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

Red Beans and Rice

Red Beans and Rice | The Kitten Kitchen

I crave red beans and rice a lot. You could serve it on a bed of poop, and I’d probably eat it. Gross, I know, but it had to be said.

The delicious, beautiful dish is typically served on Mondays in the Louisiana Creole community, which means I should probably move there so I can get my fix every week.

Alright, I’m not really going to move there. It’s too hot. So I took it upon myself to try to make my own. I’m going to be honest—it took a while. The beans really have to simmer for a long time in the liquids before they become creamy, but the end result is divine.

It’s also worth noting that a true Louisianian would probably scoff at this version, but I made it this way because tasso ham isn’t readily available in the Midwest. I could have added Andouille sausage, but I forgot to add it to my grocery list. I did, however, add a tip to make sure that you know when to add it if you prefer some sausage in your recipe.

After I just typed that last paragraph, I searched for tasso online in Cincinnati and found that you can reportedly purchase it at Findlay Market in Cincinnati. Duly noted, Internet, Duly noted.

So, anyway, I didn’t use sausage, but I used the other traditional ingredients, and it turned out awesomely. So, if you have time on a Monday evening, I recommend simmering some red beans on the stove. You can thank me later.

Get the recipe for Louis Armstrong’s favorite dish after the jump

Italian Meatloaf

Italian Meatloaf
Meatloaf, double beatloaf, I hate meatloaf. Sorry, Randy, but I think I have a recipe that might change your mind.

Also, I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I hate the word “loaf.” What a dumb word. It sounds so floofy and gross and sloppy. LOAAAFFFFF. Say it out loud. See? Isn’t it stupid? Ugh.

If you don’t like Italian-inspired foods, get out of my kitchen. Just kidding. Sort of. But really, if you don’t, try my other meatloaf recipe — the one that convinced me that meatloaf wasn’t just a block of ground beef with chunks of gross weird stuff in it.

Alright, while I’d love to continue on this discombobulated rant, I need you to go ahead and read how to make the best meatloaf I’ve ever tasted in my life. And I made it up. And I cooked it. And I’m always a little proud of myself during those moments.

Meatloaf will make you…JUMP! JUMP!

Veggie Stuffed Pancakes

Veggie Stuffed Pancakes

“What the what? I thought pancakes were for pats of butter and sugary maple syrup.”

That’s where you’re wrong, my friends.

Alright, I’ll admit, the first time I saw this recipe, I was enticed, but merely because it sounded weird, and quite frankly, not that great. Now I’m here to tell you that pancakes can be stuffed with veggies and cheese, and they will be delicious.

I first saw Giada make this on her show. I changed some things. For starters, I cut the recipe in half because her version is supposed to make 12 rolls (6 servings), but that seemed like too many, especially for something I wasn’t sure I’d like. I recommend making a small batch first to make sure you’re going to enjoy a ride on the veggie pancake train, and also because they are rich and very filling. Like, for reals filling.

For reals, for reals?

For reals.

Stuff some pancakes after the 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!

Lentil Soup

Lentil Soup

So, I started a blog. I’m actually not quite sure what I’m doing. I know that I play around in the kitchen a lot, and I got a bunch of new toys as wedding presents, so I figured this would be a good spot for me to keep track of the things I like to cook. I guess it’s a selfish thing, but if someone else ends up trying it out in their own kitchen and likes it, then that’s awesome. I guess this blog is self-serving, and it’s a self-esteem booster. Go me.

Today, in Cincinnati, it is raining. Thank you, Captain Obvious. Well, I am starving, and I didn’t feel like eating leftover pizza, so I pulled out my trusty lentil soup recipe that I concocted a couple years ago when my friend had surgery and I made soup for her. I also used my new favorite kitchen accessory — a 5-1/2 Qt. Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Round French Oven (thank you, Mikey B.). Dudes, if you do not have one of these and you love cooking, save up your allowance and buy one. It’s amazing, especially when you let things simmer in it for a couple hours.

Alright, so ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, I bring you my debut blog post and made-up recipe that is pretty freakin’ delicious….

The recipe is after the jump!