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Stuffed Artichokes


My family loves stuffed artichokes. I’ve been making them for so many years I don’t really even follow any kind of recipe. But, I’ll do my best to write one so you can enjoy them as much as we do.

Artichokes are something of an acquired taste. And, even if you like the taste you may not like the method. You have to be willing to get right in there with your hands (freshly washed, of course), pull apart those leaves, and scrape them along your bottom teeth.

There is more debris than actual edible flesh. Still, a stuffed artichoke is a wonderful thing. I hope you’ll give them a try.

BTW — here is a great site that will tell you everything you need to know about artichokes. I didn’t realize they’re an antioxidant powerhouse!

This, along with a few other delectable artichoke recipes, can be found at The W.H.O.L.E. Foods Friday Foodie Fix.


Stuffed Artichokes

4 whole artichokes
1 cup seasoned Italian GF breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano cheese (optional)
1 large garlic clove, finely minced
3 teaspoons olive oil
2 1/2 cups chicken broth

Prepare the artichokes by cutting off the long stem to about 1/2 inch below the bottom of the artichoke. You want it to be able to stand up on its own without tipping over but it’s good to have some stem remaining. Then, use a very strong sharp knife to cut off about 1/2 to 1 inch from the top of the artichoke. With a scissors cut the thorns off the remaining outer leaves leaving each one with a squared-off top. Here are very comprehensive directions on cleaning an artichoke.

Pull apart the leaves by putting your thumbs gently in the center of the artichoke and pulling gently outward in a few places. Rinse the artichoke inside and out and invert on a paper towel lined dish to drain.

While the artichokes are draining you can prepare the stuffing. Mix the breadcrumbs, cheese and the minced garlic clove together. Pour in 2 teaspoons of olive oil and mix with a fork until the breadcrumbs are moist. You may also add a teaspoon or two of chicken broth but be careful not to make the mixture too moist. It should be just damp.

Place an artichoke on a paper plate. Take a teaspoon and scoop up some of the stuffing. Place the teaspoon down into the leaves to deliver the stuffing to the artichoke. Using ¼ of the mixture place the stuffing in about 8-10 places around the artichoke making sure you distribute it to both inner and outer leaves. It’s a bit messy but the paper plate will catch any fallen crumbs. Use these to top off your artichoke.

The artichokes are now ready to be steamed. Place a stainless steel vegetable steamer basket in the bottom of a large, heavy pot. (If you don’t have a steamer you can place the artichokes directly into the pan. It’s not ideal but it will work.) Reserve about ¼ cup of the chicken broth and place the remaining broth into the bottom of the pot. Add enough water to reach the just below the bottom of the steamer. Place the artichokes into the steamer. Drizzle the remaining chicken broth and olive oil over the top of the artichokes. Cover the pot and place it on a medium high burner until the liquid begins to boil. Lower to medium but be sure to keep a low boil going throughout. Important: maintain the water level by adding more water as needed throughout the cooking time.

Steam for 50-60 minutes. A fresh artichoke will steam in that amount of time and be tender and delicious. If your artichoke is tough after that amount of cooking then it’s probably not undercooked — it just not young or fresh.

Let the artichokes cool for 10-15 minutes. Gently remove from the pot and serve.

Tip: Eating an artichoke requires two plates. One for the artichoke and one for all the debris - leaves and choke. Once you’ve eaten the outer leaves (and by that I mean scrape the meat off — you don’t eat the entire leaf) you’ll need to do a little work to get to the heart. The innermost leaves are typically light purple (you can eat these if you like) and beneath them is a kind of light green fuzzy thistle-like choke. Use a spoon to remove the choke being careful to leave the solid part, the heart, intact. After all that work getting to the heart is the prize.

To make these vegan omit the cheese and use water in place of chicken broth.



Chicken Salad with Chia Seeds

I frequently eat salad for lunch and occasionally for dinner. You know, the lettuce kind of salad. There are so many varieties of greens and add-ins that no two ever need to be alike. Salads are really a life saver if you have to live with food sensitivities and restrictions. Most restaurants — no matter how large or small or expensive or inexpensive — have salads. Some are better and more satisfying than others but you can always get something green and fresh to eat when you’re hungry.

But, to be truthful, a person can only eat so much lettuce.

So, one day when I couldn’t eat another green salad and wanted to incorporate my newly found super food — chia — into something other than orange juice I made a version of classic chicken salad. It looks good, it tastes good and it hits the spot. Tell me what you think.

Chicken Salad with Chia Seeds

2 chicken breasts, cooked
10 grapes, yellow or red seedless
1 stalk celery, diced
3 tablespoons radicchio, chopped
2 tablespoons walnuts, chopped
2 tablespoons dried cranberries
2 teaspoons chia seeds
salt and pepper
Creamy Lemon Aioli

Chop the chicken into 1 inch cubes. (I use antibiotic-free, hormone-free roasted chicken from my local grocery store.)

Cut up the remaining ingredients - quarter the grapes, small dice the celery, chop the walnuts and radicchio. Add the diced ingredients and dried cranberries to the chopped chicken.

Add salt and pepper to taste and mix all with the Creamy Lemon Aioli - recipe here. (It can be chilled at this point until ready to serve.)

Sprinkle with the chia seeds just before serving.

Tips: This would work well with a variety of fruits, nuts, and vegetables. Fruits: pineapple, apple or pear. Nuts and seeds: pecans, sunflower or pumpkin seeds. Vegetables: endive.

To make this vegan substitute tofu for the chicken.