Sunday, November 20, 2011

Bad Blogger

It has been less than 2 months and I have already turned into a bad blogger.  It has been like 1.5 weeks since I last posted and I am so very sorry.  It seems that I have been rather preoccupied lately though I cannot really put my finger on why.  I am only blogging now because my poor Devin is in bed with a migraine and I have hit a wall with my code that hopefully Howard can get me through tomorrow.  Basically, I just haven't been blogging, and there is no good excuse.  

I have so so much to catch you up on.  Today I am going to talk a bit about what has been going on and share a stuffed artichoke recipe.  I have a back log of recipes to share (including 3 types of cookies (one of which are the best cookies I have ever made), chicken noodle soup, some pizza (homemade dough and all), those incredible Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars that I talked about on my Pumpkin Obsession post as well as some homemade brownies).  I don't know if I will get this all in before Thanksgiving but I am going to try.  My time home for Thanksgiving will give me a whole new set of things to blog about.

So first off, I was contacted by one of the schools that I applied to!!!  The head of the department emailed me to set-up a brief phone conversation for us to discuss the university/position, my interest and possibly set-up an on-campus interview.  I am thrilled!!  I will be talking to him on Monday afternoon.   I am not super nervous (yet) surprisingly.  I am good on the phone, I think.  I will be more nervous in person.  I will let you know how it goes though!  (I think I am going to leave school names out of my blog for the time being.  I guess I don't want to get anyone too excited (including myself) only to not get an interview or have a bad one.)  I want to share the last line of the email which made me smile:

"Thanks for your help with this arrangement, thanks for your interest in our position, and thanks for having a file that is interesting enough to encourage us to make further contact!"

Turns out that I am interesting!  Woot, woot!!

Last week was so super busy for Devin.  He had his Percussion Ensemble with Duquense and it was amazing as always!  Here are a couple pics:

I hope that everyone can make his Spring concert as that will likely be his last one.  I will share the date once it is scheduled.

I am finally super excited for Thanksgiving (read Christmas)!  We are going home Tuesday night and I have something planned pretty much every second of every day until we get back on Sunday.  I will have lots to share next week, I am sure.  I will tell you right now that I am so scared to bring Janey to my in-laws.  It is an old, huge house and she is going to break everything and get in so much trouble.  I am worried she is going to fall off the upstairs banister and believe it or not, Janey usually does not land on her feet.  I am pretty sure she can, she is just too lazy.   Deeley LOVES my in-laws house.  It is like her paradise.  Hopefully she will teach Janey the ropes and have some time to be alone away from Janey which she never gets here.

Ok, I think that is all from me for now.  Here is the artichoke recipe:

I have made these artichokes a few times, and I sort of follow this recipe from Rachael Ray, but somehow mine always look way better than hers.  Hmm?

Here they are before the magic:

I start by removing some of the bottom leaves and cutting off most of the stem.  You want to cut the stem short and straight so that the artichokes will be able to stand up in the dish later.  Then you put them in boiling water with some lemon juice for about 20 minutes. Next remove them from the water and put them upside down so that they can drain and cool.

While this is happening, make the stuffing.  Heat up some olive oil.  Now, I want to tell you that I have made this stuffing with and without anchovies.  I really do not like anchovies, but I am telling you, you really should try them in this recipe.  They just add the perfect amount of saltiness and tang.

I realized for the first time when taking this picture that I bought anchovies rolled around capers.  No biggy.  I just removed the capers and threw 10 anchovies in the hot pan.  Warning: oil splattered everywhere.

Sorry it is sort of blurry.  The oil was getting all over me.

You pretty much cook the anchovies until they dissolve into tiny tiny brown bits.  It almost ends up looking like brown butter.  

Then you add in some garlic and cook for a minute (be careful not to burn it) and follow that up with a bunch of bread crumbs.  Work the breadcrumbs into the oil/garlic mixture until they are completely coated (you may need more oil).  Then cook until they are lightly browned.  Add in parsley and lots of black pepper.  Remove the breadcrumbs from the heat and add in some (lots of) parmesan.

While the breadcrumbs are browning, take time to clean the choke out of your artichokes.  Spread them open a bit (be careful, the leaves can be super sharp, in fact when I bought them, the cashier at whole foods warned the bagger (very loudly) that I had artichokes, I guess so she wouldn't stab herself like he did) and then scoop out the middle leaves/choke.  The choke is the fiberous/hairy part.  It is not really necessary to scoop it out if you don't want to, but just make sure that no one eats it.



Then you want to stuff the artichokes.  I start in the middle and just work the stuffing into all the leaves going outward.  I always always overstuff.  This is not just about artichokes, I overstuff everything.  Tacos, sandwiches, bags, etc, you get it.  I guess I feel like it is better to have a bit more than you might need than not have enough.  Things also however tend to be messier when you have more than you need.  Oh well.  These artichokes are messy no matter what you do. 

Once the artichokes are stuffed, drizzle with olive oil and put some water in the bottom of the dish.  If the artichokes got really cool, cover the dish with foil and put it in the oven until they are heated through.  Then remove the foil and let the breadcrumbs brown some more.  I usually skip the foil part because the artichokes are still warm when I stuff them.  

After the magic, but before the consumption:


Before I go, this is apparently Winter Janey.  I don't know where her two undercoats are, it is a little pathetic (this is our first winter with her):

She doesn't even come close to comparing to Winter Deeley (WD 3.0) who never disappoints:

Yea, that is her beard stuck in her mouth because her fur is so long that it gets caught.

So Long!

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