Stuffed Artichokes

Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 February 2011 09:43 Written by Flax Tuesday, 22 February 2011 05:21

Photo Credit, Gail Saks

This recipe is probably a little more time-consuming than most of my recipes, it is definitely worth it though.  For those of you who would like to make it but time is an issue, I recommend baking the artichokes, with the chokes still in and serving the pesto sauce on the side.  While it is not as good as the recipe below,  it works, and it takes much less time.

In the recipe below I stuff the artichokes with a pesto made with basil, garlic and pine-nuts.  In last weeks blog I discussed the health benefits of artichokes so in this blog I will talk about basil. 

The word basil comes from the Greek word for king – ‘basileum’, either because basil oil was used to anoint the king or because the smell of basil is fit for a king’s house.  Basil is used therapeutically to treat digestive disorders and respiratory infections.  Basil’s ability to help a with stomach aches is due to the antispasmodic qualities.  It is also a decongestant which explains it’s ability to help open the breathing passages.  My favorite use for basil is for its cephalic qualities.  Like rosemary, basil has a clarifying effect on the brain.  I associate this with the mucus decongestant qualities which open up the breathing passages and increases oxygen flow to the brain.

No matter the reason why you chose to use basil, always remember to feel like royalty when you eat it. 

Ingredients:

  • 6 artichokes
  • 1 bunch basil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp pine-nuts
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius.

Cut off the top third of the artichoke and level the base.  Blanch the artichokes in boiling water for 2-5 minutes.  Remove from the water, pull out the choke and scoop out the thorns with a spoon.  Arrange the artichokes in a dutch oven and pour the water into the bottom to prevent the pot from burning.

Roast the pine nuts for 2-3 minutes until golden.  Place with the remaining ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth.  Use a spoon to fill the artichokes with the pesto.  Cover the dutch oven and bake for 1 hour.

Serve warm.

Serves 6.

Enjoy!

Photo Credit:  Gail Saks

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Artichoke Hearts and Fava Bean Stew

Last Updated on Monday, 5 December 2011 12:18 Written by Flax Wednesday, 16 February 2011 03:16

Artichokes are not one of the most attractive vegetables.  They are strange-looking, they have thorns, and most of the vegetable is inedible.  I guess their saving grace is that they are absolutely delicious.  While most of us are willing to put up with the thorny exterior in order to access the sweet heart at the center of the artichoke, surprisingly enough, most of the nutrients are located in the thorny leaves.

Artichokes are a member of the thistle family.  Milk thistle is a purple thorny weed that has wonderful healing properties.  Like the thistle, the artichoke is best known for its ability to cleanse the liver and the gall bladder.   The artichoke stimulates bile production, lowers blood pressure, reduces cholesterol, detoxifies and fights free radicals.   Artichokes can be help with any digestive disorder, including Crohn’s disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and Gallstones.

Since the recipe below uses only the heart of the artichoke, and the leaves have the best of the healing properties, I suggest making a tea from the discarded leaves.  Remove a few of the artichoke’s leaves, add them to a pot of boiling water and simmer for 5 minutes.  Drink hot or cold.

Artichokes and fava beans appear in the Israeli market in the winter and spring.  While I always recommend using fresh food for better flavor as well as for better nutrition, shelling the fava beans and removing the artichoke leaves is extremely time consuming .  For those of you who lack time or child labor, be aware that this dish is extremely quick if you chose to use both the frozen fava beans as well as the frozen artichoke hearts.   Additionally, while the recipe below is vegan, this dish goes very nicely with either lamb or beef.  I might add either shoulder of lamb or meatballs to make a scrumptious main course for Shabbat.  To do so, simply add the meat to the pot along with the rest of the ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 bunch parsley
  • 1/2 bunch coriander
  • 1 tomato
  • olive oil
  • 6 artichokes
  • 1 cup fava beans
  • 1 tsp pickled lemon
  • 1 cup water
  • turmeric
  • salt and pepper

Remove the leaves and the choke of the artichoke.  Put the artichoke hearts in a bowl of water with lemon juice to prevent them from turning brown.

Using a food processor, puree the onions, garlic, tomato and herbs.  Oil the bottom of a sauce pan with a tight lid.  Put all of the ingredients into the pot and bring to a boil.  Simmer covered for 5 minutes and then remove the cover.   Cook on a low flame for about 45 minutes or until all the water has boiled out.  Stir occasionally during the cooking  to prevent the bottom of the dish from burning.

Serves 4- 6.

Serve hot on a bed of rice.

Enjoy!

Photo credit:  <p><a href=”http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=1539″>Image: xedos4 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net</a></p>

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Artichoke Hearts with Fresh Fava Beans

Last Updated on Wednesday, 7 July 2010 12:21 Written by Flax Wednesday, 7 July 2010 12:16

This dish is super simple, especially if you make it with frozen produce. If you use fresh artichokes it will take a few minutes more but it is worth the effort. The fava beans or ful as they are known in the middle east can be replaced with lima beans.

Ingredients:

olive oil
10 artichoke hearts, cut in to similar in size to the fava beans
300 gr. fresh or frozen fava beans
2 tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup water
5 cloves of garlic, diced
2 tbsp pickled lemon
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cumin (optional)
Atlantic grey sea salt
pepper

Heat the oil in a deep pot with a lid. Add the ingredients and bring to a boil. Cook covered for 15 minutes. Remove the lid and boil out the water over a medium flame until you remain with a thick sauce.

Serve over rice or with pita.

Enjoy!

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