Saturday, January 19, 2008

Zesty Hot Bath

Ghod, I love artichokes. I love all the "A" vegetables, and artichokes best. (I'm told that Zuckerman's Farm will begin selling asparagus in four weeks, by the way. But back to artichokes.)
I was a lucky kid. I grew up eating artichokes, so they were never weird to me. But I've been through a gradual change in what I will dunk the leaves in.
At first, it was always just a little dish of mayonnaise. Dunk, scrape, chew. Happy. But the mayonnaise was fridge temperature, and, eek.
I tried pure melted butter with artichokes once or twice, but it was too unguent, too self-absorbed, too dull.
Cranky and I finally settled for a long spell on a mixture of mayonnaise, yogurt and a twinge of Dijon mustard, all at room temp. It had a nice, spunky taste, if a little naive. I would probably resort to it again.
So what happened? I only had a little yogurt left, and I needed to use it as a culture for a batch of homemade yogurt. I sure wasn't going to dunk leaves in pure mayo.
Well, I don't know what happened. My private brain was way ahead of my public brain, because without me realizing it, I was making bagna cauda. (Brainya cauda, I guess.) Without a recipe.
You probably have a recipe for bagna cauda. Use it. But promise me you'll do this: Add Orange Zest. More than you think; and a little lemon zest is good too. You also need to mortar-and-pestle some capers in there as well. I used salt-packed capers; probably not rinsed well enough but I loved the saltiness.
Do not forget to include the orange zest.
Orange zest.
o r a n g e  z e s t
{{ you... are getting... hungry... }}

24 comments:

dancingmorganmouse said...

Right, got that, orange zest ;)

cookiecrumb said...

Morgan: OMG!! It's like you're reading my mind!

peter said...

You know, ever since having carciofi alla Romana all those years ago in Rome, I've never made them this way since. But they do love citrus. Hey, I know, what about orange zest?!?

chilebrown said...

Chris will allways quote how many days to the asparagus harvest.
You may get this message to late,but,are you going by your orange tree.
We took Second Place in the "Three Pot Dutch Oven Cookoff" at the 'Sportsmen Show' at Cal Expo. Monday, I will be buying a new hat for the expandage! Peace,Paul

Catherine said...

ah, a fellow artichoke fiend!

Probably, everyone knew this but me, but I just discovered the wonder of adding a wedge of lemon to the steaming water of my artichoke. I can't say it was enough to infuse the choke with lemon, but I was amazed to find that the steaming water was crystal clear instead of that brown bitter broth I'm used to.

I like mine dipped in melted butter (with extra salt), or with pesto mayonnaise (as at Pacific Catch) but I have to say, you're tempting me!

Zoomie said...

We always used melted butter with a big squeeze of lemon juice in it. I still like that the best!

sfmike said...

mayonnaise, mustard, and fresh lemon juice to taste.

Anna Haight said...

Got it, orange zest. Sounds good!

fastgrowtheweeds.com said...

Glad to see you're using your oranges! I'm a bit weird in that I use a touch of miso in my dunk (and a squirt of lemon, and maybe some garlic); kind of low-fat which is rather unlike me.

My mom grew up having to split an artichoke with a sibling! Can you imagine the indignity? (Well, there were 7 kids, and this was the wilds of Indiana, where artichokes are kind of rare...)

Anyway, you're not alone! (And they're fun to grow and perennial, so start scoping out a suitable spot in your back yard, CC!)

Kevin said...

CC,
My favorite is butter, lemon juice, herbes de provence, and a couple of pinches of lavender.

Stacie said...

my mom loved artichokes, so we ate them as kids too. one time, our rock band van broke down north of santa cruz and we "liberated" some artichokes from a nearby field... and the great artichoke festival was born! yummy! your recipe sounds really tasty!

Anonymous said...

Yummmm... but what about an aoli? Mayo, lots of lemon juice, some zest, kosher salt and a good amount of garlic? Even better when the steamed/boiled artichokes are cut in half and cooked in olive oil over high heat to crisp up the edges and give it a smokey flavor. Then squirt with lemon juice and sprinkle with salt before dipping. OMG, I need to go find artichokes.
~jennifer

cookiecrumb said...

Peter: I'm reluctant to stuff artichokes. Scary, pointy, sharp things you have to trim off...
But yeah! Orange zest.

Chilebrown: Congratulations on the dutch oven competition! So sorry we didn't get word of you swinging by the market; I'll save you some oranges.

Catherine: I hear you on the lemon wedge in the steaming water. We have successfully pressure-cooked artichokes a couple of times, and if you toss in some aromatics (lemon rind, pepper flakes, bay leaf, etc.), the flavors really do get driven into the chokes. But you still want something sinful to dip into!

Zoomie: Lemon juice would definitely help, but I kinda gag over a pot of pure melted butter. Maybe in moderation.

SFMike: That reminds me of our yogurt, mayo and mustard, and I can see why you love it. Good.

Anna: Of course, there's also squished up anchovies in there! :D

Weed Puller: Oh, heck, yes! I've got to put in an artichoke plant. I'll do it asap.
I lurve the idea of miso in your dunk. Mm, tasty.

Kevin: Lavender!!?? Oh, that's brave, Kevin. I don't know if I would do that. But with orange zest... maybe!

Stacie: Ah, yes, I remember you talking about the artichoke larceny, I mean "festival." Very cool.

Jennifer: Cut in half and cooked until smoky? Oh gah. I'm doing that next. With aioli, so thanks.

katiez said...

Oh yes, the "A" vegetables! We love them and can't wait - another 6 weeks at least, for us.
I use a Balsamic vinaigrette... and sometimes aioli (a bit sharp)
But, I'll remember orange zest... zest of orange....think I got it...

peter said...

I don't stuff them. It's easy; you do all the work up front and then you get to eat the entire result. You'll never go back...

Zoomie said...

Peter, you must blog about that so we can learn what you do! Kevin, that sounds like HEAVEN! Oh, look, it rhymes!

Zoomie said...

Oh, and no pots of butter - at our house they are always dainty little dishes on the side of the plate!

Linda said...

In the States I always had artichokes with melted butter, garlic and tarragon, which I loved. My husband doesn't like that-guess the French don't- and so now we use vinagarette instead, the kind for a salad to which I add some garlic and parsley.

cookiecrumb said...

Peter: Ditto Zoomie on the how-to. I looked at Mario Batali's recipe, and it looks like he fills the spaces between the leaves with munchable stuff. But does not stuff the center; mea culpa.

Zoomie: I have a set of artichoke plates you'd love. An indentation for the 'choke, an indentation for the cast-off leaves, and an indentation for a perfectly petite dab of melted butter. Decorated in a girly lavender floral print.

Linda: That sounds really good. In the same arena as my bagna cauda (but easier); good and tasty.

Bri said...

Yum! I'll have to try out your recipe (sans anchovies for us veg). I was thinking I'd use capers instead, and then you mentioned them too. I've always loved artichokes too. About ten years ago, I brought one leftover from dinner to work for my lunch, and someone asked me what I was eating. After I picked up my chin from the floor and told them it was an artichoke, they still looked at me like I was crazy for eating this alien creature. Well, I love them...AND asparagus. Yay for spring!
Orange zest...gotta remember the orange zest....

cookiecrumb said...

Bri: Funny story. Oh, well. More for us!
Anyway, anytime people decline to use anchovies, I recommend substituting black olives, finely smooshed. Extra flavor, mm.

Katie said...

I'm so glad I found your blog. Completely humorous, yet super yummy. [robot voice] i am hungry now.

Katie at GardenPunks

PS - My word verification started with the letters WMD. Haha! Irony?

cookiecrumb said...

Katie: I'm so glad you're here!! Eeee!
(A long time ago, we had a huge fling of commenters leaving their word verifications in "print". Many of them funny. Not as pungent as yours. Sigh.)

manny said...

I thought everyone was mentioning food. Then I realized that you were talking about bath salts. With all the yummy stuff being added to it, its hard not to be confused :D