Monday, May 17, 2010

Sauteed Baby Artichokes

I had a craving for artichokes and we stopped at Wegmans on the way home from my in-laws this weekend.  We were wandering around the store looking at the Asian Wockery when, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a gorgeous 2 lb. box of baby artichokes!  I had to have them.  They were only $4.00 so I figured it wasn't a big deal.  I had no idea what to do with these babies so I did some research on google.  I found a recipe on  It looked great and gave me a chance to remove all the leaves and gunk because when I opened the plastic box I found out that some of the baby artichokes were moldy and black.  The recipe calls for Herbes de Provence.  I have heard of Herbes de Provence but I have never used them nor have I tried to find them in my local grocery store.  Naturally, the grocery stores in my podunk little town do not carry Herbes de Provence even though it says online that Herbes de Provence are "widely available."   I found a recipe to make your own Herbes de Provence but even that proved to be impossible.  I couldn't find a few of the ingredients.  I just made my own combination of the herbs that I had in my cabinet. Good luck finding it or lavender, chervil and powdered bay leaves in your grocery store.  Anyway, the artichokes turned out great.  I will try a little harder next time to find all the ingredients even if I have to drive all the way to the closest Wegmans in Timonium.

Sauteed Baby Artichokes Recipe


2 pounds baby artichokes

Bowl of water with 3 cups of water and juice from 2 fresh lemons (about 3 Tbsp) or equivalent amount of vinegar

1 cup of water

1/2 cup olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp lemon juice or balsamic vinegar

1 pinch of Herbes de Provence

1/2 teaspoon salt

Dash pepper

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (1/4 to 1/2 cup to taste)

1. Rinse the baby artichokes. Set out a bowl with 3 cups of ice-cold water; add the fresh squeezed juice from 2 lemons (about 3 Tbsp of lemon juice) or vinegar. Working on the artichokes one by one, cut off the stem to 1/4-inch from the base; peel back and remove the petals until only the top third of the cone tip is pale green green. Cut off the pale green tips. Trim off any remaining green from base of artichoke. Halve or quarter the artichokes, depending on their size and drop in the bowl of acidified water (to prevent discoloration).

2. Drain artichokes. In a large skillet, heat the artichokes and 1 cup of water to boiling. Cover and simmer 3-5 minutes , depending on the size of the artichokes. Drain well.

3. Using the same skillet, heat to medium high and add the olive oil. Add the artichokes, onions, garlic, and Herbes de Provence. Cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle on 1 Tbsp lemon juice or vinegar, salt and pepper. Put in serving bowl, sprinkle freshly grated Parmesan cheese on top.

Serves 4

Herbes de Provence

Prep Time: 5 minutes


• 1 tsp dried thyme

• 1 tsp ground rosemary

• 1 tsp summer savory

• 1/2 tsp lavender (optional but traditional)

• 1 tsp marjoram

• 1 tsp dried basil

• 1/2 tsp dried sage

• 1/2 tsp dried oregano


Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Crush slightly with a pestle or the back of a spoon. Store in an airtight container. Rub into meat,chicken or fish for a dry rub or combine with olive oil for a marinade.


The Creative Cook

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Blue Cheese Cheesecake

I went to another Wining Women event last night and I made a Gorgonzola Cheesecake. I know, it sounds crazy but the theme for the night was Wines With silly names, I thought Blue Cheese Cheesecake was kind of silly! It was really tasty though! I paired it with a ripe pear and made some candied walnuts. Try it as an appetizer. You won't regret it. Use good blue cheese or gorgonzola.

Gorgonzola Cheesecake
12 cloves roasted garlic (see below)
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
Cornmeal Crust (see below)
1 pound gorgonzola or blue cheese, room temperature
5 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
5 eggs, room temperature

Prepare Cornmeal Crust (recipe below)

To Make Filling: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and position rack in center of oven.

In a large bowl, place gorgonzola cheese and cream cheese; mix together until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, while beating to incorporate.

Pour the cheese filling into prepared Cornmeal Crust. Tap lightly on counter to remove air bubbles. Place roasted garlic cloves around the perimeter of the pan at equal distances.

Place cheesecake in center of middle oven rack. Bake for approximately 1 hour, or until internal temperature is 160 degrees with a cooking thermometer or until the center is almost set, but jiggles slightly when gently shaken. NOTE: Do not open the oven door during the first 30 minutes of baking as drafts can cause a cheesecake to fall or crack. Remove from oven and allow to cool on counter for at least 1 hour, after which you may either serve or store in the refrigerator.

Serve warm or at room temperature with toasted baguette bread or crackers.

To Serve later, store refrigerator up to 1 week. To reheat, simply slice and warm for 5 minutes in a 350 degree F oven.

Roasted Garlic: Peel the outer skin of the garlic only; leave garlic bulb whole. Slice 1/2-inch of the pointed end of the garlic bulbs. Pour 1/2 teaspoon olive oil over the top of each bulb and let it sink in between the cloves. Wait 2 minutes and then repeat with another 1/2 teaspoon olive oil over each garlic bulb. Cover and bake 1 hour or until cloves are browned at cool and remove cloves from head. Garlic may be stored in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for several days.

Cornmeal Crust

1-1/2 cups water
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1-1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon dried basil
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Grease a 10-inch springform pan.

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring water to a boil; stir in cornmeal, garlic, salt, and basil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Fold in parmesan cheese. Remove from heat and let cool 5 minutes.

Press warm cornmeal mixture onto the bottom of the springform pan. Smooth the surface and set aside.


The Creative Cook