Thursday, October 18, 2012

Stuffed Artichokes Are The BOMB

Warning: This is my favorite meal. I am very biased when it comes to these. I grew up eating them around the Abelli family table.  My sister and I would gather around the table excitedly "Can we start in on our carciofis?" (The Italian word for artichokes).

Note:  These do not taste like the canned/jarred/frozen artichoke hearts. They have a different flavor. My husband tried them when we started dating and did not see what the fuss was about. After a few years and many stuffed artichokes later, he loves them.  It takes a little to get used to eating a food like this, but DANG are they good!  A Gift from Heaven

I had to veganize these because the original recipe called for bread crumbs that have milk in them, cheese and mayo.  No thanks. So I have experimented and found a great way to Veganize them.

The following recipe is based off of my grandma's recipe.

Ingredients:
2-4 medium/large Artichokes

1/2 cup plain, vegan, o. bread crumbs (if you buy just any bread crumbs look on the back, there shouldn't be 30 ingredients- they're bread crumbs for goodness sake!)  Example of Bad Bread Crumbs, not to buy: http://www.grocerycouponnetwork.com/foodproducts/products.php?Id=4785

1/8 teaspoon salt

pinch of pepper

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1/2  TBLS  Penzeys Italian Herb Mix (or any Italian herb mix, or mix your own- oregano, basil, tiny bit of rosemary and thyme).

o. olive oil

Cut the long stems/bottoms off of the artichokes. Make the bottoms flat so that they artichokes can sit on their own. Rinse the artichokes and pound the tops on top of a cutting board.  Really smash them good to open up the leaves. Set aside.


In a large pot that will hold your artichokes, put 1.5 to 2 inches of water.  Heat on med/high and place a cover on top of pot. You can also wait to put the artichokes in the pot after stuffing them and then start boiling the water. I just do it the first way to save time.

Meanwhile, mix the bread crumbs, herbs, salt, nutritional yeast in a small bowl. Drizzle about a teaspoon of o. olive oil over the mixture and then smush with a fork.  Drizzle more oil if needed. Moisten enough to have the mixture congeal together loosely.



Pack your Artichokes with the mixture.  I put a small spoonful of breadcrumb mix in each leaf.

Turn the heat down until the water in the pot is at a gentle boil (you don't want your artichokes to fall over and the stuffing to go everywhere)! Place the artichokes in the pot carefully, the bottoms should be flat and they should sit upright.


Cover the pot and steam these tasties for 25 minutes. Check your water level every 10 minutes. Make sure you keep the water to at least an inch. I have had the water run out and it stinks up the kitchen and burns the bottoms of the artichokes.

To check if they are done: use tongs to remove a leaf in the middle of each artichoke. If it slides out easily (gentle tug), that's a great sign... but also taste test. Sometimes it will slide out but it needs more cooking time.  Put the leaf in your mouth with the exterior part of the leaf facing the roof of your mouth. Scrape the meat off with your bottom teeth. The meat should taste moist and come off easily.  If it is dry, cook for 10 more minutes and re-check. I've had carciofis take 55 minutes to cook! Also, sometimes one artichoke will be cooked and another will need more time. I remove the one that is finished and let the other one cook on its lonesome for about 5-10 minutes more.

Jarod's Dipping Sauce:

Veganaise

salt

1/2 medium sweet onion, finely chopped

apple cider vinegar


Put chopped onion in a bowl. Add a few large spoonfuls of Veganaise. Stir.  Pour in apple cider vinegar until the consistency is still congealed (not runny) but tangy.  Sometimes I have to add another scoop of Veganaise if I was heavy on the vinegar.  Put a pinch of salt and mix in, taste.  Keep doing this until the flavor is heightened but NOT salty tasting.

How to Eat:
As I mentioned in the taste testing part, eat the exterior leaves by putting a leaf in your mouth with the exterior part of the leaf facing the roof of your mouth. Scrape the meat off with your bottom teeth. You can dip the leaves in Jarod's sauce (you can load the chopped onion on there too, whatever you prefer) or enjoy them with just the breadcrumb mixture.

When you get to a part of the artichoke that you can no longer scrap the meat off (it will be like a little triangle)... you are close to the heart.
Here is a snapshot from http://www.chow.com/food-news/55500/how-to-eat-an-artichoke/  (This is NOT my image)

If you are new to eating artichokes please check out this video: It shows you how to do it.  I think this video is better than the above snapshot. http://www.oceanmist.com/products/how-to-prepare/how-to-eat-an-artichoke.aspx

I usually break my artichoke heart into pieces and dip in Jarod's sauce. NOM NOM NOM. I LOVE ARTICHOKES!

I apologize that I do not have end result pictures. I forgot to take them because I was too busy/excited about eating them!

2 comments:

  1. Hi there! I had replied to one of your comments regarding a stuffed artichoke recipe that you mentioned on on a recent vid Christine (PinkSoFoxy) had done on her menus/foods. You ended up posted the link for your recipe and I just wanted to let you know we have made this recipe no less than 3 times now & oh my gosh - it's been a huge hit at our house!
    The only change I made to the recipe is to add some lemon juice and white wine to the cooking water & I used a steaming basket insert so that the arti's aren't resting directly in the water.
    Just wanted to thank you again for sharing your recipe!

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    Replies
    1. Great idea about the lemon juice and white wine! I'll try that next time I make these :) I'm so happy to hear you've been enjoying these Jane! They are my favorite.

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