Celebratory Artichokes / Food Loves Writing

I wish you could have seen Tim and me in our little galley kitchen on Saturday, October 12, at around 2 p.m. in the afternoon. There we were, side by side in front of the sink, each of us with a plate of slow-cooked artichokes to our sides. Barely speaking, the both of us stood there, rhythmically pulling tender, wilted leaves of artichokes off their softened, deep green bulbs, scraping the flesh with our teeth, oil and juices dripping down our hands and arms and over everything.

“These are the best artichokes I have ever had,” Tim finally said to me between slurps, halfway through his dish.

“They should be, with all that butter and wine and garlic!” I responded, ever the one to mentally tally ingredients costs as we cook.

Emeril's Cooking with Power Cookbook / Food Loves Writing

We concluded that these artichokes, from Emeril Lagasse’s newest cookbook, are no everyday side dish. Even though they’re made in a slow cooker, these are not artichokes to serve alongside a boring main course; these are Celebratory Artichokes, the indulgent sort of thing to wow guests with at a dinner party—and preferably one where you provide a lot of napkins. Calling them celebration artichokes has other significance as well, as there we were, eating them, three days before celebrating being married two years and, also, one day after I met Stephanie for coffee.

I’ve known Stephanie since December of last year, ever since she wrote a brilliant article about vulnerability for Darling Magazine. After the hour or so I spent with her at Fido, I came away with a renewed belief in the power of sharing our stories with one another because, if you’ve ever met Stephanie you already know, that’s the kind of thing you walk away feeling after meeting this girl whose eyes light up when the word storytelling is said. “Stories are how we connect with one another,” she said to me when I asked her why sharing our experiences with each other matters. “They remind us we’re not alone.” And the one that especially got me: “Not everyone has the ability to articulate their experiences. If you do, it’s a gift, and you should use it.”

Her thoughts affected me so much, I’ve talked about them with Tim and with Joanna and with Kathryn and Jivan on our Greenville anniversary trip. I’ve thought about them while we traveled, when I went to write a blog post on the morning of our anniversary, when I’ve been tempted to avoid personal stories and talk in a surface way instead. So when I saw a video last week of a brand figurehead—the brand figurehead over even this new book from Emeril that we were asked to review—dismissing bloggers with a wave of her hand, it’s no surprise I thought about Stephanie’s words again.

We live in a competitive world where everyone is trying to find a claim to fame, a reason to be noticed, a purpose to makes his or her existence make sense. Sometimes, these motivations make us belittle others. We have to be the Smart One or the Pretty One or the Expert. We can’t let someone else be on top. We compare ourselves; we strive to be something. We want to be the one who is praised and admired and emulated. We want to be the best. But whether or not bloggers are the best, whether or not they are experts, doesn’t matter to me. The fact that so many of them, including Stephanie, have changed my way of seeing the world does.

“I don’t think our job is to tell each other what to do,” Stephanie said to me that Friday afternoon at Fido. “I think we’re supposed to walk on our paths and take a minute to turn around to the people a few steps behind us and say, ‘Hey, look out, there’s a rock!’”

I’m thankful for the people who have done that for me, who do that for me, in magazines and on cooking shows, at my kitchen table and through computer screens. I’m thankful for the big brands and the little Web journals and the individuals who generously share their stories, whether those stories are tales of kitchen failures or the tested recipes on glossy pages of professional cookbooks. We’re, all of us, simple human beings, even when we’re puffing ourselves up with accolades, even when we’re trying to define our meaning through titles or praise. We’re, all of us, not that different. We all want to matter. We all want to be loved.

Special thanks to Martha Stewart Living for letting us share this recipe with you here today.

disclaimer: We were given an advance copy of Emeril’s cookbook, which launches October 22, as well as a beautiful six-quart slow cooker, for this post. All opinions expressed are our own. We feel a little overwhelmed with how much we’re being given lately, and we already have our own slow cooker, so we’re giving both of these products away. Use the Rafflecopter widget below for your chance to enter. The book giveaway will be given to a random user picked by the widget; the slow cooker will go to a random US resident. Contest ends October 28.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Emeril’s Celebratory Artichokes, Slow-Cooked in White Wine, Garlic, and Oil

Serving Size: 4 to 8

Adapted from an original recipe by Emeril Lagasse, from Emeril’s Cooking with Power, William Morrow, New York, 2013, courtesy Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc.

Ingredients:

  • 2 3/4 cups dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) melted butter
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, halves reserved
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 1/2 head of garlic, separated into cloves and peeled
  • 4 to 6 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 4 large or 6 medium artichokes
  • Crusted bread, for serving (optional)

Directions:

Pile everything besides the artichokes and the bread in a six-quart slow cooker: wine, oils/butter, lemon juice, salt, garlic, thyme, black pepper and red pepper.

Prepare the artichokes for the slow cooker: Take the artichokes one at a time and cut a bit off the stem end and a third off the top, rubbing both cuts with the lemon halves as you do. Pull off any discolored outer leaves, and, using kitchen scissors, cut off the sharp tips of each leaf. Cut the artichoke bodies into quarters. Remove the fuzzy choke from the inside. As soon as you finish each artichoke, submerge it in the slow cooker, covering it as much as you can with the wine-oil mixture to prevent discoloration.

Once all the artichokes are inside the slow cooker, cover it and cook on high for five to six hours. It would be nice to do this before you leave for errands, so artichokes are ready and waiting when you return, but it's nicer still to cook them while you're in the house---The smell that fills your kitchen while they cook is intoxicating.

Artichokes are done when the leaves easily pull away and the hearts are very tender. Serve them warm or at room temperature, drizzling some of the remaining cooked liquid on top. Eat with crusty bread, if desired.

Notes

The original recipe calls for 1 3/4 cups of vegetable oil and 1 cup of olive oil; we altered these parts of the recipe both because we don't use vegetable oil and because our pantry was running low on everything. Additionally, we changed a few proportions in the recipe based on what we had on hand. The good news is, it's very forgiving---feel free to sub in the fat (butter or oil) of your choice.

http://foodloveswriting.com/2013/10/21/celebratory-artichokes/
Cooksnaps
Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 31 Comments

  1. Laurianna W

    Artichokes have always intimidated me, but I know Emeril’s rep is a solid one and slow cookers are hands down, one of the easiest ways to cook something, so I guess it’s time to give it a try!

  2. felicia | Dish by Dish

    So glad you met with Stephanie over coffee & thanks for sharing your conversations – her thoughts and blog have influenced my writing over the past year, along with other wonderful blogs like yours and Ashley’s at Not without Salt, so I’m grateful that all of you have used your gift to let us into your worlds & tell us your stories.

    I’ve watched Emeril Green so many times and his bubbly face always cheers up a dreary day. How cool is it that his cookbook is out soon!

    sending much love,
    (and secretly wishing I was near enough for a coffee or cooking session too!)
    F.

  3. Katie

    Mmmm artichokes. The vegetable I’ve never prepared but always request. Thank you for this lovely recipe!

    Hope I win the slow-cooker. Just this weekend I submerged mine in water accidentally and then cried, out loud and for a while. I thought it was just the inside pot that I put in the water, but oh no, it was the outside part as well. These things happen, right?? Right???…

  4. Monika

    Oh, to conquer the artichoke. I’ve had it once when a friend cooked it for me… and another time when a group of us making paella pizza did not get far enough down to the heart, and were instead left with fibrous mouthfuls…. perhaps a slow cooker would help?

    1. Shanna Mallon

      I will say this: Our teacher at the cooking class last week said even at great restaurants it’s not uncommon to use artichoke hearts rather than deal with all the prep work for whole ones. So of all the things to master, it’s not a top priority, haha. : ) Also, a recipe like this one helps.

  5. Sandra @ Foodmanna

    I’ve recently tried artichoke recently for the first time and realized how much I’ve been missing out throughout the past 35 years! Thanks for the recipe. I’ll definitely give it a shot to cook them and most probably will convert a few dinner friends to artichoke lovers along the way, just like myself. :D

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Gina, Emeril’s new book caters to appliances, so there’s a chunk of recipes for slow cookers, a chunk for multicookers, a chunk for deep fryers, etc. That said, just because this recipe was originally intended for a slow cooker doesn’t mean you couldn’t use a large pot on the stove instead. Generally speaking, stove cooking is faster than a slow cooker; I almost wonder if the oven would be a better bet? Regardless, if you test it out, let us know how it goes! That is, unless you win the slow cooker in this post… : )

  6. jessiev

    YUM. And I LOVE, love, love this: “I don’t think our job is to tell each other what to do,” Stephanie said to me that Friday afternoon at Fido. “I think we’re supposed to walk on our paths and take a minute to turn around to the people a few steps behind us and say, ‘Hey, look out, there’s a rock!’”

    i think that should be a wall poster. Something to live by!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      haha! I read through it again just now, and you’re right. I wish I could have told that girl part of the confusion is knowing what part of the artichoke you eat! If only I’d known to scrape the leaves with my teeth! : )

  7. jacquie

    oh I so need a slow cooker and can’t afford one. wish I could enter w/ one of the other options but alas don’t do any of them but one only needs one entry right? :)

  8. Lindsey | The Next Course

    Thank you, Shanna, for the reminder that constantly striving to be “the best” actually gets in the way of learning from and sharing wisdom with others– Stephanie sounds like someone I would love to meet–I’ll definitely be spending some time on her blog!

  9. ashley c

    what an indulgent dish! i remember my first whole artichoke eating experience…it started with confusion and ended in utter bliss after taking the time to savor the meat of each leaf until i made it to the heart. so delicious!

  10. Arden Brink

    I love artichokes so will definitely try this. Would *never* have thought of doing them in a slow cooker, but since it seems they take forever on the stove-top, why not give ‘em even longer in a crockpot with no worries about the time. Love the idea and the recipe. Oh, and to Gina wondering about cooking without a slow-cooker, I think your advice about the oven was right on. Ideally using something like a cast-iron dutch oven and low temp — try out somewhere between 190 and 225 and do it sometime when you’ve got “timing flexibility” and can just check it as you go to see when it’s done.

  11. Alena@TheHomemadeCreative

    I love artichokes! My mom used to steam them, and we’d dip the leaves in melted butter, scraping out the meat with our teeth. She would always cut the hearts into bite sized morsels, and we would share. I’m excited about this recipe, and hope I win! I have a small crock pot, but I need something a little bigger, and with better settings.

    (I’m entered using my real name, Alena Belleque.)

  12. Tami

    Oh my gracious. I’ve never experienced artichokes but after reading your post I’m not sure that’s ok any longer. Time to gather the napkins and slow-cook some heavenly, celebratory chokes.

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