Tuesday, April 5, 2011

In a Quest of Stuffed Artichokes

The beautiful World of Food-Blogging has ignited a quest in me to explore and learn about new cuisines and cultures. It gives a wonderful opportunity to share our regional recipes on an international platform with others. Some of the bloggers are really inspiring with their excellent cooking, writing and photography style. Its so exciting to be an awesome Chef at home. I am so happy to recount the large number of dishes I have learnt from 'Each One of You'. My dashboard is daily full of exciting and delightful recipes, giving me a virtual feast right in the morning. Then I hop to the comments' to see the appreciating comments from all my lovely readers, making my day...!  In fact it was a pleasant surprise &  an honor to get comments from Chef Ritu Dalmia on my last post "Charlotte Tiramisu Cake". Ritu is arguably the best Italian Chef India has ever produced, she runs a very successful chain of Italian restaurants in New Delhi, most famous is  DIVA in GK-2, has her TV shows on NDTV and a book called "Italian Khaana" to her credit. Ritu Thanks again for inspiring & encouraging me !!!

This time  I was allured by the mighty artichoke. My husband calls it the "Law of Conscious Coincidences", to my surprise that day onwards,  every cook book I picked up had a feature on artichokes. Later last week while sharing my recipe at a blog hop, again came across some nice dips and soups with artichoke. Finally one evening an irresistible recipe was being featured on TLC & caught my eye. By none other than Buddy "The Kitchen Boss". Yes its true, "Cake Boss" now has a great cooking show that features excellent Italian Cuisine. Must admit living in Hoboken,  just a couple of blocks away from the famous "Carlos Bakery", we never thought one day we are gonna be so close to a tourist hotspot. Its amazing to see people line up for hours to get a bite of his pastries. (Not sure if I ever shared that last year husband got my b'day cake from THE Carlos Bakery).

OK, back to what we are going to do next. This was a call for me to go in the kitchen and give this "Stuffed Steamed Artichoke" a shot. Here I'm a sharing a recipe inspired by the the show, with a few variations.

Okie-dokie - My Atrichokie

Ingredients to prepare Seasoned Bread Crumbs: 
 Brown Bread : 5-6 slices
 Dry Oregano: 1/4 tsp
 Dry Basil: 1/4 tsp
 Dry Parsley: 1/4 tsp
 Salt/Pepper to taste

Method to make Crumbs:
Make a pile of bread slices and cut them into small chunks.
Spread the bread in a oven proof dish.
Microwave on medium power for 3-4 minutes, or until crunchy. Crumble the chunks to make fine powder.
In a bowl, mix the herbs, salt and bread crumbs. Blend all the ingredients well to make bread crumbs seasoned with Italian herbs.

Ingredients to make Artichoke:
Artichokes : 1 or 2 (as required, I made one)
Lemons: 2
Breadcrumbs: 1/2 cup, for stuffing
Pecorino cheese: 1/4 cup, grated
Red chili flakes: a dash
Black pepper: a dash
Olive oil: 2-3 tsp
Vegetable Stock: 1/2 cup
Grated Parmesan cheese : 3-4 tsp

First to prepare the artichoke, trim the stem off the bottom so artichoke can stand straight.
Place artichoke on its side and cut off the top inch or so to remove top thorns.

With scissors, cut and remove thorny tips from remaining leaves.
With a spoon, scoop out the choke from the center of the artichoke.
Cut one lemon in half and squeeze into a large bowl of cold water.
Toss in the squeezed artichokes to prevent discoloration while you make the stuffing.
As I wasn't very quick to do this, you can see some portions darkening fast.

                      The Green Bud Beauty

In a bowl, combine the seasoned breadcrumbs, pecorino cheese, chili flakes, pepper, zest from remaining lemon and olive oil. Adjust the salt to taste.

Drain artichokes & set in the bowl of crumbs and opening one leaf at a time, push about a teaspoonful of crumbing in each.
Fill cavity with crumbs, or alternately, pat crumbs over top.
Set the artichokes in a large pot fitted with a tight lid.
Pour vegetable stock in approximately 1/3 up the sides of the artichokes. ( I made some vegetable stock  by boiling 2 diced tomato, 1 onion, some peas with fresh parsley and 1/2 tsp salt ).

Bring stock to a boil, cover pot, and reduce heat to a low simmer.
Cook in the pot for 30-35 minutes until a center leaf pulls out with ease and flesh is tender.
Remove artichoke from pot, garnish with more grated Parmesan cheese.
Voila, warm artichoke is ready to be savored.

As I did not prepare any dip, I took the juicy vegetable syrup from our pot in to a little bowl & Soft artichoke hearts are ready to get dipped in & enjoyed ......

At last I got the recipe going, full of  fiber and nutrients in the Green Buds & the best part is that it is steamed and healthy. My family enjoyed yummy stuffed Artichokes and hope you like it too...!!!

Sharing the Stuffed Artichoke at Lets Do Brunch; Hearth and Soul Hop; Simple Lives Thursday

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