I had never purchased fresh artichokes before because they just look intimidating and I really had no idea how to prepare them or eat them. So, for this week’s assignment I started by going to the internet to read about artichokes. First I read about their history. Apparently they are mentioned as a garden plant by Homer in the 8th century BC! Then I discovered that almost all the artichokes sold in the United States come from California. I spent some time searching for artichoke recipes but I had to go back to the internet to read more about the parts of an artichoke before I could understand the recipe directions.
I wanted to cook fresh artichokes so I ended up just steaming them over a poaching liquid of water, chicken broth and lemon rinds. Then I cut off the petals and made some lemon garlic aioli sauce for a dip. It was a messy appetizer to eat but it was actually quite good.
Like many people I would like to try to eat more greens and salads. So the second type of produce that I purchased this week was romaine lettuce. I love Caesar salad and I usually buy bottled Caesar salad dressing but this week I made Caesar dressing from scratch. I started by cutting a loaf of bread into cubes to making croutons.
Then I made the dressing. I had to poke the ends of 4 raw eggs with a needle and place the eggs in boiling water for 90 seconds.
Then I cracked the eggs and spooned out the semi cooked egg and whisked it together with olive oil, lemon juice, and minced anchovies. The result was a dressing that was so much better than any “gourmet” dressing that I could ever buy at the grocery store. While the Caesar dressing was a little bit difficult to make I experimented with a few other vinaigrette dressings this week and discovered that they were all fairly easy to make and amazingly good. I might just quit buying store bought salad dressings!