Monday, November 2, 2009

How To Prepare Artichoke Hearts. Rosie Makes An Artichoke, Crab Meat, And Pasta Dish.

Rosie scored quite a coup the other day at Harris Teeter.
Check out the prices.
$1.50 for 10 lemons! Be still my heart.
Two artichokes for $1.00. Two avocados for $1.00.
Mr. Hawthorne made a quick guacamole Smashed the avocados up, added lime juice, some red onion.
I tasted and added cayenne, salt, and pepper. Very tasty dip. Now, the ahhhhhtichokes and my entree for tonight. I got the artichokes for 50 cents apiece and I wanted to utilize the crab meat from last night. And I'm making this up as I go along.
To prepare the artichokes, I sliced the bottoms off, sliced off a bit of the top, and trimmed each leaf.
Shhh. I'm thinking here. I got out some green onions and a tomato, picked a red bell pepper, a red Anaheim pepper, and some fresh parsley, basil, and tarragon from the garden.
Here are the rest of the crabs from last night.
I picked a dozen crabs all by my lonesome and it took me over an hour. I have well over a pound of crab meat here. You're welcome, Mr. Hawthorne. Next, I'm going to prepare some of the crab meat.
Over low heat, melt a small wedge of Brie, some cream cheese, and some butter. How much of each? Don't worry. It's all good. You can't go wrong here.
Slowly melt, stirring.
Ooooh. I was looking through the cheese drawer in my fridge and found this little piece of Gruyere. In it goes. Don't stress about the ingredients. I always use the Brie, butter, and cream cheese, but you could add Mozzarella or Monterey Jack or Swiss or Parmesan. Improvise. This is a good way to use up lonely little pieces of cheese.
When the cheeses and butter were melted, I added in some crab meat. Don't work the crab meat. You want to keep the lumps whole. Just barely incorporate.
Add in some white wine. Or sherry. Or vermouth. Finally, add in some citrus. I used orange juice. You could use lemon, lime, orange, or all three. Cover and set aside. I'm going to use the crab meat mixture as a topping for my artichoke hearts, but this would be perfect for a dip as it is. You could dress it up - add in some sliced green onions, some minced green and/or red and/or orange and/or yellow peppers, and maybe a dusting of paprika or cayenne and serve it with crackers.
I cooked the artichokes for about 40 minutes, or until I could easily scrape the meat off the leaves with my teeth.
In addition to the green onions, peppers, and fresh herbs, I minced some garlic and sliced some mushrooms and picked 2 little asparaguses (asparagi?) from the garden. Remember, this is on the fly. Next, I want to get the artichoke hearts out.
Take the artichoke ...
... and start removing the leaves ...
... being sure to dip in some butter/garlic/lemon sauce, scraping the flesh off with your teeth.
Keep pulling the leaves off ...
... until you expose the fuzzy choke.
Take a spoon and ...
... scrape the fuzzy off the top, revealing the meaty, rich heart underneath. Remove the bottom leaves, slicing with a knife if necessary, to release the heart from the leaves. Set the hearts aside whilst your significant other eats all the flesh off the leaves of 5 artichokes. Now remember. I'm making this up as I go along. So please bear with me.
I sauteed the sliced mushrooms in a little olive oil, then added the leftover butter/lemon/garlic sauce, so nothing would go to waste.
Red peppers and 2 asparagus spears from my garden went in. See here, how to coax a second fall harvest out of your asparagus.
Saute for a mere 30 seconds.
I want this sauce to cling to the pasta, so I added about 2 tablespoons of flour and cook for a minute or so. What? What sauce?? We're having pasta??? I told you I'm doing this on the fly.
After cooking the flour, I added in about 1/4 cup of white wine.
And about 1/2 cup or more cream.
The tomatoes went in last, just to heat through.
Mr. Hawthorne was kind enough to take care of the pasta duty. Whole wheat penne rigate.
When the pasta was al dente, I poured it into the strainer.
And added the pasta to my vegetable sauce, stirring to coat.
To plate, I put a bed of pasta and sauce down, and added an artichoke heart.
The crab and cheese mixture went on top of the heart.
Then the greenery - sliced green onions and the herbalicious goodness of parsley, tarragon, and basil.
Dang it all. I wish I prepared more food in the daytime. Because the color of incandescent light is really distracting from the pictures. I need white light. I guess I could use my digital SLR and adjust the color temperature (not an available feature on my Coolpic) but that's a lot of work. Whine. Or I could just shoot the dish the next day when I have it for lunch: That works. I must tell you. Artichoke hearts and crab meat were made for each other. The meaty rich density of the heart. The sweet lightness of the crab. Perfection.

1 comment:

Kathy said...

Whole wheat pasta? YAY for Rosie!