These things took place in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing. The next day he saw Jesus coming to him, and said, "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world !" John 1:28-29
This funny, beautiful, prickly vegetable is a culinary marvel. I wonder, who on earth was the first one to try to eat it? I just don't know what kind of person would have thought to eat an Artichoke! Just look at it! It's sorta like eating a pine cone! But bless the pioneer's heart for being the first to try!
I adore artichokes! I have been happily eating the marinaded kind in a jar for years! And if an item on a menu had artichokes in it, it would be my first choice to order. But it was only several years ago I braved making my own steamed artichokes at home. Why did I wait so long?
Making artichokes... and eating them for that matter, is not a difficult procedure. All that is needed is a couple of fresh artichokes and the right technique.
If you have never eaten artichokes, seize the moment and try one! New experiences help us to grow and live adventuresome lives! Not to mention Artichokes are elegant vegetables who's taste and eating experience is sublime!
StoneGable's Guide To:
Eating An Artichoke
2 large, heavy artichokes that are plump for their size
3 fresh lemons
1/3 cup mayonnaise
Wash the artichokes with cool water. Shake off excess water.
Lay the artichoke on a cutting board and cut off the stem and any tiny petals. This allows the artichoke to sit upright.
Starting at the bottom of the artichoke, snip the tips off of each petal with kitchen shears. The petals have a little thorn at the end that must be snipped off. There is no need to snip the tips of the top 1/5 of the petals as they will be cut off later.
It is easy if you hold the artichoke on it's side in the palm of your hand and snip.
Cut the top 1/5 of the artichole off with a SHARP knife. Be very careful, it is a little tough to cut.
Cut a lemon in half and rub the lemon liberally all over the artichoke, paying special attention to the cut off ends. This will keep it from discoloring.
Put the artichokes in a heavy saucepan filled with a couple of inches of water and cut lemons.
Simmer on medium low heat, covered, for 30 minutes. I don't undercook the artichoke because the center does not get done.
Meanwhile, make a lemon mayonnaise dipping sauce.
In a bowl, mix mayonnaise with the juice of a half to one whole lemon and set aside. There are many recipes for dipping sauce, but it am a purist! The flavors of the artichoke and lemon are just perfect!
When the artichokes have been steamed, remove them from the water with tongs.
Place artichokes on a plate along with the dipping sauce and extra lemons.
How To Eat An Artichoke: Technique
Starting at the bottom of the artichoke, pull the petals off 1 at a time.
The end closest to the artichoke has a little plump area of pulpy "flesh". It it the end that is dipped into the sauce. The other end of the petal is not edible. Hold on to that end.
Dip the "good stuff" end in the dipping sauce and turn the dip side of the artichoke over and place the end in your mouth. Make sure you are firmly gripping the petal. Gently bite down on the petal, but do not break the flesh. Pull the petal through your teeth squeezing out the delicious pulpy material inside. Enjoy the luscious flavor of the artichoke mingled with the dipping sauce.
Discard the petal. I keep a "discard" bowl on hand.
Continue to pull off the petals and eat them until you get to the very inner petals of the artichoke and the petals have no more pulp in them.
At this point peel off the rest of the petals until you get to the "choke" a fiberous, fuzzy looking disc.
Using the edge of a spoon or a knife scrape off the choke and discard. This will expose "heart", the culinary prize of the artichoke.
The heart can then be cut up, dipped in the lemon mayonnaise and eaten. Double YUM! The heart may not look as pretty as the rest of the artichoke, but it is so very delicious and worth the trouble to get to them.
Eating an artichoke is an EVENT! Fun and exotic, wouldn't this be fun to eat with your Valentine?
How To Eat An Artichoke is coming soon. Something is wrong with Picasa and I cannot get images from my computer to Picasa. I get an error "4". Can anyone shed some light on this problem? I'll keep working and try to have this yummy post to you soon... I hope!
Don't let the attractive fold of this napkin fool you. It is not just a pretty face, but a hard worker too. It does double duty as a napkin for your mouth and lap AND a pouch for your utensils.
Wouldn't these napkins be great at a picnic using a fun bandanna? Or, dressed up in crisp white damask for a fancy dinner? A place card could be tucked in the folds or a flower would look so pretty peeking out of the pocket. There are so many creative ways to use this napkin fold!
StoneGable Diamond Napkin Fold
1. Lay napkin face down.
2. Fold napkin in half horizontally, oriented with the opening facing you.
Fold napkins in quarters, and orient the napkin opening away from you.
3. Fold the top layer almost all the way forward and press.
4. Press the next layer on top of the first layer, letting the edge of the first layer peek out from underneath.
5. Repeat with the 3rd layer.
6 and 7. Turn the napkin over, face down, and fold the corners over one another. Make sure it is symmetrical from the front. Secure one corner between the folds of the other corner.
Now get creative... pick out a fun napkin, fold it and tuck some great flatware in it... even if you just do it for yourself.... I did! What a sweet little treat!
If you take my menu this week at face value, you WILL gain 10 pounds by just reading it! I would not usually make so many rich filling foods in one week. But this is not the average week. Three different groups of guests are coming! Can we all say "HOTEL"? I love when my house if filled with people.
And...StoneGable is hosting a couple of dinner parties! Big, busy week!
Working ahead is my trick! My biggest meal is Sunday. No fussy hors d'oeuvres. Instead, a classy sassy and packed full of flavor cheese board. Cheese boards are my favorite go-to appetizer. Yummy!
I can make the Chicken A La King ahead and reheat it. So I won't be spending lots of time in the kitchen. I'll be visiting my guests.
I'm going to try not to over indulge, but have small portions and lots of salads... I 'll let you know how THAT goes! I hear a faint voice singing, "Liar, liar pants on fire"!
Monday Pan Fried Tilapia With A Lemon Wine Reduction Noodle Casserole Steamed Artichokes with Lemon Mayonnaise Dipping Sauce
Recipe: Noodle Casserole
This recipe equals love to me! And one of my best blogging buddies, Gail at Faithfulness Farm is the best cook. Her cooking is like a visit to Mom's (if you have a Mom that is a fabulous cook). I know that you will love this wonderful noodle casserole full of Gail's love! Click HERE for the recipe... and love!
Recipe: Steamed Artichokes with Lemon Mayonnaise Dipping Sauce
Look for a tutorial and recipe for Foodie Friday
Tuesday Take Out~ Let's Do Chinese!
Wednesday: Slow Cooker Day Pork Ribs With Molasses Glaze Baked Potatoes Roasted Broccoli With Garlic Oil
Recipe: Pork Ribs With Molasses Glaze
1/2 cup dijon mustard
1/2 cup dark molasses
1/3 cup vinegar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar (light or dark)
1-2 tsp hot sauce
pinch of salt
4 pounds pork spareribs, country style ribs or baby back ribs
Combine mustard, molasses, vinegar, brown sugar, hot sauce and salt in a medium saucepan on medium heat. Reduce to low once the mixture has simmered. Simmer for 5 minutes, uncovered. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. I make mine the night before and refrigerate.
Brush both sides of the ribs with sauce. Give each rib 2 or 3 coats. Stack ribs in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 8-10 hours until the meat wants to fall off of the bone.
Recipe: StoneGable's Killer Chicken Fajitas
We LOVE fajitas! I make this recipe with chicken, turkey or flat steak. I have other ways to make fajitas, but this is my very very favorite!!!! This is a must try recipe. Jalapeno pepper jelly is the secret to the wonderful taste!
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts halves
2 TBS olive oil, divided
2-3 large onions, peeled and cut into thin half moons
2 large red or green peppers, cut into thin strips
pinch of salt
2 TBS sweet pepper jelly
juice of 1 lime
cheddar cheese (good), grated
diced black olives
I usually grill my chicken but it can be made on the stove top too.
Heat 1 TBS olive oil in a large skillet. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Add chicken breast and cook for about 7 minutes, flip and cook for 7 more minutes until done but not dry. Set aside to cool.
When cool, cut on the diagonal in slices.
Add the remaining olive oil and heat. Add onions and peppers. Sprinkle with salt. Let cook on medium heat, turning occasionally until onions are slightly golden and peppers are soft.
Add pepper jelly and stir. Add sliced chicken and heat through. Squeeze the juice of a lime over the mixture.
Put a generous amount of fajita mixture on a warm flour tortilla that has a dollop of refried beans spread on it. Sprinkle with grated cheddar cheese and fold in thirds
Add salsa, sour cream and olives over the top of the fajitas.
Recipe: Mexican Explosion Salad
1 bag romaine salad
1/2 cup canned Mexican corn, drained
1/2 cup black beans, rinsed well and drained
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese
1 tomato, diced
Mexican ranch dressing, recipe follows
Place salad, corn, beans, cheese and tomato in a salad bowl.
In a small bowl, mix 1/4 bottle of ranch dressing, 2 tsp pkg. taco seasoning, and 2TBS salsa. Mix well.
Dress salad and add crushed nachos.
Friday: Soup Day StoneGable Minestrone Soup Parmesan Toasts
Recipe: StoneGable Minestrone Soup
This recipe was adapted from a delicious soup I made from my friend Susan's blog, Savoring Time In The Kitchen. It was fabulous! I just tweaked it a little to suite my family. I have made it twice more. One batch to freeze and one for a friend that needed some culinary love, adapting each batch. It is quickly becoming a favorite. To see Susan's original soup recipe, click HERE.
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 ~ 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 small turnip, peeled and cut into small cubes (If you have never had a turnip in soup, you are missing something! Give this a try)
1 baking potato, peeled and cut into small cubes
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb Swiss chard, large stems and center vein removed and leaves coarsely chopped
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
2 15-oz cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 32-oz box good beef stock or broth
1 can double strength beef broth (can of Campbell's)
1 oz piece Parmesan cheese rind
2/3 cup small pasta (I used macaroni because I had it on hand)
2 tsp fresh Italian parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
Heat 1 TBS oil in a large skillet. Add ground beef and cook until it is no longer brown. Drain fat and set aside.
In a large pot heat remaining oil and add onions, carrots, celery and garlic. Cook until onions are soft, about 10 minutes.
Add swiss chard, turnips and potatoes and cook for 4 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes and simmer until swiss chard begins to break down, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a blender mix 1 can of drained beans with 1/2 cup of beef stock until chunky smooth. Add the bean mixture and all of the beef stock and double strength beef broth to the soup. Add rind of Parmesan cheese (this is a must, the way it flavors the soup is brilliant!). Simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally until the turnips and potatoes are soft.
Add ground beef, beans, pasta and parsley and simmer until heated through. Remove Parmesan rind. Serve sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.
SG Tip: If you are freezing this soup omit putting in the pasta. Freeze. When you want to use it, thaw, make pasta and add to the soup after you have reheated it. Freezing pasta makes it very mushy.
Recipe: Parmesan Toasts
This recipe is addictive! It is soooooo good. You can use the spread as a dip too. I call it "THE dip".
1 loaf french bread
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup Parmesan cheese ( I use the green container shaky cheese kind- no judging!)
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp seasoning salt
1 TBS fresh parsley leaves, chopped
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Slice bread, horizontally in half
In a bowl mix mayo, sour cream, Parmesan cheese, garlic, seasoning salt and parsley.
Spread mixture on bread and bake for 10-15 minutes until mixture is brown and bubbly and bread is crunchy. Saturday Cottage Pie Peas and Carrots
Recipe: Cottage Pie
A delicious cousin of Shepard's Pie. I am NOT a fan of peas, so I love that the veggies are served on the side. I'll take mine with carrots, please... hold the peas!
2 TBS vegetable oil
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1/3 cup flour
1 tsp dried thyme
2 1/2 cups water
1 TBS Kitchen Bouquet
2 beef bouillon cubes
1 TBS Worchestershire sauce
2 1/2 lb potatoes
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 tsp salt
dash of pepper
dash of nutmeg
1/4 cup heavy cream (I use whole milk)
1 egg yolk
1 cup good grated cheddar cheese
Preheat oven 350 degrees.
Put oil in a large dutch oven and heat on medium heat. Add onions and cook until soft and translucent. Add ground beef and saute until beef is no longer pink. Gradually stir in flour, thyme,water, Kitchen Bouquet, bouillon cubes and Worchestershire sauce.
Simmer for 30-40 minutes until sauce has thickened.
Meanwhile, cook potatoes in a pot of water until done. Drain and mash with butter, salt, nutmeg and heavy cream.
In a 3 quart ovenproof casserole dish put beef mixture. If it has too much gravy,remove some and serve it on the side.
Put potatoes in a pastry bag with a large star tip and pipe potatoes on top of the beef mixture. If you don't have a pastry bag you can add dollops of mashed potatoes to the beef.
Sprinkle with cheddar cheese.
Bake for 20-30 minutes until beef is heated through and mashed potatoes are golden brown.
Sunday: Family Dinner Cheese Board Baby Greens With Bleu, Pears And Spiced Pecans In A Poppyseed Dressing Chicken A La King In Puffed Pastry Cups Green Beans Gingerbread With Creme Anglaise
Recipe: Cheese Board
I LOVE to serve a great cheese board when entertaining. There is really nothing to make, it is just about putting together some fabulous cheeses, meats, and lots of other goodies. My family will be delighted with a cheese board filled with everyone's favorites!
Food to Include in a Cheese Board:
1 hard cheese
1 semi soft cheese
1 spreadable cheese
1 strong cheese
meats, such as sopressata or salami. I also like prosciutto
fruits, grapes, apples, pears, cherries, dried fruit
marinated or grilled veggies
bread sticks, baguettes, crackers
Recipe: Chicken A La King In Puffed Pastry Cups
Look for the recipe and how-to's on an upcoming Foodie Friday.