Sunday, February 8, 2009

Artichokes please

Growing up, my neighbor that lived directly behind me, Paige, introduced me to the joys of steamed artichokes and melted butter. I knew the joys of melted butter before her, of course. But artichokes. My FAVORITE vegetable of all time, by far. I relished the dinners when we ate them growing up.

It's the simple things in life, right? Like eating an artichoke for dinner. (And no, Randy didn't eat one. He got home late that night. He's a steak and potatoes kinda guy, although I've broadened his food horizons a lot over the past 5 years.)

After you wash your artichoke, cut the top off to get the artichoke because there are prickly needles on the top of each leaf. Steam it for 45 minutes, or until the heart can easily pierced with a knife.

Steamed with melted butter. Time to eat!

Pull off each leaf, dip in butter and scrape with your teeth. Mmm.

As you get closer to the heart, the leaves have more "meat" on them.

Once you get down to the choke, you scrape it out with a spoon. Throw the choke away, it's a little soft, but spiney inedible part of the artichoke.

The heart, the most delightful part. It's the same flavor, just more intense and more of it in larger quantities. Smothered in butter, it's one of my favorite simple pleasures.

(One of these days very soon, I'm going to invest in a great camera. Need to get busy researching.)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Japanese Ginger Salad Dressing

Since I was a kid, and we celebrated our birthdays at Kobe's Steakhouse every year, I've loved the ginger salad dressing. Never knew what was in this magical dressing until a friend on a message board gave me this recipe. It's quite simple and so tasty. Very healthy, too. The first time I made it, it was a single batch. The second time called for a double batch. Enjoy!

2 large carrots (coarse shred)
1/2 medium onion
2 to 4 cloves garlic (to taste)
1/2 cake extra-silken tofu
2 tbsp mirin
4 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp shiro miso
3 tbsp cider vinegar (I didn't have any, and it still tastes great)
1/4 cup tahini
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
2 tsp grated fresh ginger

Combine non-liquid ingredients in food processor, pulsing to check consistency. Whisk non-oil wet ingredients together, add to food processor. Add oil through feed tube while pulsing food processor. Adjust texture with oil or water through feed tube, a little at a time.

This will keep about a week in the refrigerator.