Leek and artichoke bread pudding

January 23, 2011 § 21 Comments

We all have something I like to call “the wanting monster.” It’s the little thing inside of us that will barely ever let us be fully content, even if we’ve just received a wonderful gift or had the most phenomenal day. After a brief sojourn of abundance we start to get this creeping feeling, stealing in, tugging at the corners of our minds, trying to convince that something is still missing, even if that thing is only the fact that a beautiful moment can’t last forever. And then we start wanting. More recognition, more control, more money, more toys, a smaller nose, curlier hair, slimmer thighs, bigger muscles… you name it, it can be “wanted after.”

I won’t even get started on the intangibles my wanting monster frequently has me spinning in circles over. But, when it comes to concrete “stuff,” luckily – since I only have a staggeringly small grad student income – my wanting monster isn’t too horribly active. Dangle designer shoes or bags in front of it and it will lumber off to go find a corner to nap in. Roll in fancy cars or high tech gadgets and it will give a loud snore and roll over, completely uninterested. Tempt it with exciting outdoor gear and it might perk up its shaggy head for a moment, intrigued, but it will shortly lie back down again, feeling happy enough with the gear it already has. But oh, show me some lovely dishes or other beautiful kitchenware, and look out! The wanting monster will come crashing in, her eyes glinting with desire. I simply adore beautiful dishes and linens! Even just to look at! Joel, being very handy – a trait that befuddles and amazes my family to no end, since we are not people who build things, we are people who break things – has built us some massive storage cubbies, and already they are half taken up by my swelling collection of colorful dishes and cloths and silverware. (My total adoration of food photography has only been making my dish-lust worse, though at the same time, it sort of justifies it. Maybe? I hope. Let’s just say that it does…) « Read the rest of this entry »

Summer squash and artichoke caponata

July 6, 2010 § Leave a comment

I have found a new activity to add to my list of favorite summer activities!  Other favorites include: distracting myself from runs and hikes to pick berries, powering various boats via paddles, drinking cold things while sitting in the sun (or shade, depending on the temperature), jumping up in down in the water while singing a little happy song to myself, having sing-alongs on the porch, scrambling on sun warmed rocks, and eating far more ice cream than can possibly be good for me.  My newfound activity is watering the vegetable garden with our hose.  It has to be with our hose, or else with one that is similarly leaky, because an important aspect of the enjoyableness of the whole thing is achieved by getting doused by the spray from around the nozzle, and eventually finding yourself quite as watered as the garden.   You see (I’m sure some of you are seeing this far more clearly than others), it appears that the summer has taken a double-dog dare to be as scalding hot as possible for as long as possible, just to see what we’ll do. And, I’m finding that pretty much the only way to survive is by frequently submerging, spraying, dousing, or in other words, soaking myself with lots of cold water.  Oh, and I also find myself daydreaming about freezing myself (probably naked!) into an ice cube. « Read the rest of this entry »

Midweek, midday artichoke and eggplant salad

February 10, 2010 § Leave a comment

I don’t think I can adequately express my undying gratitude to ‘blank canvas’ foods and dishes.  You know, the kind where it provides a base, and you can just sprinkle with this, dollop with that, add a handful of chopped whatever, and serve.  Things like omelets or scrambles, quesadillas, stir fries, soups, and salads.  They’re like the dumping grounds of foods.  Except way more positive and edible than that.  How about, they’re like loving grandmotherly foods, waiting with open arms to accept whatever you have to add to them.

Salads, in addition to having achieved this reputation as healthy meal extraordinaire or carb counter’s best friend, are amazingly willing receptacles for other ingredients.  All it takes is a good salad dressing and you can tie together salad greens with almost any other vegetable, meat, cheese, nut, fruit, legume, or cooked grain you can produce!  In the summer I like to throw a gratuitously huge spectrum of chopped fresh vegetables into my salads – no simple lettuce salad for me, thank you!  In the winter, on the other hand, most of the vegetables I have around require cooking.  But that doesn’t mean they can’t go into a salad.  I make a lot of roasted vegetables because my general belief is, if it’s not best fresh, then almost any vegetable is better roasted.  So, I often have the odds and ends of leftover roasted veggies, and these (or sautéed vegetables) are a perfect addition to a salad.  Which is how I ended up with this deliciously Mediterannean-y roasted eggplant and artichoke salad for lunch.  I had leftover roasted eggplant from one pasta dish and leftover artichoke hearts from another, so woopsy! Onto a bed of spinach they went, along with a stray half tomato that was totally non-seasonal and therefore not particularly good, but did add lovely color. « Read the rest of this entry »

Ricotta gnocchi with goat cheese and artichoke sauce

February 3, 2010 § 2 Comments

It is February in Boston.  It is incessantly grey.  Moldy grey.  Grey beyond grey.  It is during short grey days like these that I am so very appreciative of simply having supper with people.  Whether it’s just Joel and me, or dinner with friends, that little evening ritual of sitting in each other’s company and sharing a meal together really keeps me going.  This weekend we were lucky enough to have dinner with friends both Saturday and Sunday (especially lucky because we’re painting the kitchen, which is going at about the rate of cold molasses, and it was pretty out of commission on Saturday).  On Saturday we were treated to the most spectacular meal!  Our friend Jamie must have spent the entire day in the kitchen.  Maybe the day before too.  While we sat like lumps – albeit talkative, appreciative, hungry lumps – he paraded out pizzas, artfully topped with creative combinations of fine cheeses, greens, and nuts; homemade sweet potato ravioli with brown butter, crème fraiche, and prosciutto; and dense, decadent chocolate pots de crème dribbled with freshly made caramel sauce, dollopped with caramel whipped cream, and dusted with just a hint of fleur de sel.  I mean seriously!  Wow!  Thank goodness we at least we brought a nice bottle of wine.  I decided right then and there a) I might just refuse to leave, or at least show up every evening for the rest of my life demanding to be fed, b) his wife is really lucky she has a fast metabolism, c) I really need (not want, need) to buy The French Laundry Cookbook, d) there’s really something to putting a lot of time and care into preparing food for friends.  Although the meal was transcendently delicious because the combination of ingredients and preparation were so perfectly executed, I am absolutely convinced that it also tasted that good because it had been sprinkled with the fairy dust of care. « Read the rest of this entry »

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing entries tagged with artichoke at Five And Spice.