I wiped away the weeds & foam. / I fetched my sea-born treasures home... Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, April 12, 2012

What's in Season: Artichokes and Pansies

Spring! Time to celebrate the small stuff. And yes, it's ALL small stuff. Doesn't mean it can't be fun, pleasurable...even delicious! April brings a couple of my favorite things to the markets here at the beach...

By Mid-April, roadside garden stands and supermarkets display tiered masses of pansies.

And pansies are, well, just so adorable.
{I 'd love a room painted just this color....}


Mine seem very happy on my deck, in the antique crock.

See their pansy smiles!?

Another favorite small pleasure of spring is the reappearance of lovely dense green artichokes. It must be harvest time somewhere!

More prickly than pretty...and perhaps an acquired taste? I  love them baked Italian style, the house is filled with scents of cheeses and lemon, garlic, and herbs.

I'll put a link at the end for a real recipe, but they are very easy to make. Just soak to get  them nice and clean, trim the thorns with shears, steam/boil in a big pot filled with salted lemon water and lemon slices. Takes awhile, 20-30 minutes? Keep an eye on them, check with a sharp little knife, for tenderness.

Drain well, upside down, scoop out the inner thistle stuff, if it bothers you.

Spread the leaves gently and fill with breadcrumbs, Parmesan [a must!] and Gorgonzola [optional, feta is nice too] cheeses; drizzle with more lemon juice, melted butter and olive oil. Bake for about 25 minutes.

Serve in bowls with the lemon butter from the baking dish,

Messy to eat! But fun. After you scrape the meat from the leaves with your teeth, discard any prickly stuff and chop up the hearts. This is the meatiest, best, yummiest part.
The baked artichokes make a filling first course [I serve half per person] or they can be a fun dinner all by themselves. A nice crisp white wine goes perfectly, maybe some crusty warm french bread?

recipe here
or another, a little fancier, more details: here [I never use cream...]

You will notice my artichokes look exactly the food website's  'chokes! Shows you how easy they are to make!

And for those of you not familiar with this luscious veggie treat, a little primer:  Step by Step How to Eat an Artichoke

Try it! Enjoy.

{I've found that kids love artichokes; they enjoy the fingerfood aspect, the mess, and the familiar fragrance of parmesan cheese.}



gone to the beach>>>>>>>>>>

the dune oystercacters, yesterday.
See: both on one leg !