Braised artichokes

Posted in food, home cooking, pasta at 2:11 am by wingerz


Artichokes are kind of a pain to prep, but they’re plentiful this time of year (and also delicious). This recipe is braindead simple (once the artichokes are ready) and really good. I mixed in some grated Asiago cheese and lightly roasted asparagus and served it over spaghetti.

Braised Artichokes with Tomatoes and Rosemary
from Perfect Vegetables

1 lemon, cut in half
4 medium artichokes
3 tbsps extra-virgin olive oil
4 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 14.5 can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tbsp minced fresh rosemary
1/8 tsp ground black pepper

1. Squeeze the lemon juice into a large bowl filled with cold water. Drop the spent lemon halves into the water. Cut off the stem and top quarter. Then, to get to the heart of the artichoke, bend back and snap off the outer leaves, leaving the thick bottom portion attached to the base. Continue snapping off the leaves until you reach the light yellow cone at the center. With a small knife, carefully trim off the dark green outer layer from the bottom of the artichoke. Cut off the dark section of the top. Halve the raw hearts to remove the the purple leaves and the fuzzy choke with a sharp-edged spoon, then quarter. Cut into 1-inch wedges and drop them into the bowl of water until ready to cook.

2. Heat the oil in a large sate pan or deep skillet over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Drain the artichokes and add them to the pan along with the tomatoes, wine, rosemary, 1/4 tsp salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer, cover the pan, turn the heat down to medium, and simmer until the artichokes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 30 minutes. Add more salt, if necessary, to taste.


Strawberry shortcake

Posted in baking, dessert, food, home cooking at 1:06 am by wingerz


Wow, the farmer’s market still has strawberries. Wasn’t expecting to have them all winter long. This was dessert tonight, and I’d definitely make it again.

Rich and Tender Shortcakes with Strawberries and Whipped Cream
from Cook’s Illustrated

3 pints fresh strawberries , hulled; 1 pint crushed with potato masher or fork, 2 pints quartered
6 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 cups bleached all-purpose flour , plus more for work surface
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar for sprinkling
1 stick unsalted butter (8 tablespoons), frozen
1 egg , beaten
1/2 cup half-and-half
1 tablespoon half-and-half
1 egg white , lightly beaten

Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy cream , chilled (preferably pasteurized or pasteurized organic)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Mix crushed and quartered berries with sugar in medium bowl; set aside while preparing biscuits (or up to 2 hours).
2. Adjust oven rack to lower middle position; heat oven to 425 degrees. Mix flour, salt, baking powder, and 3 tablespoons sugar in food processor, pulse to combine. Add cold butter that has been cut into half-inch pieces and continue to pulse until the mixture looks like coarse cornmeal flecked with pea-sized bits of butter. Pour the mixture into a bowl; stir in the egg and half-and-half with a rubber spatula until the mixture comes together.
4. Pat dough into 9- by 6-inch rectangle, 3/4 inch thick. Cut dough into six pieces (original recipe says to cut into 2 3/4″ rounds, but I don’t own a biscuit cutter). Place 1 inch apart on small baking sheet; brush dough tops with egg white and sprinkle with remaining sugar. (Can be covered and refrigerated up to 2 hours before baking.) Bake until golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes. Place baking sheet on wire rack; cool cakes until warm, about 10 minutes.
5. Chill nonreactive, deep, 1- to 1 1/2-quart bowl and beaters for a handheld mixer in freezer for at least 20 minutes. Add cream, sugar, and vanilla to chilled bowl; beat on low speed until small bubbles form, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium; continue beating until beaters leave a trail, about 30 seconds more. Increase speed to high; continue beating until cream is smooth, thick, and nearly doubled in volume, about 20 seconds for soft peaks or about 30 seconds for stiff peaks. If necessary, finish beating by hand to adjust consistency. (Can be transferred to fine sieve or strainer set over measuring cup and refrigerated up to 8 hours).
6. Split each cake crosswise; spoon a portion of berries and then a dollop of whipped cream over each cake bottom. Cap with cake top; serve immediately.