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Stuffed Artichokes.

How excited are you for Friday trivia tomorrow? I got 3 more questions comin’ at ya!

 

 

Have you ever had stuffed artichokes?

 

 

I never had. Not until 2003.

 

 

And for the record, I ate them at an ex-boyfriend’s house on most holidays. Yep, I said it.

 

 

The relationship didn’t stick, but the artichokes sure did. I think my husband is happy on both accounts.

 

 

 

My mom had never had them, and I didn’t know anyone who had. Sad to say, I am not very cultured. Unless you consider never leaving home and being afraid to use public restrooms cultured.

 

 

A few years ago I created this ‘stuffing’ for the artichokes, after learning how to prepare them first.

 

 

 

If you are looking for a recipe that does not include butter, oil or cheese – you have come to the wrong place, my friend. But I hope you’ll stay. 🙂

 

 

 

I bought this 4 pack of artichokes from Trader Joe’s for $3.99. Talk about a deal.

 

 

In my grocery store, they are $2.50 a piece. Not that this matters, because I think money grows on trees I love them so much that I am willing to pay $5.00 for artichokes and $7.00 for avocados. I have no idea where all of my money is going.

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These are beauties. ‘Round these parts you don’t see such elegant artichokes.

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You’d think I lived in a remote area of town. I don’t. 

 

 

 

I do this one of two ways. This time, I cut the top off of the artichoke before boiling.

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Sometimes I do it after. I believe after is the best way, in order to keep the artichoke from browing. But I have never had that problem, so I do it my way.

I am such a rebel.

 

 

 

The prickly leaves should be trimmed off.

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Unless you enjoy cuts on your tongue and cheek.

 

 

 

Hey, some people do. You may like that kinda’ thing.

I’m not judging.

 

 

 

You can see I was practicing my karate chopping skills and took off a huge hunkin’ chunk of the bottom left artichoke.

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Don’t do that. Please don’t follow my lead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I let them drain for about 5-10 minutes. It can be done longer, but I am extremely impatient.

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Chances are, those that know me and are reading are thinking ‘No! She is definitely not impatient at all.’

 

 

 

 

I have talked about panko before. I adore panko. My lobster mac adores panko.

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You should, too. It is nice.

 

 

 

This is how I created the stuffing for the artichokes.

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Otherwise known as – a myocardial infarction in a saucepan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The panko and cheese create an incredible stuffing.

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Toasted, cheesy, and crispy – yet soft. Remember that time I wished I could eat breading as a meal? This is one of those times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The artichokes need to be reallllly pulled apart to get the stuffing inside.

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Do you think I didn’t take a couple spoonfuls for myself?

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You don’t even know me.

 

 

 

If you really knew me, you’d know I ate quarter-cupfuls of the mix.

 

 

 

Isn’t this incredible?

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I dumped a bit of water in the bottom of my small baking dish. I love the ‘casserole dishes for two.’ I have one from pampered chef.

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Unfortunately, a casserole that can actually fit in the ‘casserole dish for two,’ only feeds me. And then, I need to make a dish for my husband in a ‘casserole dish for six.’ That should satisfy him.

 

 

 

 

 

Check out the stuffed, baked artichokes.

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If you are not familar with eating the ‘meat’ from the leaves, you simply pluck a leaf, and scrape from the top down with your teeth. Buttery, toasted, cheesy stuffing included.

 

 

 

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Stuffed Artichokes

4 artichokes

1/4 cup olive oil + 1 tablespoon

1/4 cup butter

1/3 cup panko bread crumbs

3 peeled garlic cloves

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375.

Cut stems off of artichokes. Place upside down in a large pot and fill with water. Boil for 20 minutes. Artichokes should be submerged in water, so you may need to place a bowl or other object on top.

Remove artichokes from pot. Let drain upside down for 10 minutes. Cut off the top 1/2-1 inch of artichoke. Trim remaining leaf tips if sharp. 

In a small saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1/8 cup butter. Add chopped garlic, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, and any other fresh herbs or seasons you desire. Stir until mixture comes together. It will most likely be dry, so add the remaining oil and butter. Add in the parmesan cheese, a squirt of freshly squeezed lemon juiced, and stir until lightly golden brown.

Pull apart artichoke leaves and spoon mixture evenly inside. Place artichokes in a baking dish and add 1 inch of water to the bottom.

Bake for 15 minutes uncovered. Place foil over the artichokes and bake another 25 minutes. 

Serve with clarified butter and a dish to discard leaves.

 

 

 

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Remember when I made Whole Wheat Pumpkin Gnocchi’s??

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cinde from Gluten Free Taste of Home made Gluten Free Pumpkin Gnocchi’s for all of you gluten-free peeps out there. Check out her site, and try out her recipe!

 

 

 

Also, a HUGE shout out to Seth from Boy Meets Food for spending alot of time with me yesterday regarding my wordpress issues.

 

 

 

 

And if you are craving more buttery, sugary goodness, follow How Sweet It Is on Twitter and Facebook.

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(I’m having some wordpress formatting issues (spacing between photos and lines) that no one has been able to figure out – I apologize if the formatting of this post is goofy!)


I think the title says it all, but could there be a more fabulous combination?

 

 

Well, assuming you like pears. And figs. And gorgonzola.

 

A lot of people are not fond of all 3 said foods.  Maybe I should stop while I’m ahead. 

 

 

I LOVE pears, figs, and am more than passionate about gorgonzola. 

 

 

You may be thinking ‘is there a food she does not like?’

Why, yes. Yes, there is.

 

 

It would be vegetables. 

All vegetables. Except for corn. Which is, like, a fake vegetable.

 

 

 

This was one of the juiciest pears I have found in a long time.

 

 

I chopped it up, snuck multiple bites, pouted because I couldn’t just eat the entire thing, the threw it in a small dish with some sugar and cinnamon.

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Crumbled gorgonzola.

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I could eat this as my entree and dessert. Who am I kidding? I already do.

 

 

 

 

One of my most favorite foods on the planet.

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Fresh, juicy figs.

I also enjoy dried figs. I don’t discriminate.

 

 

 

 

The incredible fig spread I bought last week at Whole Paycheck Foods.

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The pear, figs, and gorgonzola went into a ramekin.

I only added the figs and gorgonzola once the pears were roasted, and allowed it to roast for 5 more minutes.

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Truth be told, it really could be eaten like this. The juiciness of the roasted pears combined with the soft, pungent gorgonzola creates a world of flavor.

 

 

But as much as I love it alone, I love my pants tightening around my waist more, and added some flaky empty-calorie-filled puffed pastry.

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I know you think I’m joking.

I’m not.

 

 

Just call me by my new nickname – ’puffy pastry’.

 

 

Serve it with fresh figs.

And crispy, flaky layers topped with fig spread.

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Roasted Pear, Figs and Gorgonzola Puffed Pastry

1 large bartlett pear

3 fresh turkish figs

2 tablespoons gorgonzola

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon fig preserves

1 sheet Pillsbury puffed pastry.

Preheat oven to 400.

Thaw puffed pastry according to directions. Once thawed, place in oven and cook according to directions – about 15 minutes. Once cooled, slice pastry into squares.

Chop up pear and place in ramekin. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Roast at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes.

Chop figs into quaters. Once you remove the roasted pear from the oven, cover with chopped figs and gorgonzola. Place back in the oven for 5 minutes.

Spread fig preserves on 1 side of 2 puffed pastry squares. On a third square, spread both sides with fig preserves. Assemble one square on plate, fig preserves-side up. Place spoonful of pear, fig and gorgonzola mixture in middle of square. Top with 2-spread-sided square. Place on another spoonful of pear mixture. Top with 3rd puffed pastry square, fig preserves-side down.

Serve with fresh figs.

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I am slowly increasing pants sizes…

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…one cup of gorgonzola…

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…at a time.

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Do you know any good personal trainers?

 

 

Oh wait. I am one.

 

 

The gravy stain on my shirt and popped-off buttons caused me to forget.

 

 

I am staging a gorgonzola-free intervention. With myself.

 

 

And my pants.

(Become a How Sweet fan on Facebook!)

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Chunky Fire-Roasted Chili.

Here in Pittsburgh the mornings and evenings are chilly, yet the temperature during the day is reaching about 65.

 

 

Still perfect chili weather, in my opinion.

 

 

 

Sometimes I make chili with ground turkey, and sometimes I use beef. I’ve also mixed turkey, chicken AND beef. That is delish.

 

I wanted to partake in the chili-eating, and was craving some good ole’ ground beef.

 

 

I wear the pants in this house.

 

 

(I’m shakin’ in my boots as I type those words.)

 

 

 

 

I used about 3lbs of organic 92/8 ground beef.

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Chopped up some veggies.

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And found nice, huge chunks of mold inside the red pepper we had just got at the store.

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Don’t you hate when that happens??

 

 

 

 

 

 

I rescued the no-mold sections.

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Which is actually surpising, since I served my husband tacos with tortillas that expired on August 25th last week. I checked them out again this weekend and they were covered in spots of black and green mold.

 

 

I guess he was so hungry, he overlooked that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chopped up a few cloves of garlic, which I think is oh, so fun.

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It all went into a giant pot with some olive oil. I took a picture, but just accidentally deleted it. I am lazy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I seasoned the beef with sea salt and pepper.

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And threw it into the pot.

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We do like our chili chunky (like my other soups), so I broke up the beef and tried to leave some larger chunks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The chili sauce base.

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 Tomato puree, diced tomatoes, and fire-roasted tomatoes. Yum.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t use any seasoning packets – I prefer to do it myself.

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Crushed red pepper, cocoa chili powder, smoked paprika, chili powder, and cumin.

 

 

 

While I love doing the seasoning my way, I always end up doing different things each time. I guess that is the beauty of it.

 

 

 

 

 

At about noon, I decided it was time for this.

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For the chili, of couse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Ok, maybe not.

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But I did add some to the chili. It was thirsty.

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I used a LARGE can of kidney beans. I’m talking, HUGE. They went in after the base sauce.

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My first round of seasonings added.

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I’m noticing my pictures are a bit blurry. I think my camera is on it’s last leg. I am devastated. I love my camera. I don’t want to have to buy a new one.

 

 

I’d rather buy 5 inch pumps.

 

 

 

Because I don’t have any. I swear. 

 

 

 

 

I let my chili simmer for about 6-8 hours.

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Of course, there were many tastings withing those 6-8 hours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Including a few bowls for my husband.

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Topped with smoked cheddar. My all-time favorite cheese. Along with gouda, asiago, gruyere…

 

 

Does it get any better?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chunky Fire-Roasted Chili

3 lbs organic, grass fed 92/8 ground beef

1/2 sweet onion, finely chopped

1 small green pepper, chopped

1 small red pepper, chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup red wine

2 large cans tomato puree

1 large can diced tomatoes

1 large can of fire-roasted tomatoes

1 extra-large can of kidney beans

1 small can of tomato paste

1/4 cup chili powder

4 tablespoons cumin

1 tablespoon cocoa chili powder

1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

 

Heat a large pot on medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and the chopped onion, peppers and garlic. Saute until vegetables are soft.

Season ground beef with salt and pepper. Add to pot and break apart with a wooden spoon. Let brown. Add one cup of red wine and continue to saute and stir for about 3 minutes.

Add tomato puree, diced tomatos, fire-roasted tomatoes and kidney beans. Stir and add tomato paste.

Add chili powder, cocoa chili powder, cumin, cayenne, and smoked paprika. Stir and let simmer for 30 minutes. Taste and add more seasoning if needed.

Simmer for 2-8 hours.

 

 

 

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