I love those amazing deep-fried blooming/blossoming onion appetizers that they have at steak houses. They consist of a sweet onion (we used a small vidalia), that’s cut so that the slices form petals. This is then breaded and deep friend to form a beautiful flower that is made up of little pieces of battered and fried onion. Paired with a horseradish & mayo dipping sauce, it’s positively heavenly.
I had a craving, so after a cursory internet search, I came upon this recipe here:
I found this recipe when I was too lazy to go to the store to get a dressing for a Chinese Chicken salad idea I was craving.
Free of any preservatives and chemical additives, this dressing also doubles as a killer marinade for chicken. Add the ingredients to a jam jar, cap it, and shake it up before use and you’ll never go back. :)
Hummus is really easy. So easy that I now refuse to buy the preservative-laden store variety. It’s a basic “pile everything into a blender and BOOM, you’re done” type of recipe. We’re having a party tonight, so I figured it would make the perfect dip, and the ingredients are a cinch to keep on hand.
This is a double recipe especially for those times when you’re entertaining. It makes about a quart (4 cups) of deliciousness. If you want less, just half it to scale back to only 1 can of garbanzo beans.
Back in the day when I first started cooking seriously, I put together this post. Almost a full year later, it’s still a favorite.
I can’t wait for artichokes to come in season in San Diego! (And by “in season” I mean when people start getting them in their backyards).
Don’t laugh at my photos, it’s my Mac’s fault. Photobooth just doesn’t beat a Canon, lol.
Recipe 23: Lemon-Braised Artichokes
So this was one of the first recipes I made when I started going crazy for food. I’ve always wanted to conquer the elusive artichoke, as it were, so I found a recipe and decided to experiment.
Here’s what you need:
Dutch Oven, or a pot that can go into the oven that has a heavy lid.
Large mixing bowl
Smaller “random vegetable crap” bowl
Cutting boards, knives. This section is pretty simple…
2 medium artichokes
1/2 cup olive oil
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup lemon juice. Fresh is best, but sometimes you can only find a bottle of it.
2 tbsp garlic, minced (about 4 large cloves, but it’s totally up to you how much garlic you want.)
salt and pepper to your own preference
So, the easiest way I found to do this whole thing is to set up a station. Get a large bowl and that will be where you put all the stuff you’re going to eat. The smaller bowl should be set to the side of it, this is where you’ll put all the extra pieces of vegetables, like the “choke” and the onion peel/tops that you won’t be cooking. It just keeps your area cleaner. Set the cutting board in front of you, and slide a kitchen towel into your waistband or belt loop so you can wipe your knife, hands, etc.
**Pre-heat your oven to 350F. The prep is quick.**
Preparing the ‘Chokes
Okay, look at your artichokes. Aren’t they lovely? Isn’t it amazing that not only does this grow from the ground, but we can EAT it?! I can only imagine what kinda thinking was behind the first person who actually discovered these edibles…
Okay, so you want to do a few things. Cut off the stem, at the base of the ‘choke, and then take a knife and cut off the top inch of the crown on petals. Then, taking some kitchen scissors, nip 1/2 inch off the top of each leaf. Watch out, these can be sharp… Place any refuse into the smaller “compost” bowl.
Now, lay the artichoke on its side and slice is in half, making the cut vertically so that the line passes through the top and the stem. You’ll make the same cut to each half, so you have quarters, like lemon wedges.
Use a spoon to scoop out the choke. It’s the fuzzy bit that is NOT fun to
eat… Be careful to not scoop out too much of the flesh, because the choke rests above the heart, which is the most tender part.
You can rinse the quarters out a bit if there is any residual fuzz, and repeat this process with the other artichoke.
Place the quarters into the large bowl and start the prep for the onions, slicing them into thin rings.
The rest is just mixing everything up and then putting it into your dutch oven and winging it into the oven for 25 mins…or until you can easily pull away one of the petals… Your house will smell heavenly!
So sit back, relax, and enjoy. I thoroughly suggest eating these with your hands, no utensils allowed! :)
Kitchen Experiment posts are for the times that I don’t use a recipe and just improvise. I put down what I used, but the technique is more important due to the wide range of substitutions and variations available.
So for a while I’ve wanted to try my hand at a scalloped potato dish because I’ve only ever relied on the packaged style and been too much of a chicken to try it myself. I didn’t want to make one of those cheesy, saucy, fat-laden sides though. I wanted something with the same layered texture I love so much about scalloped potatoes, but with a bit more flavor and spice, and a prettier appearance.
Well, I made some mistakes, but I was able to troubleshoot them this time. This dish is tasty, lovely, and absolutely unique. It can be used as a side or as the main event, with a little dressing up. If you’re looking for something subtle to impress your guests, this is the ticket.
Kitchen Experiment #1: Layered Potatoes
Notes: You can make this ahead. Get past the baking portion and then cool in the fridge while weighing the foil down until you’re ready to cut the pieces out and warm.
Ingredients: (4 Servings plus “leftovers”)
1 large russet potato, sliced into discs with a mandolin. (1/8 inch-ish)
1 large sweet potato, sliced into discs with a mandolin.
3 red-skinned potatoes, sliced into discs with a mandolin.
fresh thyme (or whatever herbs you like)
fresh ground pepper & salt
Preheat your oven to 350F.
Get a baking dish that’s a square of about 9″x9″ and line the bottom with parchment paper. If you want to scale up, go for it. The potato amounts can be scaled up to layer as much as you want, as long as they fill the dish completely without gaps.
Start with the sweet potato and layer with overlapping the first level. Build on that with the red potato, and then the russet. Do another three layers, but this time make sure the russet is extra dense (make your overlapping more extreme). Season with herbs, pepper, and salt, and then a drizzle of olive oil. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes.
When the potatoes are done, vent the foil and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Then, press the foil down to the surface of the potatoes and set a heavy pot or panini weight on the top. You want to compress these layers so as they cool the starch helps “glue” them together.
If you’re planning on serving the same day, allow to compress for 30 minutes or until room temperature. Then, grab a corner of the parchment and slide the whole thing out onto a cutting board. Grab the corners quickly and flip over, so the sweet potatoes are now facing up.The sweet potatoes are the easiest to cut through with the cutter, so that’s why they’re up top. If you try it from the other side, it could disrupt the layers.
Use a pretty cookie cutter (preferably a circle) and sigh-measure where to place it to get the most out of your potatoes. I started with the upper corner. Press quickly through all the layers, and then give it a sharp smack with the palm of your hand to send it through the bottom layer. Cut away the excess carefully around the cutter (if it’s sticking) and transfer to a plate. Lift the cutter up carefully to reveal your tower. You can serve these at room temperature. If you want to warm them, place them on a lined cookie sheet and put them in the oven for a spell until warmed through.
Because they is a test recipe, I encourage you to get creative. There are a lot of very good possibilities with something like this, be it garnish, sauces, or even turning it into a sweet dish.