part of the soundtrack to my childhood.
Next, we pull out the very inner purple-ish leaves.

Grab them with your thumb and forefinger, and twist them out. This is not an exact science, just get some of those leaves outta there to make a place for the stuffing. Again, here is a before and after! I know, you are so welcome.

Next, time to make the stuffing! The stuffing recipe we Reggio's use is simple and no-nonsense. Grab 2 pieces of white bread per artichoke. Then, using your old fashioned scissors again, cut into cubes (4 slices in one direction, 4 slices in the other). If you don't have old fashioned scissors, you could just use regular ones.

My husband would be proud if I told you to cut the bread into 1/16. But that would be confusing. Sorry, honey. You math people are a rare breed.

To the bread, add olive oil (EVOO!), garlic powder, salt, pepper, and parsley. I'm really sorry, but I don't have any amounts for these ingredients. But I think that makes it fun! I have faith in you! You can't mess it up! Do not fear the spices. Be generous with the EVOO, until the bread it somewhat covered. Sprinkle other spices and stir. Taste and add according to your liking!

Next, we will stuff the artichokes! Press the stuffing firmly into the center of each choke. Use all the stuffing, they will be over stuffed, and glorious.

The hard part's over! Now, just put the chokes in a pot, and fill the pot with water halfway up the chokes. Drizzle EVOO over chokes, and in water. Bring chokes to a nice boil, then cover and simmer for an hour. The leaves should pull off very easily. Your house will smell so delicious that you will wants to lick your walls.

Forgive me, I do not have a picture of the finished product! Husband was hovering at that point, and I was quite anxious to devour them as well, and we got ahead of ourselves. Please tell me if you make and enjoy my favorite food in the world, and a piece of my heart as well.

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