Artichoke Lemon Spread

Done

Silence is deafening, they say.

And, by the same token, words can be weapons.

I’ve been having a terrible time getting started blogging again. And I really do miss it. I have at least 20 recipes from 2014 that I never blogged. It isn’t that I don’t want to .. or that I don’t think about what I’d like to write about. I have still been cooking up a storm (get it, get it, haha), photographing dishes, getting them ready. I hadn’t been quite able to put a finger on the reason. AND THEN …

… while listening to This American Life one fine (SNOWY) Saturday, there was an entire segment with Lindy West on just the topic of internet trolls. I suddenly realized that a situation that had happened to me beginning in November of 2013 and finally ending at the end of February 2014 had emotionally and artistically crippled me. What had happened to Lindy was slightly different, but the sentiment was the same. At the beginning we agreed on one basic tenet … DON’T FEED THE TROLLS … which is why I never made the hurtful comments public, nor ever responded to them. Linda realized that silence is what best feeds a troll, giving them more power, giving them exactly what they want. Silencing the person at whom they aim their vitriol.

I don’t think … or at least I truly hope … the people leaving snide comments or sending snarky tweets realize the damage they do to the people they campaign against. While cloaked in the perceived comfort of anonymity, perhaps even giggling, the person reading these messages is hurt, cut to the quick, and left wondering WHY. Why me?

Just as an aside, let’s just touch on the illusion of anonymity on the internet. For this is truly an illusion, there’s no such thing as anonymity on the internet. Everything and anything you put out into the universe over the internet really does go out into the universe … FOREVER.

For me, dear readers, this is just food. Nice photos, good recipes (I hope), sharing with a community of like-minded foodies. There’s no political agenda, I’m not skinning cats, and I’m not polluting the world by burning vast amounts of fossil fuels to get my own point across. I write this for me. It’s nice to have readers, but even without a single reader, this would still be something I do for me. A form of expression. Coupling three of my joys in life … cooking, photography and writing.

Sadly, there had certainly been fear and a bad taste left in my mouth regarding blogging, something I really love to do. The thought that my personal words and thoughts could be used against me again, by someone who knew nothing about me had proven to be daunting.

I keep coming back to WHY. Why me? What did I do to cause this and what could I have done to avoid it?

I thought about giving up my blog entirely. I thought about starting a brand new blog. After listening to Lindy, realizing I wasn’t alone in this dilemma, I decided to sit down,w rite this post, get it all off my chest and continue soldiering on. I’m not giving up what I like to do. I’m not changing myself or what I write for acceptance. This is who I am. I have been basically the same person since I popped out of the womb (thanks Mom & Dad). I live my life trying to leave no carnage in my wake, treating people the way I would like to be treated.

While it still smarts, I challenge all internet trolls and stalkers out there … get to know the subject of your attack. You may just find you like them. Think before you push that button … if someone did this to me, how would I feel.

Linda has given me renewed strength where my public, blogging life is concerned. I will not allow someone else to rule my life, I will not live in fear.

I have come too far in my life, given up too much to be where I am right now to be stopped by anyone or anything.

Hello, World, I’m back and hopefully better than ever.

You’ll have to pardon a number of ‘off-season’ posts while I catch up. Thank you.

So with that in mind …

While poking around online for some yummy before dinner nibbles, and being tired of the ones I was using over and over and over again, I came across this recipe for Artichoke Lemon Pesto from Ciao Chow Linda.

It’s fabulous! It’s easy!

Vegetarian, filling, slightly tangy.

Everything goes into the food processor and with a whirl is finished!

Try it, you’ll be hooked.

  • 1  14-ounce can of artichoke hearts  in water (unseasoned)
  • 1/4 C parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 C finely chopped parsley
  • a few small sprigs of thyme, minced
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 t lemon peel, finely minced
  • 2 t lemon juice
  • 3 T olive oil
  • salt, pepper

Mince the parsley and thyme roughly with the garlic and lemon peel. Place the artichoke hearts, the parsley and thyme and all the remaining ingredients into a food processor. Pulse or whir until everything is chopped finely and blended. Taste and adjust seasonings accordingly.

NOTE: I roughly chopped the parsley, thyme and garlic. I mean, it’s going in the food processor, after all. As for the lemon peel, I used a zester instead of peeling and didn’t need to mince it further.

 

Christmas Feasting

So much to do, so little time – especially when you end up having to work a half day on Christmas Eve. Dinner needs to be simple and easy to put together, but still have a wow factor to it.

Who better to help in this situation than Martha? Well, actually, not Martha, but the dream team from Everyday Food Magazine (I am still not quite over the press cookie debacle!). When the December 2009 Everyday Food Magazine arrived on my doorstep, my entire meal beckoned to me from the pages within!

While we opened presents we nibbled on home-made pate and smoked salmon.

And then came the feasting!

Rib Roast with Herb Crust

  • 2 T sour cream
  • 2 t horseradish
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 c fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 c thyme, rosemary, or sage
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 2 t vegetable oil
  • 2 1/2 pound Rib eye roast room temperature

NOTE: I used Pepperidge Farm white bread for the bread crumbs. The original recipe called for a 2 1/2 pound roast ro serve EIGHT people. It would have to be eight tiny people.  I made a six pound roast and there was enough for everyone, plus seconds and left over for another meal for three people.  Better to have too much than to be damned to eternal starvation by my ancestry of over-cookers.

Preheat oven to 400. In a small bowl, combine sour cream and horseradish; season with salt and pepper. In another bowl, combine breadcrumbs, olive oil, herbs, and garlic, season with salt and pepper.

NOTE: Because I slightly more than doubled the size of the roast, I doubled the sour cream mixture and the breadcrumb mixture. 

Heat vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-heat. Season roast with salt and pepper; sear roast until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer to cutting board. Spread sour cream mix on one side of roast, top with breadcrumb mixture, pressing slightly so the breadcrumbs stick. Return roast to skillet or rimmed baking sheet. Place in oven. Cook until medium-rare or 140 degrees; 40 minutes. Let rest 15 minutes before slicing.

NOTE: I seared in a skillet, and then baked in a baking dish. I transferred the roast from the skillet to the baking dish and then added the crust. I just didn’t see the point of a carving board and dirtying another thing.  Again, my roast was much larger than the original recipe. I cooked the roast for 20 minutes per pound – 2 hours – and it was perfect.

Crispy Potato Roast

Preheat oven to 375° F.

  • 3 T melted butter
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 4 lbs russet potatoes, peeled
  • 4 shallots – peeled and slice lengthwise
  • 1/2 t red pepper flakes
  • 8 springs of thyme

Mix the melted butter with the olive oil. Brush onto bottom and sides of a round baking dish, mine was 8″.

NOTE: I missed this step the first time I made this and it really stuck to the bottom. Not a good idea.

Thinly slice the potatoes with a mandolin or slicer. I used a Kyocera Mandolin, I didn’t want to lug out the Cuisinart, and then have to put all the parts in the dishwasher. This was one little thing to put in the dishwasher.  As you slice each potato try to keep it stacked together, and then set it up lengthwise in the dish. Do this with all the potatoes. They will fit snuggly in the dish when you’re done. Tuck the shallot wedges in between the potato slices here and there. Sprinkle with coarse salt and red pepper flakes.  Brush the rest of the butter and oil mixture over the top of the potatoes.

NOTE: I poured the balance of the mixture over the top of the potatoes.

Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Add 8 sprigs of time and bake for 25 to 30 minutes longer.

NOTE: This was AMAZING! So easy to put together and it looks so spectacular.

Rose’s Baked Artichoke Hearts

 

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh curly leaf parsley
  • 2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (1/4 cup)
  • 2 ounces Pecorino Romano, grated (1/4 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon mixed dried herbs such as thyme, oregano, and savory, or Italian seasoning blend
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 3 packages (9 ounces each) frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and drained
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for baking dishes
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 lemons)
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine breadcrumbs, parsley, cheeses, herbs, and salt in a medium bowl, and season with pepper.

NOTE: I add toasted pignoli in as well. It just gives it a little crunch and a nice nutty flavor.

Brush oil inside of a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish. Spread artichokes into a single layer. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture over artichokes, pushing it into cracks between hearts. Tap bottom of dishes on counter to settle breadcrumb mixture.

NOTE: Original recipe calls for either two 4-cup, 9 1/2-inch ceramic baking dishes or one 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish.

Whisk oil, lemon juice and zest, and garlic in a small bowl. Drizzle dressing evenly over breadcrumb topping. Cover dishes with parchment, then foil, and bake for 30 minutes. Increase temperature to 375 degrees. Uncover, and bake until breadcrumbs are golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve immediately.

NOTE: I assembled this the night before and refrigerated. About an hour before I was going to start baking it I took it out of the fridge to come to room temperature.  This recipe was not from the December 2009 Everyday Food but from an old Martha Stewart magazine, but it is one of my favorites and comes from Everyday Food editor Lucinda Scala Quinn.

String Beans with Crispy Pancetta

The beginnings of this dish came from my friend Lori at All That Splatters. I simply ran out of time to add everything in so stuck with the beans and crispy pancetta. Crispy Pancetta and string beans – what could be bad? Simply boiled with garlic in salted water. A glug or two of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkling of pancetta that I fried crispy beforehand.

Glazed Chocolate Layer Cake

The best part about Christmas Eve dinner is not having to worry about dessert!

This fabulous cake also came out of the December 2009 Everyday Food and was decadent and light and a perfect complement to the dinner.

Thank you!