Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Artichoke Bottoms Braised in Olive Oil with Garlic and Mint (Page 518)


  • Date: Thursday, February 19, 2009 -- 7pm
  • Location: Bloomington, IN
  • Kitchen: My Apartment
  • Dining Companion: Matty
  • Recipe Rating: B

The Vegetables section of The Book is running low, but for whatever reason I seem to have put off the artichoke recipes. Now it's time to make them! There were several steps to preparing the artichokes for this recipe before cooking them. That much should be clear from the picture. The steps (summarized greatly) were to remove the outer leaves, remove the inner leaves, scoop out the choke, trim the exterior layer from the base and stem, and rub everything with lemon. After the artichokes were prepared the rest of the recipe was a piece of cake. I rubbed the artichokes in a paste of garlic, mint, and salt. Then I cooked them in a small amount of water and oil until tender. I removed the artichokes and boiled the cooking liquid until reduced, then poured it over the artichokes. I liked this recipe. Unlike some artichoke preparations, where it involves a lot of work to eat the artichoke you are served, here all the preparation fell on the cook. In this case, that person was still me, but I would prefer to put in the effort in the kitchen rather than at the dinner table! The artichokes were quite nicely cooked, and I enjoyed having the stems as part of the dish as well. The sauce was just ok -- it didn't taste bad, but there wasn't much depth to it. I expected the flavor of the mint to come through more than it did. It was a bit bland though. Overall, it was a nice preparation for artichokes. I think they would have been quite good chopped and mixed with some pasta.

Here is the recipe.

I was realizing today that it takes me quite a long time to settle into a new place. I have lived in Bloomington for more than a year and a half now. I consider it home, and I am certainly very comfortable here. But it was only this week that I finally programmed the radio buttons in my car to the Bloomington radio stations. All this time my presets were still set to the radio stations I used to listen to in Boston. It's not that I don't listen the radio in Bloomington -- I do! But every time I scan through for a station I like. Why did I not change my presets sooner? I have no explanation for this. So what changed recently? I'm not sure. I am feeling more settled here these last few months. I think more than anything it is because my special gentleman is living here now. This is the first semester when I haven't been going back and forth to Boston. It's hard to feel too settled when you leave every other weekend! Plus, when we lived apart I always approached it by thinking that we both lived in both places rather than him living in one place and me living in another. It's a silly distinction, but it made me feel better about the situation!

So now I am feeling nice and settled -- especially when I can change from one radio station I like to the next with just the click of a button! Within the next year and a half or so I will be moving out of Bloomington. Maybe I'll still leave those presets programmed to the Bloomington stations for a while after though...

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