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Posts Tagged ‘quick’

Mmmm…

Before a few days ago, I had never had an artichoke. My recent spike in cooking made me curious on whether I could cook one or not, so I searched around for basic recipes. Well, they all were almost identical. I added a few things, like bay leaves, to mine to make it taste a little more colorful, but again, pretty much every recipe is the same. There are also different ways to cook artichokes— steaming, baking, boiling, stuffing, but I opted for the simplest one, micro-waving. Here’s the steps I used to cook my very first artichokes!

Signs of a ripe artichoke…

  • Look for ones that are vibrant green all over, free of purple or yellow spots and any dry areas.
  • Make sure they don’t have buds or flowers on them, which is a sign they are over-ripe.
  • Select an artichoke that seems heavy or dense for its size, that has tightly closed leaves. (This does not mean one that is ‘big’, just one that is compact.)

Ingredients!

  • 2 artichokes
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • sea salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 lemon

Steps! 

1. Rinse off the vegetable and thoroughly scrub them to make sure the bitter “sap” is off of them. Tear of the small, hard leaves around the base of the artichoke. If the stem is long, trim it to be around 2 inches. Slice off the top of the artichoke, and then snip the tips of the leaves with kitchen scissors. Slice your artichokes in half, rubbing the lemon half over all the cuts to preserve the beautiful green color. Place them face side down into a microwave safe dish that has a fitting lid. (Don’t put the lid on just yet!)

2. Crush 2 cloves of garlic into the dish, and squeeze the remaining lemon half over the artichokes.

  

3. Place 2 bay leaves in the dish, then pour 1/2 cup water and 1/3 cup olive oil into it, covering the bottom. To finish, add a good sprinkling of sea salt, to taste. Cover the dish, then microwave for 16-20 minutes, depending on the power of your microwave and the size of the artichokes. To test if they are finished cooking, gently drop a knife into the stems of the  artichokes. If the knife goes though easily, your artichokes are done!

  

To Serve!

To serve the artichokes, scoop out the fuzzy middle part (the choke) with a spoon, being careful to avoid the heart of the vegetable. When eating the artichokes, be sure to have a bowl nearby for the discarded leaf, and also whatever you’d like to dip it in too!

A few popular dips for artichokes are…

Mayonnaise

Mixture of garlic and butter

Mixture of oil, salt and vinegar

 Melted butter

Ranch dressing

For vegans, I recommend…

Veganaise

Earth Balance (melted)

or oil, salt and vinegar

ENJOY!

 

 

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Today, I was surfing the web for a decent granola bar recipe to test, when I stumbled upon a blogspot.com blog, ‘The Savory Notebook’. Being a blogger myself, I was immediately interested. The picture was exquisite, and I knew right then, that it was the right recipe for me. I substituted some of the ingredients and changed around some things, so here is the html to the original page; http://savorynotebook.blogspot.com/2005/08/chewy-peanut-butter-granola-bars.html, and here is my version, enjoy!

Ingredients

1/2 cup roasted salted peanuts

1/2 cup roasted sunflower seeds

1 cup golden raisins

1/2 cup dried blueberries

1/2 cup dried cherries

2 cups toasted rolled oats

2 cups puffed brown rice cereal

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/3 cup light corn syrup

1/3 cup honey

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 cup chilled Ghirardhelli dark chocolate chips

Cut up the dried cherries into smaller pieces in a large bowl if needed, then add the golden raisins and dried blueberries. Mix in the cinnamon and vanilla extract. Stir well.

Combine peanuts, sunflower seeds, toasted oats, and puffed rice with the fruit, stir, and set aside.

Combine the peanut butter, brown sugar, light corn syrup and honey in a microwavable bowl and heat on high for about 1 to 2 minutes. Stir, then fold it, along with the Ghirardhelli dark chocolate chips, into the dry mixture for a few minutes, or until fully incorporated.

Scoop the mixture into a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with a sheet of wax paper on the bottom with enough slack to use the sides to lift the granola bars out when they are fully cooled. Press down the granola mixture on the top with another sheet of wax paper, until even and your ideal thickness and density is reached.

Let bars cool for 1 to 2 hours, before cutting into bars.

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