Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Artichokes, Acapulco style

I am back from California. It was a very quick five days of laughter, bonding with family, and meeting new friends. My sister, Michele, in addition to having family that loves her very much, has a wonderful community of friends who support and love her. She's one special lady!

She just let me loose in her kitchen. You have to love that. My only concern is that she'll be able to find things that I put away. It never goes back into the same spot you found it. Sorry!
My sister had some artichokes that I couldn't wait to get my hands on. The size of the artichokes in California always make me so happy. They are beautiful orbs that I can't wait to stuff. Our family usually stuffs them with meat, and they are insanely delicious. I'll make those another day. These are going to be stuffed with vegetables. .
While traveling with friends in Acapulco we had the opportunity to dine at restaurant Kookaburra. Our friends Mariann and Michael ordered the stuffed artichokes as an appetizer. I was offered a taste, and immediately knew that when I got home I would try to make these! We prodded and bribed the waiter to give us hints as to how they were made.  With the language barrier I don't know if I totally understood him, we did get the "secret" Worcestershire Sauce as one ingredient,  but I do know tastes and this is my version of Kookaburra Stuffed Artichokes.
Start by cleaning the artichokes. I cut off the stem, and peeled them. Squeeze a little lemon juice on them so they don't discolor so fast.
I also chopped some zucchini, scallions, also known as green onions, a red onion, parsley, the artichoke stems, garlic, and tomatoes. If we had a sweet red pepper, and a carrot I would have added them as well.
Chop everything very fine and in a large bowl combine the vegetables with some salt and pepper, worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, a sprinkle of breadcrumbs, and some grated cheese. There are really no measurements of the ingredients, I just keep chopping until I have enough to stuff the artichokes, and I  keep tasting until I get the desired flavors. This is really so good you could just eat the stuffing and forget about stuffing the artichokes!

I cut the pointy tops of the artichoke, and gently manipulate them so the leaves open up a little so I can put the stuffing all around the artichoke. I didn't remove the choke ( I do like to do that sometimes)
After stuffing all the artichokes I put them into the biggest pot I could find and steamed them on top of the stove, adding a little bit of water to the bottom of the pot. The water came up to an inch on the artichokes. These were a little crowded...and I like to do them this way because as they cook they can open up and you can loose some of your stuffing. Probably not technically correct, but the end result is technically fabulous! 
I then drizzled the artichokes with some extra virgin olive oil, and let them cook until they were tender. These were done in about 20 minutes.
I served them on a dish and drizzled a little bit of balsamic vinegar on each artichoke.  These made a lovely lunch for us. 
I hope that you will try these. They are delicious and worth the all the chopping! I promise!

Buon Appetito

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