Friday, September 21, 2012


 I have just typed my recipe into Word, word!  The first blog I ever wrote, I wrote directly in Blogger; well I lost all my work when I went to publish. Lesson learned!  Now I enter everything into Word, copy and paste into Blogger.   
I was thinking that maybe I should come up with a prettier, more alluring title for these artichokes.  I went to; entered “shortcut”. 
Shortcut, verb; to avoid having to comply with (something) especially through cleverness
Synonyms beat, bypass, dodge, get around, shortcut, sidestep, skirt
Follow me to the end and you will see why I chose not to change the title.   (Notice the italicized words.)
I know there are a lot of photos, but I also know there are some of you who have not cooked with whole artichokes.  I hope the photos show that it’s not that big of a deal.

First you have to see how pretty these globe artichokes are; I couldn’t resist them!

Unfortunately there is no shortcut to cleaning the artichokes.
Cut the tops off, about ¼ of the way down.  You must rub all the cut surfaces with a lemon to keep them from browning.
The traditional recipe leaves the artichoke whole, but by cutting them in half, we will beat the clock in cooking time. 
Shortcut, verb; to avoid having to comply with (something) especially through cleverness.  I think this is pretty clever.

Use a small spoon to scrape out the choke, and carefully pull out the tough inner (purple) leaves being sure to dodge the prickles on said leaves.

Use a paring knife to get around the base and the stem of the artichoke, to reveal the soft green flesh.  Don’t cut the stem off, it tastes just like the artichoke heart!

Once you have cleaned an artichoke place it into a bowl of acidulated water while you clean the remaining artichokes.

Put the artichokes and the lemon into a large pot of salted boiling water.  Cook 10 to 15 minutes, if you pull a leaf it should come out easily.  Boiling the artichokes bypasses some of the cooking time.
In a large skillet over medium heat sauté the onions, mushrooms and garlic in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil; until the onions are translucent.

My artichokes have finished cooking so I removed them to an oven proof baking dish.  You can see I didn’t add the liquid, but if you follow the directions and put the liquid in first, you will side step the issue of soggy bread crumbs at the end.

Add the pine nuts to the skillet to toast for a minute or so.

I had a loaf of Ciabatta bread, so I cut some of it into fine cubes.

 Add another tablespoon of oil and some butter; when the butter has melted, add the fresh bread crumbs, grated Parmesan…*If you use the pre grated Parmesan from the super market, it will be more dense, so reduce the amount of cheese to ¾ cup.
…the chopped parsley, salt and pepper.  Sauté for a couple of minutes.

Add 1/3 cup of stock to moisten the bread crumbs.
Now hoist up your skirt, cut we’re going to stuff the artichokes. 
My Italian friends put the stuffing in between each and every leaf (actually they get the kids to do it), while I admit it makes for a delicious stuffed artichoke, it is time consuming!  
We’re just going to mound the stuffing in nice little cup that the artichoke half makes. 
Shortcut, verb; to avoid having to comply with (something) especially through cleverness.   I would say this is non-compliance.  
Top with a little more cheese if you want.

Put them in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until the bread stuffing is golden brown.

You could use the buttery cooking liquid to dip the leaves into….or make an aioli while the artichokes are in the oven.

Here’s what you need.

In a small bowl whisk together the lemon juice, egg yolk, mustard, salt and pepper.

Slowly stream in the oil while whisking continuously.

Once it has thickened…

Add the garlic and refrigerate until ready to use.


So I know the title of the dish “Shortcut Stuffed Artichokes” is not pretty or alluring; but because I avoided complying with tradition, and using what I think are a couple of clever tricks to make stuffed artichokes in a quicker and easier manner, the title is perfect!

Billy eats a whole artichoke, while I only eat half; that's why it serves 2 to 4. 

Serves 2 to 4

2                              Large artichokes,
1 1/3      cups       Vegetable or chicken stock
¼             cup         Dry white wine *optional
3              cloves   Garlic, smashed
2              cloves   Garlic, minced
3              Tbsp      Butter, divided
3              Tbsp      Olive oil, divided
¾             cup         Onion, about ½ of a large onion, diced small
1 ½         cups       Shitake mushrooms, about ¼ pound, stems removed and diced small
1/3           cup        Pine nuts
2              cups       Fresh bread crumbs
1              cup         Fresh grated Parmesan cheese, *if using the Parmesan cheese that has already been grated from the supermarket, then use about ¾ cup of cheese.
1/3         cup         Flat leaf parsley, chopped fine
                                Salt and pepper to taste
1              cup         Aioli, recipe follows 

             1.        Pre heat oven to 400 degrees.

2.       Cut off the top ¼ of the artichoke.  Rub the cut surface with the lemon.
3.       Pull off the outer layer of artichoke leaves, and use a paring knife to trim the fibrous covering from the stem.
4.       Cut the artichoke in half.
5.       Use a small spoon to scrape the choke out of the center, carefully pull out and discard the prickly, purple leaves.
6.       Put the artichoke into a bowl of water and lemon.
7.       Repeat with the other artichoke.
8.        Put the artichokes and the lemon in a large pot of salted boiling water.  Cook for 10 to 15 minutes.  Until, when you pull on a leaf, it easily comes out.
9.       You will need an oven proof baking dish that will fit the 4 artichoke halves comfortably.  In that dish combine 1 cup of vegetable or chicken stock, white wine, salt to taste, 3 smashed garlic cloves, and 2 tablespoon of butter.  Set to the side, until the artichokes are done cooking.
10.   When the artichokes are cooked, remove them from the water; and put them in the baking dish containing the stock and wine, in a single layer, cut side up.  Set to the side, until the stuffing is ready.
11.   Meanwhile; sauté in a large skillet over medium heat, with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the onions, shitake mushrooms and the garlic.  Cook until the onions are translucent.
12.   Add the pine nuts and toast for a minute or two.
13.   To the cooked vegetables add another 1 tablespoon of olive and the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter.
14.   When the butter has melted, add the fresh bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, flat leaf parsley, salt and pepper to taste.  Sauté just a couple of minutes.
15.   Add 1/3 cup of vegetable or chicken stock to moisten the stuffing.
16.   Fill the cavity of the artichokes with the bread stuffing.  The stuffing will be slightly mounded. If you want to, top with a little more grated Parmesan.
17.   Roast the artichokes in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until the stuffing is golden brown.
18.   Serve with aioli, for dipping the leaves into.

Yields 1 cup
1                              Egg yolk
1/2                         Lemon, juice only
1              tsp          Dijon mustard
¼             tsp          Salt
1/8         tsp          Pepper
½             cup         Extra virgin olive oil
½             cup         Grape seed oil
1              clove     Garlic, mashed into a paste.  Use a small garlic clove. 

1.        In a small bowl whisk together the egg yolk, lemon juice, mustard, salt and pepper.
2.       In a slow stream, while continuously whisking, add the oils to the egg mixture.  If the mixture starts to separate while streaming the oil, stop the stream, whisk until it comes back together, and then continue.
3.       Once the oil is incorporated and the mixture is thickened; whisk in the garlic.
4.       Refrigerate until ready to use.

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