Friday, June 13, 2008

a kitchen of my own

I've moved.

I've left that dark four-bedroom place with the three roommates I never saw, and now I'm settled into a tiny studio with high ceilings and big windows. And a proper kitchen space.

It's a tiny kitchen space, but the gas(!) stove is full-size, with a proper oven, and the sink is decently-sized too. There's very little counter space, but I have a butcher block on the way.

And now I can cook whatever I want for dinner. I think I'm in the mood for artichokes.

Stuffed Artichokes with Blue Cheese and Hazelnuts

Despite appearances, this isn't a gluten-free recipe unless you have a source for gluten-free blue cheese. You could try substituting a creamy, nutty goat cheese, though I make no promises about the results.

(Allow one artichoke per person for a starter; two per person for a light meal. They are deceptively filling.)

I should explain something before we begin. The only reasons why you'd ever want to make stuffed artichokes are if you're trying to impress company, or you have masochistic tendencies. The process of preparing stuffed artichokes is a pain in the neck.

If all you care about is getting artichokes with blue cheese and hazelnuts, then the process is simple: Steam your artichokes. Melt your blue cheese, thin with milk, add chopped hazelnuts. Serve alongside as dipping sauce. Tuck in.

Of course, if you insist on doing things the hard way, it goes like this:

Take your artichokes, wash them, and cut the stems off at the base so that the artichokes sit on a flat surface without tipping over. Take a pair of scissors or kitchen shears, and cut off the thorny part of each leaf. When you get to the crown, just cut off the top quarter-inch entirely.

Next, part the leaves at the crown until you reach the leaves in the very middle, which are thin like flower petals and have unpleasantly sharp thorns. Try not to prick your fingers. (You won't succeed.) Take a teaspoon and scrape out these leaves, along with the choke. The choke is soft and furry. Try not to scatter fuzzy bits everywhere as you do the scraping. (You won't succeed at this, either.)

When you've finished scraping, the artichokes will have nice little hollows for stuffing. Give them a rinse to get rid of any stray fuzzy bits, then put a tablespoon or two of crumbled-up blue cheese in each hollow. Follow up with another tablespoon or two of chopped hazelnuts.

Place your artichokes in your steamer basket and cook until the leaves detach easily from the artichokes - about twenty-five to thirty minutes. Transfer the artichokes to plates or a serving platter. Serve.


Julie said...

Congratulations! Even better than not having roommates is having a kitchen you're not sharing.

I think artichokes are the perfect meal. Way to celebrate in your new kitchen.

Ann said...

Wow! A proper kitchen! Congratulations! And you celebrated with one of my very favorite foods.

ntsc the art of the pig said...

another lawyer/chef

ntsc the art of the pig said...

and another

Jen Dockter said...

This looks gorgeous, but I think I'll do it the low-maintenance way for me and the boy :) Maybe the fancypants place if we ever have an apt large enough to entertain people for such as dinner.

Kim said...

Oh I love your new kitchen Adele, it is so cute and I can't wait to see what comes out of it. I bet it feels just fantastic. The artichokes were lovely and most appropriate for your first dish in your new home.

adele said...

Julie - Definitely. Even if it does mean I can't blame anyone else if there are dishes in the sink. :P

Ann - Thank you !

ntsc the art of the pig - Thanks for the links.

Jen - The low-maintenance way is a lot more sensible. Artichoke fluff really does get everywhere.

Kim - It's quite exciting. The next challenge is getting all the basic equipment for it.

Virgin In The Volcano said...

Congrats on your new place!

adele said...


Ann said...

Well, for heaven's sake, what ELSE are you doing in your nice new kitchen????!

adele said...

I've been cooking delicious things I haven't blogged about because I've been too busy stocking the kitchen to get internet for my apartment. :P

wing said...

Gas stove and active ventilation?! That's actually pretty awesome. I have a bigger kitchen now, as I told you before. But the stove is still electric and the exhaust fan doesn't want to work. =(

Yulinka said...

Congrats! In a few days, I'm moving out of a great little studio apartment that's been my home sweet home for the past year (moving in with boyfriend). It, too, has a proper kitchen with a gas stove. I *loved* having my very own kitchen. It's nice to live with someone and all, but, man, will I miss having the kitchen all to myself.

Lisa Cornelius said...

Holy Moses! I am usually a purist when it comes to my favorite food, the artichoke. But this recipe might make me a heathen!

adele said...

Yess... come to the dark side. :)