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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Someone's in the Kitchen with Ginger!!!

It's been a while since Miss Ginger shared one of her favorite childhood recipes from Momma G's repertoire, so she's going to show you how Momma G made stuffed artichokes!  These were a favorite of Baby Ginger, and he didn't get them very often for a couple of reasons.  First, Momma G would only make them when artichokes were in season. Even though you can find them year round, they often have been sitting and drying out for a long time, and Momma G said she wasn't going to go to the trouble to make them if they weren't going to be good!  There's the second reason we didn't get them very often- it takes a long time time to stuff all of that stuffing into each artichoke leaf!  Really, it's not a complicated process, but since Momma G was usually cooking for a least 5 hungry boys, plus a hungry husband and often some hungry old ladies,  stuffing a whole bunch of these could become quite an ordeal.  Momma had an old enamelware roaster that she used only for cooking artichokes, her "artichoke pot".  There wasn't anything special about it except that it was too shallow to cook a turkey, but it was big and flat and could hold a lot of artichokes.  You don't need a special pot, and if you're not cooking for an army, they aren't hard to make!

To find nice, fresh 'chokes at your grocer or farmer's market, look at the flesh inside the outer leaves, near the stem.  It should be bright green, and tender enough to yield to pressure from your fingernail.  If the insides of the leaves don't seem "meaty", skip them and wait for a fresher crop!  If the artichokes are too dry, you might as well make stuffed pine cones!

Once you get them home, slice off the stems near the base, creating a flat surface on which the 'choke will balance.  Next, lay each artichoke on it's side, and slice off the top third. Rub the cut areas with half a lemon to prevent browning, and trim the tips of the remaining leaves if they are sharp.

To prepare the stuffing, use fresh white bread crumbs- Momma G usually used leftover hamburger or hot dog buns, which have a perfect "brown" to "white" ratio.  You can use dried bread crumbs from the store, but your stuffing will be dryer.  Create enough mixture of half bread crumbs and half grated parmesan to fill the amount of artichokes you're making, and season the crumb mixture with italian herb seasoning and garlic- lots of garlic!! Use fresh garlic, garlic powder, or garlic juice, depending on you taste and comfort level.  Momma G loved her some garlic powder (she said it didn't leave an aftertaste), but Miss G uses fresh garlic, and LOTS of it!

To stuff the artichokes, place it in a large bowl and work from the outside in, pulling out each leaf and stuffing in the garlicky goodness with your fingers.  It's kind of like glittering: you spill as much as you use, so using a big bowl allows you to keep "recycling" until the chokes are all stuffed! Stuff them as full as you can get them!!

Once they are stuffed, you can cook them however you like!  As I said, Momma G used a big roaster pan, but any pot with a tight fitting lid will do.  Miss Ginger likes to use a pressure cooker when she does just a few.  Place the artichokes, bottom down, in about an inch of water, cover, and steam for about 45 minutes.  Toward the end, check for doneness by tugging an outer leaf... if it comes loose, it's ready!

You can cook them on top of the stove or in the oven, as long as they are in a constant steam bath for the 45 minute cooking time. Miss G sets her pressure cooker for 30 minutes, and uses a natural release which gives about 45 minutes total.  

They are also good cold, and you can reheat them in the microwave, so make plenty!  You can serve them as a heavy appetizer, or just eat one as a light meal!!


David Dust said...

Damn - those look delicious!


Kailyn said...

Honey, you so need to come out here where we have huge fields of artickokes growing within an hour's drive. There's a reason why I won't live anywhere else in the country.

mrs. miss alaineus said...

nom nom nom nomz!


Joy said...


Teh Rooster said...

That looks dope


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