Saturday, May 16, 2009

The "A" Vegetables

I love artichokes.
I'm trying to grow a couple of plants in my front yard, and so far they're not dead. No harvest yet, though. I give it a few years.
We eat artichokes a lot at my house; often as the sole basis of a meal. We invent madcap dips for them, even though as a child, I only ever ate artichokes with mayonnaise as a dip. (Hey! At least I was eating artichokes.)
I've gone beyond mayonnaise toward flavors like bagna cauda, simple yogurt with mustard mixed in, or (ooh) hummus. Never really did like the melted butter phenom.
I don't know how this came about, but the other day we needed to eat some artichokes, and we needed a new flavor.
Ohgah. Miso! There's been a plastic tub of miso (sort of brown-colored) in the fridge for — oh, just fire me now — years. All it needed was some loosening up (I used buttermilk), a little Asianing-up with a few drops of toasted sesame oil, and then some tightening up with thick Greek yogurt. Top with shichimi togarashi, for looks, mainly. Cute flecks.
Then eat.
It was very, very cool.
We used the leftover goop the next day as a dressing to pour into avocado halves. Another "A" vegetable I adore.

28 comments:

J-in-Wales said...

A few years? I would want my money back if they don't produce this year. Even in my cold, wet, windy conditions I can grow artichokes. Fantastic plants - they look great and they give you artichokes. What more could you want?
I rarely get beyond the melted butter though...

dancingmorganmouse said...

This has made me realise that the miso in our fridge is probably 5 years old - still looks fine though.

Sweet Bird said...

I love you this much (picture arms wide open) more because you felt you needed to "Asian-up" miso.

You rock.

(Also, have you ever felt the urge while driving through Castroville to just jump out of the car with a paring knife and hack off a few dozen?)

sandwicharchitecture said...

that stuf lasts forever! well, based on the miso that's been in my fridge for at least a year.

i never would have thought of this! i am decidedly anti mayo, so i generally dip artichokes in annie's goddess dressing. i look forward to experimenting with miso and yogurt and such.

sandwicharchitecture said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kailyn said...

I find the miso intriguinging. And please don't move onto B because beets are yucky.

Zoomie said...

Artichokes were a rare pleasure when I was growing up - they were pretty spendy and my mother was pretty frugal. But, now that we live in artichoke country, it's a whole different story. Lovely, leafy, prickly,love 'em any way they come!

cookiecrumb said...

J-in-Wales: Oh, see. I don't know how long it takes to become productive. You grow artichokes in Wales? That is adorable. I adore it.
Anyway. What's not to like about melted butter?

Mouse: I wasn't going to say, but, yes... probably five years. Amazing stuff.

Birdie: I'm a silly kid in the kitchen. Thanks for the hug. AND: I know a punk rocker former blogger who *stole* artichokes from a field in Castroville while on tour. Hungry.

Sandwich: I can't believe, myself, how long it's taken me to branch off the tried and true. I wish you success in your experiments.
And: Aged miso? It works.

Kailyn: Oh. Drat. I'm OK with beets. Let's see... beans? Broccoli? Fine.

Zoomie: I can't remember when I started eating artichokes, but definitely in childhood. West Coast thing, I guess. I'm so glad you are now in the tribe.

Zoomie said...

They used to grow in New Jersey, too, and that's where my early ones came from. Now all from California - even my uphill neighbor is growing some! I might try next year.

Greg said...

Madcap dips? My wife is married to one.The hummus idea sounds like something I could love.

cookiecrumb said...

Zoomie: A million years ago, I lived in a house (in San Bruno) that had a couple of productive artichoke plants. No harm in trying! And, apparently the roving deer don't munch on them.

Madcap Dip: The hummus takes it to *meal* level. You can thank Kailyn for this idea.

fastgrowtheweeds.com said...

Mmmmiso!

Hey: did you grow your artichoke from seeds or buy a little plant? "Out here" all we can get is seeds, though supposedly those hearty artichoke farmers south of you tend to split (divide) the plants to produce new ones, and only from the better-producing plants. So I am curious to know if yours are green globe or some hopefully hale and hearty division from one of your California connections. The seed-grown ones are iffy prospects as they don't really come true from seeds so only a few of the plants will be worthwhile; the others will be as tough and inedible as their thistle cousins. But I love them so I keep growing them.

cookiecrumb said...

El: Mine came from plantlets bought at the nursery. Very California, I guess, though this is my own first venture ever. I believe they're going to be "normal" globes. Hope, hope, hope.
I can't believe you keep growing them where you live! Congratulations, and good luck.
We are decidedly late putting in the potatoes, BTW, but they're incubating in the fridge. Damn things have already sprouted baby rats!!! Gardening is fun.

limoncello said...

I've been eating roasted tiny artichokes about twice a week - what's up with that?? So glad Cranky noted Swanton farm; best artichokes and a U-Pick organic strawberry farm??

Beets are out? Maaaan, it took me half a lifetime to learn to love them. How 'bout broccoli rabe?

Sam said...

mmmm. Aubergines and Asparagus. Some of my other favourite A vegetables in addition to Artichokes and A fruits like Avocado.

cookiecrumb said...

Limoncello: I should garner some baby artichokes. They are delightful roasted, and so fast to cook! I envy you. Yeah. Swanton. Cannot beat them.
BTW, I'm totally into "B" vegetables too, including beets. There was not a single vegetable I would not eat as a kiddie.

Sam: I am grateful to you for classifying eggplant with the "A" vegetables. I love them too. Just planted two bushes in the yard, and there's GOT to be one ready to ripen in August for you.
(And. I know the avocado is a fruit. You can even make ice cream with it.)

Sam said...

you need to hear the Frenchman say 'Aubergine'. You'll melt. Especially in August, when it's hot.

limoncello said...

I know you can make avocado ice cream, but can you eat it?

Sam said...

Limoncella's got a good point. I made Nuclear Freeze once and wasn't overjoyed, to put it mildly. ["it nearly made me wretch and I had to spit it down the sink"

cookiecrumb said...

Sam and Limoncello: Agreed. I wouldn't eat it. Just sayin'.
I think you two should meet, BTW.

Sam: I want to hear the Frenchman whisper "aubergine." Ooh la la.

Kailyn said...

I've tasted avocado ice cream. It's an acquired taste.

cookiecrumb said...

Kailyn: Thanks for talking me out of it!! (Drat. Now I'm curious.)

cook eat FRET said...

i love artichokes more than you
now avocados - those i quite like

but i love artichokes more than you

cookiecrumb said...

Claudia: Now, that's just a dare. A challenge. Let's have lunch. :D

limoncello said...

CC, you may call for "aubergine" in August, but perhaps can settle for "courgette" in June?

And thanks for the intro - suspect Sam and I will cross paths! Spent the afternoon at KGO with Amy today, as her stage hand on "View from the Bay". Mmmm...chilled pea soup! :)

cookiecrumb said...

Limoncello: I've taken the pledge. No courgettes this year, at all. At least, not growing in my garden. I have a blog acquaintance in Boston who is growing des champignons... a little outside my league, green-thumb-wise. I like French vegetables. Hey, wait! French fries! Yeah. I'm growing those, too.

Lee said...

Best artichokes ever:

Steam artichokes while preparing dipping sauce.

Dipping sauce
Squeeze lemon or lime juice into a container. Add crushed or diced garlic. Add olive oil 1:1 or to taste. Mix or blend. Pour into a ramekin for each artichoke eater. Dip artichoke leaves, eat; soak artichoke heart, eat. Swoon. Repeat

cookiecrumb said...

Lee: Yahoo! I will totally make this. I have a bag of lemons from my dad's tree. Sadly, the artichoke season is over at the farmers market. Maybe get some grocery store 'chokes.
Sounds GOOD.