Friday, June 17, 2011

The One with the Fuzz.

I have a hilarious story to share with you today. I'm going to have to start at the beginning (as I do with most stories). But this time, it's actually relevant.

I went to Sprouts on Wednesday (double ad Wednesday is pretty awesome!) and as soon as I walked through the door, I spotted a gigantic basket of artichokes and a sign that said "99 cents each." I didn't even hesitate before throwing a few of those spikies into my shopping cart. Literally. I didn't even put them in a bag. And I gave myself a splinter in the process. But whatever.

Do you even know how expensive artichokes usually are? I don't mean the marinated kind that you can get in a jar. I mean the real kind.

They are usually way too expensive. While I was picking up some other veggies, I overheard a lady on the phone who was freaking out to her friend about how the artichokes were on sale. She picked up five. I suddenly seemed less crazy.

Anyway. I sought out to cook one of the artichokes yesterday. Here is my experience in a nutshell. Oh and some directions on how to cut/cook an artichoke.

1. Rinse the artichoke in water.
2. With scissors, cut the thorny part of each petal off. And while you're at it, take a knife and chop off all but 1 inch of the stem.

A clean-cut artichoke!
3. Rinse again.
4. Steam the artichoke. The whole artichoke. It's okay if it takes a ridiculous contraption to do so.

The artichoke was too tall for the lid that goes with the pot...just a normal problem.
5. After steaming for 20-30 minutes, you should be able to easily pull the petals off. I didn't think this would be such a big deal. I mean, there was a lot of artichoke that I started with, so I didn't think the entire artichoke would be petals.
6. I was wrong. There are a lot of petals. Don't eat them. They taste bad.

There were still petals on there. Tiny ones. They look like flower petals towards the middle!
7. Keep pulling the petals off (it'll seem like an eternity) until you reach the fuzzy creature inside.

8. Laugh your head off at the fact that the inside of an artichoke is FUZZY. And inedible. Don't even try to eat it.
9. Cut out the fuzzy part.
10. You'll be left with the edible portion. It's soft. However, it tastes extremely bland. So bland, I thought I did something terribly wrong.
11. Season it. With something. Anything. I chopped up the edible portion and mixed it with some balsamic vinegar in a bowl and marinated it for 15 minutes or so.

So now you're probably wondering what I did with the tiny bowl-full of artichoke pieces I obtained from that once gigantic artichoke monster.

Artichoke pizza, of course!!

Swiss Chard and Artichoke Pizza

  • 2 pre-made pizza crusts (they usually come with pizza sauce)
  • ~1 cup chopped swiss chard
  • 1 artichoke, cooked, chopped, and marinated
  • 1/4 can olives, chopped
  • ~1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

To make the crust extra crispy, brush with olive oil and stick in the oven while it pre-heats for about 2 minutes.

Spread the pizza sauce and top with the veggies and cheese. Check this out: my dad not only grows tomatoes and eggplants in his garden, but also swiss chard!!

I grabbed a generous amount of swiss chard. Apparently it grows back quickly!

Check the baking instructions on the pizza crust. I pre-heated the oven to 425F, then reduced it to 400F, put the pizza in, and let it bake for less than 10 minutes. 

Delish!! In the end, I think the adventure I had with that artichoke was worth it. 

Nom nom nom. Love my greens in pizza form. 

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