Monthly Archives: July 2013

Crispy Artichokes

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I watched David Rocco make a raw artichoke salad on his show months ago and my mouth dropped.   “That is so easy,” I thought.   He removed most of the outer leaves of the artichoke and then thinly sliced the remaining part, added some olive oil and parmesan and ate it raw.    I immediately tried it but his artichoke must have been a lot fresher than mine.   Probably picked that day from an artichoke plant in his yard.     I threw my raw artichoke salad into a skillet with some olive oil and garlic cooked it for about 5-10 minutes.  Viola, a wonderful salad.

It reminded me  of a late night meal I had in New York City a few years ago with my husband and a friend at a restaurant in lower Manhattan.   Our friend, Bryant, was just getting off work and was eating a late dinner.  Eric and I had just come from an earlier dinner with friends and weren’t the least bit hungry but before we knew it, we had ordered a couple appetizers.  We couldn’t resist.  They sounded too good.   And the two things we ordered from the menu both stick in my mind to this day.   Crispy Artichokes was one of them.   Best thing ever.   Fried of course.  And in thin strings.  I couldn’t put my fingers on how they actually made this.  Until now.   And the other item was pasta with onion sauce.   They must have cooked those onions for 2 days.  I have tried to replicate it and will continue to try.  I just never seem to have the patience to wait that long for onions to cook.

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These crispy artichokes are so quick and easy.   Gone are the days that you have to boil an artichoke for 45 minutes to 1 hour.   Although, dipping those leaves in butter is so comforting.   But this is quick and delicious.   Perfecto!

Here is a loose recipe.   A little of this, a little of that.   You need to peel away most of the outer leaves until you get to the softer center.   Eating those tough leaves will not be a pleasant experience.   And of course, the fresher the better.  If your artichoke has been sitting in the fridge for a couple weeks, turning brownish, don’t use it for this recipe.   I love how the parmesan gets crisp when it fries in the pan.   It’s like that part of a grill cheese sandwich where a little piece of the cheese is hanging over the bread and it gets fried in the pan,   That is the best part of the whole sandwich.

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Parmesan Quinoa Cakes with Homemade Pesto

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OR with Homemade Marinara and Whipped Feta.

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Before I go into this recipe I have to share some photos from my hike this morning.  I mean, come on.   They don’t call Crested Butte the wildflower capital of Colorado for nothing.

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This was our camping spot last weekend at the blue mesa where we played in rafts and hung out with friends all weekend.   And then we came home to a beautiful rainbow!

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Flowers, farmer’s markets, camping, hiking, outdoor music concerts and rafting have been filling up our summer.   I have missed several Sunday Farmer’s Markets because we have been camping.   Max asked me about them the other day.  He likes to go and get treats and it’s nice to know everything is organic and free of dyes.  A coupel local moms started a great Popsicle stand where they make homemade fresh fruit pops and they put a cucumber slice on the bottom of the stick so it doesn’t drip.   I mean really.  How cute is that?

I think our market might have more food vendors than farmers selling fresh produce but the vendors are making delicious and healthy fare.

The other week when I was there, I was waiting for the chef to cook the falafals  for my falafal plate and saw him fry them in a big pot of oil.  I though, well, there goes my healthy lunch. I looked down at the big pot of oil and I wondered what kind of oil he was using.   I debated in my head for a moment if I should ask him- and wondering if at this point if I even wanted to know.  I had, after all  just paid a good amount for a plate of greens, hummus and falafal so I was going to eat it either way.   Is ignorance bliss?  I decided to ask.   When he told me we was using organic coconut oil I was surprised.  And relieved.

A few years ago I probably wouldn’t have given a thought about the oil that was being used to cook food I was going to put into my body.   I used to always have a bottle of canola oil in my cabinet and used it for baking.  But when he said Organic Coconut Oil, I smiled.  It is the healthiest oil he could be frying my food in.

If you want to read about oils and which ones are healthy to cook with and which can be toxic click here for an article from food matters, here for an article from Marks Daily Apple and here for an article from Integrative Medicine at University of Kansas Medical Center.

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Now for the recipe.  Read the rest of this entry

Watermelon, Feta, and Basil Bites

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I am not the cutesy type but these little bites are a pretty perfect addition to  a 4th of July BBQ.   I added blueberries simply to make them more festive but if you are making this for another occasion, you could leave them out.

The recipe takes about 10 minutes to assemble.  It doesn’t get much easier than this.

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Watermelons are so refreshing on a hot day.  Add a squeeze of fresh lime juice on top and it brings it to a whole new level.

These bites look like tomatoes and might confuse someone (my husband, possibly) as they wonder how a tomato could possibly be so crunchy.   A curious and confused expression might paint their face until they realize (or are told) that they are eating a watermelon.    Confusion clears up and a content smile appears.   Ah.   That’s good.

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That little round cookie cutter pictured above is what I used to make my watermelon circles.  It’s about 2 inches in diameter.

If you really want to get cutesy, use a star shaped cookie cutter.   I just couldn’t go there.

Crested Butte might be a tiny town, but we throw one heck of a parade.  It used to be so small that all the floats would go around twice.    There’s everything from Rocky Mountain Biological Lab scientists covered in leaves dancing down the street to people biking through a circle of fire.  It’s entertaining for sure.

The 4th is a hang out type of day.   Wherever you are hanging out for the day, these little bites are perfect to bring along.

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To chiffonade the basil, stack about 5 piece of basil on top of each other and roll lightly.  Thinly slice the roll and you will get lots of thin strips of basil.

If you don’t like basil (gasp!  Who doesn’t like basil?try substituting mint. Read the rest of this entry