my long-time, wonderful friend, jen, posed a great question in a recent comment:
“why is food preparation so ultimately relaxing for some of us? and why is it such an awful, stressful chore for others?”
if you’re reading this blog, i’m assuming you are probably a person who relates to the former, most of the time. if you are a mom, i’m sure you have days when you feel like a short-order cook, and food preparation is NOT relaxing when you have little picky eaters who only like PBJ and mac n cheese (yummmm).
it’s obvious that it is an act of creativity. so if you have a creative, artistic brain, you probably enjoy cooking. but that doesn’t hold up across the board, for sure. i have friends who are wonderful musicians, and live on restaurant food only.
i also feel that the people who find it to be a stressful chore, might just need a few tricks up their sleeves to make it more enjoyable. formulas can really help. if you know what flavors go well together, you can do anything with any food. you don’t have to go to the grocery store and buy every single ingredient you see in a recipe. you can get the idea, or formula, from a recipe, and just use what you have at home. for instance, if you see a fantastic recipe for artichokes, but can’t imagine dealing with artichokes on a wednesday night, you can make some substitutions and still have a great outcome.
here’s a recipe i made last week, and let me tell you, it’s the most tangy, juicy, succulent way to make artichokes. but i cannot get enough of the sauce. so i think i’ll take the sauce recipe and try some new things with it…
and the name of this recipe is…
ARTICHOKES THAT MAKE YOU SLURP RUDELY
let me start with the dressing, because really, you can do lots with this stuff. don’t ignore this recipe if you feel overwhelmed by the artichoke prep. just use the dressing with something else.
1/4 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup white wine
1 T dijon mustard or stone ground mustard
whisk together in a bowl and add capers.
the artichokes: i hope to make this as simple as possible, because it really is easy.
cut off half of the stem. some of it is the the heart. yummm.
peel back and remove a few layers of the tough leaves.
take some scissors and trim the sharp point off the leaves, or you’ll be hurting yourself while slurping.
you can also slice off the end if you want.
now, cut the artichoke into quarters. if you start your knife at the stem and push it down, it’ll cut in half nicely. then cut the halves into quarters.
cut the hairy choke out, and its reddish leaves. you’ll see it. it looks like hair. ewwwww.
as you are cutting these, drop them into some water with lemon juice. these babies oxidize quickly!
okay, are you worried? don’t worry! after you do it once, you’ll see how easy it is, and kinda fun. i like scissors.
now for the cooking!!! the easiest part!
bring a stock pot of water to boil and drop those suckers in.
boil for about 8 minutes.
drain the artichokes well.
heat a frying pan on medium and add a little bit of the delicious dressing. put the artichokes in a let the juice VIOLATE the artichokes. keep adding the dressing until it’s all up in the artichokes’ bizness. ha ha
you can add salt and pepper and chives and stuff like that, but i don’t think it needs anything else.
so when you eat these beauties, you just pull each leaf off and bite the end to get some of the meat off of the leaf. it’s heavenly. all the way down to the heart, and that is the mother ship. soooooo goooood.
SO, here are all the things i think you could do with that amazing dressing…
CHICKEN WITH MUSHROOMS (you could make the chicken scallopine style!)
SHRIMP AND RICE
HOW ABOUT CANNED ARTICHOKE HEARTS AND HOMEMADE CROUTONS? SINFUL!
ROOT VEGETABLES ~ ROAST THEM AND THEN TOSS THEM WITH THE DRESSING.
HOW ABOUT JUST MUSHROOMS? OH YEAH.
CANNELLINI BEANS, KALE AND SAGE, WITH THE DRESSING?
now i’m just showing off.
the point is: find something you love from a recipe you love, and change it up. this is a reminder to myself. that dressing is very light and healthy, and i can’t get enough of it.
if you try it with something interesting, please tell us about it!