Artichokes

Baby artichoke & new potato breakfast hash

The Sun.

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Walking home from the dog park yesterday evening the air was so warm and dense on my skin. The day in Denver had been very hot, hot and dry. There were pillows of dandelion fluff rippling along the sidewalk. I've never seen dandelion gather and blanket the ground so thickly before. Little tuffs of the dandelion were floating around, I like to call them fairies. The sun was so low on the horizon that the fairies were illuminated as they bumped along in a sea of orange sun rays. The warmth felt so good, so peaceful on my mind, I closed my eyes to the bright sun rays ahead and kept walking. I allowed my skin to see for me, my eyes remained closed. My whole body soaked up the sun in sweet, warm kisses and the sun's brightness could still be seen through my closed eyelids. It felt like how it would feel to be walking into the sun. I floated along like one of the dandelion fairies. 

A poached egg, with its sunny yolk spilling out and touching everything in this dish; it is that low-horizon sun. 

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Recipe (serves two generously) 

New potatoes - (about 1/2 lb)  rinsed/slightly scrubbed and then quartered

Baby Artichokes - I used 7 but feel free to use a few less, trimmed and quartered

Lemon - 2 lemons

Parsley - 3-4TB chopped (fresh)

Garlic - 3 cloves, minced

Olive oil - about 4TB

Salt/pepper - to taste

2 eggs + 1 egg yolk

Trim your artichokes (Removing the hard outer petals until you reach the softer, paler inside ones - baby artichokes have less to remove and you don't have to trim out the hairy choke (since there is none on the babies, yay!) . Also trim off the top and bottom of the artichoke. If using larger artichokes there will be more to trim and also trim out the hairy, internal choke) then quarter the hearts. Bring a medium pot of water with a pinch of salt to a boil, add in your potatoes. Let it low boil for about 5 minutes and then strain.

Add in 2TB of olive oil to a large skillet and turn on medium heat. Add in your minced garlic, let it cook for 1 minute and then add in your potatoes. Let it sauté for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are almost cook and start to brown a bit. Add in your artichoke hearts. Keep sautéing for several more minutes until the artichokes begin to soften.  Add in a bit more olive oil if needed. Once the artichokes are cooked, squeeze in the juice of one and a half lemons and then add in the parsley. Cook for another minute and then season with salt/pepper. Divide the mixture between two plates and cover them to keep it warm until the poached eggs are ready (saving any oil left over in the pan and then add in your last 2TB of olive oil into the pan and set aside for later).

While the mixture is sautéing make your poached eggs. (Tip a cracked egg into about 3-4 inches of slightly simmering water (mixed with 1TB apple cider vinegar) and then use a wooden spoon to gently swirl the water towards the egg in order to keep the whites as close together as possible. Let it simmer for about 4 minutes and remove with a large slotted spoon, let the water drain. Top each hash portion with a poached egg. Place your egg yolk into a small mixing bowl and add in your last half of lemon juice, whisk together. Pour out and discard slightly less than half of your egg yolk/lemon mixture. Slowly, very slowly, drizzle in the oil from your pan (its ok if there are little garlic or herb bits in it) while whisking until the aioli slightly thickens up. Add a pinch of salt if needed, but it should been seasoned from the leftovers in the pan. Drizzle the aioli over the two dishes. Top with more parsley and cracked pepper if desired. Eat in the sun. 

 

 

 

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Vegan, spring, pesto lasagna. Layers of creamy filling, tomato sauce, arugula, & noodles.

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I made this lasagna once, over a year ago, and haven't made a lasagna since. I like pasta dishes but I really don't make them often. Occasionally, I'll get the urge (if I have time) to make some homemade pasta dough but that is a once-a-year thing if at all. There was the time last year where I took home 90 free eggs from work. Ok... what do you do with 90 free eggs? After half a day of kitchen time I stocked our freezer with loads of homemade ravioli (3 kinds..mushroom, arugula ricotta, and butternut squash) and mini quiches. It was insane but I used up a lot of the eggs that way. Bad part was, we still had some mini quiches in the freezer when we lost power for 4 days in a snow storm. To try and save the quiches, I buried them outside into the snow where they were devoured by wild animals. At least somebody enjoyed them, right?

Anyways, lasagna. I really like this lasagna from a recipe in a cookbook called The Big Vegan. It's funny, this cookbook really isn't my typical style but there are some really great ideas and recipes in here. The following recipe is an adaptation of the recipe in the book. I felt like making lasagna because I had about 3 cups of this homemade dandelion & sorrel pesto to play around with. I didn't want to overwhelm this yummy pesto with a bunch of dairy, so I turned to this tried and true vegan lasagna. This lasagna is so good, really. I'd bet that you could fool people. Give them a piece of this lasagna and they will have no idea that it is vegan unless you tell them.

* Also! There is a give-a-way. I'm not really use to how give-a-ways work, honestly, I'm not up on my blog etiquette. The reason I am doing it, other than I love you of course, is that by fate I have two of the same cookbook, The Sprouted Kitchen. The give-a-way is being held on the sister post to this one, the pesto post, which can be found here

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Recipe (I made it in a oval, 9" casserole dish and it was filled to the brim)

Filling recipe 

Vegan pesto of your choice - 16oz (here is the dandelion/sorrel pesto recipe)

Tofu - 1 packet of soft tofu (14oz) 

Artichoke hearts - 1 can, drained

Nutritional yeast - 2TB

Miso - 2TB

Olive oil - 1Tb

Salt- a pinch

 Tomato sauce recipe

Can of tomatoes (I used whole, peeled) - 14oz, drained half-way

Onion - 1.5 cups, chopped

Garlic - 3 cloves, chopped

Basil - 3Tb, fresh, slivered

Fennel seeds - 1tsp

Oregano - 1.5tsp dried, or 1tsp, fresh

Salt/pepper - to taste

Other layers

Packet of vegan whole wheat lasagna noodles (or spinach) 

Arugula - a few handfuls

(optional) Almond meal or pine nuts - to top

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Preheat you oven to 400 degrees about 15 minutes before you are ready to bake. Place all your filling ingredients together in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Dump out filling into a bowl and clean the blender, you will need it again. Put a medium pot of water with a pinch of salt over high heat and bring it to a boil. Once the water is boiling you will add you lasagna noodles and simmer for about 7 minutes. Drain the noodles and rinse with cool water. Meanwhile, chop up your onion and garlic. Heat up a deep skillet with 1Tb olive oil and then add the garlic. Cook for a minute and then add in the onions. Cook for a few minutes until soft. Add in the can of tomatoes and all your spices. Cook for a few minutes until bubbling and soft. Taste and adjust salt/pepper. Transfer into a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. 

Get out your casserole dish. Layer about 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce on the bottom. Then lay down a layer of noodles, top with about 1.5 cups of filling, and then a handful of arugula. Then noodles, tomato sauce, filling, arugula. Repeat until all the ingredients are used up, adjusting as needed, ending with the last of the tomato sauce. Sprinkle the top with almond meal or pine nuts if desired. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes. Let it cool for 10 minutes, if you can wait, because the filling will be very hot. 

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