Savor The Earth

eat tastier, eat greener, eat cheaper

slow artichokes part 2 May 12, 2009

What do you do with those giant artichokes on sale at Newflower Market (2 for $4, only one more day!)?  Yes, you can cook them in the slow cooker but you gotta cut them in half.  Otherwise you’ll be cooking them longer than you can stand it.  I use a large (6 quart) oval cooker.  Three of these big un’s just fit.

First load up your cooker with:

  • ½ cup white vinegar—Whole Foods (WF) 365 organic is the best buy I’ve found
  • about 6 cups of water
  • some celery leaves if you’ve got ‘em—Finca Pura Vida at Sunset Valley Farmers Market (SVFM) grows gorgeous celery leaves that keep well in the fridge, wrapped in a tea towel and cradled in a plastic bag.  OR a stingy to generous pinch of celery seeds, to your taste.
  • a strip or two of lemon peel—Central Market usually has the best price on organic lemons, not that they’re a bargain, but right now Sun Harvest has them on sale at $2.97 for a 3# bag.  OR if, like me, you bought a likely lifetime supply of lemon oil some years back, just add 12 drops
  • 2 cloves
  • 3 peppercorns
  • as many cloves of fresh garlic as you care for—Hairston Creek Farm at SVFM has it right now. peel them if you can, but don’t frustrate yourself.  Very fresh garlic is hard to peel.
  • About a tablespoon of kosher salt (I prefer Diamond Crystal) or half that amount of table salt (I go for RealSalt and WF sells it in bulk for the best price.

NOW, trim up and rinse your artichokes.  Check http://www.saveur.com/article/Mise%20en%20Place/Trimming-Tips for guidance.  Next, stand your globe stem end up and slice it into two equal halves.  Just slice right down with a good sharp chef’s knife.  It’s easier than it looks.  If the baby’s sleeping go ahead and scoop out the choke.  Otherwise just remove that part at eatin’ time.  Cram the artichokes into your crock stem ends up.  Here’s the fun part for Central Texans:

Put the slow cooker outside!

The slow cooker doesn’t warm up the house as much as the pressure cooker (my usual artichoke cooking appliance) or the oven, but why even let that heat in?  Turn it on to High and check your chokes in about 8 hours.  They’re done when you can easily pull out a leaf, no resistance.  Eat ‘em hot or cold and don’t forget to eat the garlic.  We don’t fuss ‘em up further with sauces ‘cause they’re already seasoned.  And portable!

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fastest kid’s lunch

Filed under: easy,fast,kid,thrift — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 5:41 pm
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I can make this one with the baby latched on.  Seriously.  Grab a flour tortilla, we like Central Market multi grain, top it with a little shredded cheese (cheddar from Full Quiver Farm at SVFM is just right) and pop it into the toaster oven.  (If you don’t own a toaster oven here in Austin I don’t know how you manage.  It doesn’t heat up the kitchen like your full size model and uses less energy.  Ours can bake a single layer cake or six muffins.  Of course it came inexpensively from the thrift store and it’s a good one.)  I  set my oven to “toast 1” which melts the cheese and softens the tortilla but doesn’t puff it up.  Puffing it up is fun and tasty but isn’t right for this “recipe”.  Meanwhile, mash up some Whole Foods 365 organic seasoned beans (spicy chili beans, spicy black beans, or ranchero beans.  They’re all great and cheap.) with a fork.  Put your warm and gooey tortilla on the cooling rack, load it with some beans or beans and rice combo (we always have a pot of cooked  Lowell Farms organic jasmine rice–grown in Texas!–in the fridge) and roll it up taco style.  When the baby falls off you’ll be ready to take your kid to school.

 

Appliance Theory

Filed under: bread machine,slow cooker,thrift — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 4:55 pm
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I hope you’ve discovered thrift stores.  They’re not just for collectors.  Many of my kitchen appliances have come—quite cheaply—from the resale shops.  The toaster oven (gotta have one in Texas), Cuisinart ice cream maker, Cuisinart mini processor ($2.50—really!), salad shooter (aka poor man’s food processor), both of my slow cookers, and, OK, almost all of my waffle iron collection.  Too many implements for me to remember, geez or even own, have come into my life via the thrift store.  Do you need a bread machine?  Depending on your requirements a used model may be just right for your kitchen and your budget.  For almost whatever you need, I advise a trip to your local used goods outlet.