Saturday, November 30, 2013

Stuffed Artichokes

Hippy Go Lucky Hoops
Somehow the holidays are here again. My favorite part about any holiday is always the nostalgia that I feel around those certain times of year. Whether it's memories of trick or treating, hunting for Easter eggs or the feeling I got as a kid when the house was all lit up with Christmas lights...I always feel really good thinking back to my childhood experiences with holidays. As I get older it gets harder to get home to spend time with family. Despite tons of rain, fog, and a bit of snow up north, my sister and I made it home the night before Thanksgiving and we were able to help my mom cook everything the next morning for our feast!

This was my first year making stuffed artichokes for my family. My mom has been making these for us my entire life. It's an Italian family tradition that she got from her Mom. I realized that 1. These artichokes are not cheap and 2. It is actually a bit of work to prepare these!

My stuffed artichoke success!!
To help document and explain the steps to make these, I borrowed some awesome photos from another blog. (Hippy go lucky hoops does not claim rights to the photos below...)

Step One: Rinse and soak artichokes in cold water. So that they are clean.

Step Two: My mom showed me how to trim the leaves so that the sharp top point wouldn't scratch anyone. Yes...these things can be dangerous.

Step Three: Cut and remove the stem..some people eat this part also (along with the heart...see spinach and artichoke fondue post for what to do with some yummy artichoke hearts...)

Step Four: Cut off the top part of the artichoke

Step Five: Open up the leaves as much as you can to prepare for the stuffing.

Step Six: Stuffing!! To make the stuffing~ Bread crumbs (homemade, Italian style, Panko, whatever is your favorite)

Mixture of grated Romano and Parmesan cheese
Dried parsley
Garlic powder
& drizzle of olive oil- for flavor (don't over do it!)

Put your artichoke right into the stuffing so that whatever falls out will be caught in the bowl. My Mom showed me how to fill the chokes pretty quickly using a spoon. She was a pro. I admire her skill!!!

Step Seven: Drizzle a bit more Olive Oil over the top of the stuffed bread crumbs. Cover with foil.

Step Eight: In a preheated oven (425 degrees) bake until a knife easily slides into the base of an artichoke, about 45 minutes. The artichokes are done if you can easily pull the "meat" off of the artichoke with your teeth. MmMmMm.

I have never met anyone that has stuffed artichokes for their holiday tradition. It feels unique and special to me. It was really cool making my own batch this year. The best part about artichokes is that they make great snacks for later. This year we completely forgot about the 'chokes until after we've had our fill of turkey and all the fixins. But later on after we had our nap and we ready for something to munch, these were perfect. Especially the last one that my sister and I shared after a night out drinking at the bar. ;)

What are some of your quirky family traditions? Food or not food!
Mom, how did I do? Did I miss any steps?! Love you!

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