Smells like Mud…

Gritty sidewalks yet to be swept, discarded Christmas trees scorched orange from the sun sit in alley ways, school children shiver in their brightly colored flip-flops as they walk to school and the intoxicating smell of mud. It’s Spring in the south end of Saint John.

 As I walked to work yesterday morning, I almost started to skip. The dewy breeze from the Bay, the just-warm sun and the return of bird song overwhelmed me. Not to worry, I managed to stay at an even pace with both feet on the ground despite my euphoria.

To celebrate Spring’s arrival, I prepared one of my favorite vegetables; artichokes, for dinner. There is something so ‘June Cleaver’ about these lovely edible thistles. No matter how laid back I try to make their presentation, artichokes always show up wearing pearls!

There are many web sites describing the how-to of artichoke cookery. If I was having guests over for dinner I would dig out the ‘choke’, but Ralph and I are happy to scrape away the fuzz as we eat.

Giant Globe Artichoke with French Vinaigrette

serves 2

Trim 2 globe artichokes

 Place in steamer for 30 minutes, then check to see if they are done.

In the mean time, prepare a simple vinaigrette

French Vinaigrette

1 clove of garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons best quality white wine vinegar

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

In a small bowl combine garlic, Dijon mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper

Whisk in olive oil until emulsified

Check your artichokes at 30 minutes, by trying to pull off one of the tough outer leaves. If it pulls away easily, they are cooked.

Remove from steamer and place in serving dishes. Open the artichoke up so that it resembles a blown open peony. Divide and pour the vinaigrette over and between the artichoke leaves.

Artichokes insist on interactive eating. They require work to remove individual leaves so you can scrape a tiny bit of vegetable flesh into your mouth. It is worth the effort to get to the prize!

If you have only ever eaten canned artichokes, it’s time to take the leap. Think of the taste of canned peas compared to the taste of new peas straight from the garden.

Same thing to the tenth power…

Thanks for reading and Happy Spring!