Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Beer-Battered Stuffed Chokes by Chef Tomm

Chef Tomm, of Culinary Secrets, spent some time at OceanMist Farms the week before the Artichoke Festival and created this recipe especially for his demonstration. Though I am not typically a fan of fried anything, these were scrumptious. Besides, you know me and beer - love it!
10 Baby artichokes peeled,parboiled with the choke removed
2 tablespoons Butter
1 tablespoon Garlic fine dice
3 tablespoons Onions small dice
1 cup Mushrooms cut into quarters
3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup Blue cheese crumbled
TT Salt and pepper TT= To Taste
1 Beer batter

Beer Batter Recipe
7.5 ounces All purpose flour
2.5 ounces Cornstarch
1 tablespoon Salt
1 teaspoon Black pepper
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
16 ounces Beer

Stuffing: Place your butter into a sautee pan over medium heat and melt. Add in your garlic and onions and cook until the onions are translucent. Add in the mushrooms and cook for about five minutes while stirring. Remove from heat and add the breadcrumbs and blue cheese then stir until everything is mixed in. Season To Taste with salt and pepper. The filling is now ready and can be made a few days in advance.

Beer Batter: Mix together the flour, cornstarch, salt and pepper and baking soda in a medium bowl. Add the beer and stir until smooth. Hold for service

For service: Place the filling into the artichoke and pack lightly. Dust with flour then put into the beer batter. Place into a 350 degree preheated deep fryer and fry until golden brown. Remove from oil and put onto a pan with paper towels to absorb excess oil. Season with salt and serve. Enjoy!

Artichoke Sushi!

That's what it's all about at the Artichoke Festival in Castroville, California. And being that we were THE artichoke family this year, that's what we were all about last weekend for the 51st Annual Artichoke Festival.

From a farmers' market to cooking demos and sampling the chef's creations, it was one big ode to the edible thistle.

Here was one of my favorites - the offering from Chef Uncangco from Roy's at Pebble Beach: artichoke sushi! Instead of a roll topped with fish, thinly sliced artichokes were draped over the top and drizzled with a mango sauce. It was fantastic!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Cheesy Cardoon Pie

A spinoff on spanikopita, I created a phyllo-crusted creation featuring artichoke's cousin cardoons.

Clean and chop the cardoons into bite-sized pieces and boil them until soft. Cool slightly and stir them into beaten eggs seasoned with sea salt and cinnamon.

Layer your baking dish with 6 layers of phyllo dough, brushing each sheet with melted butter.

Line the bottom of the crust with a layer of lowfat cottage cheese. Pour the cardoon mixture in and sprinkle with feta cheese. Top with 4 more layers of phyllo, brushing each layer with butter. Roll the edges in to form a crust lip.

Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until the phyllo is crisp and golden brown. Serve with a green salad dressed in an oregano dressing.

A Good Ol' Day

This past weekend, we were all on the Artichoke Festival float in the Good Ol’ Days parade in Pacific Grove.

Lionel, the Artichoke Man, created a wonderful float - complete with music and a spinning choke. Riley had a blast on his throne and Dylan stayed on. I’d say that was a success.

We smiled, waved, then afterwards explored the booths for a grand ol' time.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Artichokes' Kissing Cousin

Cardoons look menacing, kind of like celery on growth hormones. But they are actually closely related to artichokes. When I find them at the farmers' market, I buy them and make sformato di cardi (cardoon flan). It reminds me of Spring in Rome.

1 pound cardoons, ends trimmed, stripped of fibers, and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 1/4 cups milk
3 eggs
5 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano

Boil the cardoons until they're half cooked in lightly salted water, drain them, and sauté them in half the butter. Salt them, and when they have absorbed the butter, sprinkle some of the milk over them and simmer them until done.

Using the remaining butter, milk, and a level tablespoon of flour, make a beciamela sauce. Beat the eggs, mix all the ingredients together and check seasoning. Transfer the mixture to a buttered smooth sided mold. Bake the sformato in a 325 degree F oven for 25-30 minutes or until sets. Serve hot with a tossed salad and a crisp white wine.

EcoChokes by EcoChic Designs

This being the year of the artichoke and all, when I located a supplier of sterling silver artichoke charms, I immediately bought his entire supply and launched into making a line of one-of-a-kind pieces. I'm slowly listing necklaces for sale at http://www.ecochicdesigns.etsy.com/. Here are just a few...

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Ramping Up

I've been oddly silent on all things artichoke as of late. My other culinary adventures were in full swing though; check out that blog.

But we're about to launch into full-blown artichoke mode this week: Jacob will be hanging a show at The Trailside Cafe on Cannery Row (with several artichoke paintings) tomorrow and the entire family will be on the Artichoke Festival float in the Good Ol' Days parade next Saturday.

Stay tuned...