Grilled Artichokes

Grilled Artichokes | The Kitten Kitchen

Sung to the tune of “O Tannenbaum

::clears throat::

Oh, artichokes.
Oh, artichokes.
I dip you in some butter.

Oh, artichokes.
Oh, artichokes.
I dip you in some butter.

You fill me up in summertime.
I eat you in a bunch-a bites.

Oh, artichokes.
Oh, artichokes.
I dip you in some butter.

If you don’t know already, now you do—I, Daniele Cusentino, love artichokes. Boiled, stuffed, grilled, you-name-it, I’ll eat it. I especially love artichoke hearts, and if there were an award available to people that can eat a jar in one sitting, I would be a contender.

Since we’re coming up on a long celebratory weekend here in the good ol’ USA, I figured I would share a grilled, easily transportable version of artichokes to take wherever your family units will be gathering.

Disclaimer: Be prepared to answer a few questions since people tend to get weird around artichokes. It’s only because they look strange, and people aren’t quite sure how to eat them. Teach them, you shall. And if you’re clueless, too, that’s okay! You’ll be prepared to field all the inquiries after reading this entire blog post.

Get grillin’ after the jump

Tomato Soup

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This soup is award-winning. Seriously. One time I won a soup-off with this recipe. And do you know the secret? Nope. Me neither. It’s just good. Oh, and instead of cream, I use bread. That could be the secret. I don’t know. Judge for yourself.

So, hmmm…anything interesting happen while making this? I drank mimosas. Chris and I listened to crappy Christmas music and had a conversation about U2 and the amazing way Bono yells, “BAAAYBEEE PLEASE COME HOOOOME” during the band’s version of “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).” It’s pretty epic. Don’t believe me? Click and watch, around the 1:57 mark. The man is a master at adding beautiful harmonies where they currently didn’t exist before. Okay, enough about U2. Back to the noms. Ugh, I hate when people say that. And “yummy.” Ick.

One bowl of mater soup, comin’ right up, after the jumpy jump

Stuffed Artichokes

Stuffed Artichokes

Artichokes are kind of a sentimental thing for me. My mother made them all the time throughout my childhood, and I sort of took it for granted — I didn’t realize that she was preparing a special thing. The first time I put a full artichoke in front of Chris, he wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. I think many people probably feel that way because they are sort of intimidating. So, how do you eat an artichoke?

Well, you boil them first, then the world is your oyster. Or, in this case, the artichoke is your oyster. Or the world is your artichoke? My mother, brother and I just dipped the leaves into a mixture of olive oil, garlic salt and red wine vinegar. We’d use our teeth to pull the tender leaf meat off, and then discard the pointy inedible ends onto a paper plate. We’d then pull the prickly parts out of the center and dig the heart out, placing it into the bowl of leftover oil and vinegar — this is the only part where you need a fork. We’d cut it into pieces and savor the best part (the goal, really) of the artichoke journey.  The end result is a mound of leaves on a dampened paper plate, but satisfied bellies were a common conclusion.

Artichokes are a springtime treat and shouldn’t be scary. I’ve never stuffed them before, and I’ve never really eaten them in any other way than what you just read above, so I was interested to see if I’d like them prepared otherwise.

Um, I did. A lot. And while Chris didn’t particularly enjoy the stink of the Gorgonzola cheese during preparation, he also enjoyed them.

Stuff your own artichokes after the jump!

Kale Chips

Kale Chips

Como say what? Kale chips? Like, as in, kale? That weird leafy green stuff that looks tough and, well, green and leafy?

Yes, that kale. They will from here forth be referred to as kale-tato chips, thanks to my husband Chris.

A couple months ago, I heard about this new kitchen phenomenon. Apparently, a bunch of people are coating kale leaves with spices and oils, baking them and eating them in the fashion of potato chips. Except these are healthy because they are kale. I have to be honest, I thought this would be unappetizing. I put it in the back of my mind. Then, a couple weeks later, I saw it on my favorite food blog, Smitten Kitchen. Then, I heard that my friend made them. I also read a bazillion comments about how awesome they really taste. Suffice it to say, I broke down and made a batch. Boy, am I glad I did.

These things are easy to make (four basic ingredients!), they taste good and they’re good for you. You finally have a reason to buy this stuff at the grocery store. I think most people are scared of it, or think, “When am I going to use this?” Now you know. And knowledge is power.

Seriously people. These things are so delicious. They crunch just like potato chips. They are crispy just like potato chips. My mind has been blown.

I tried two versions of this recipe. Just the basic version with olive oil, garlic powder and salt. I also tried a more seasoned version to step it up a notch. As Emeril would say, “Bam!” This is the recipe for the basic chips, but some seasoning tips are after the directions. Both were AMAZING.

Please note that a little bit goes a long way here. You’ll look at that huge leafy kale and think that you need more than the measurements in the ingredients, but trust me. The oil is sufficient to coat, and the salt is plentiful. I actually even thought these were a little too salty. I can’t believe Mrs. Salt Lover just typed that, but she means it this time.

See what Popeye is missing out on after the jump…