May 6, 2008

Garden Gifts!

While in my garden looking around at the jungle
that has been created,
as my husband started to weed,
I stopped him

A GIFT from the GODS!

WILD ARUGULA PLANTS

There are about 5 of them.
We had one last year and that was simply fabulous to walk out into the garden
and snip off a few leaves to add to a salad.
Nothing like store-bought-
this has a real peppery kick to it.

AND

My artichoke is ready to harvest!

in "Chatting" on skype with my friend Don Genova in Vancouver
as he was on his way to do a spring TV shop on food and seasonal recipes.
I sent him my Garmugia recipe and we began talking "chokes".

They use the word "castraura", like castrating, to talk about the artichokes. By cutting off the smaller chokes and eating them when they
are most tender.

The larger center chokes are left to grow and called "MAMME," the mothers,
usually served stuffed and sold with the stems, which are just extra "heart"
and can be peeled and stewed together with the artichoke.

When you buy them at the markets they look like long stemmed roses!

I usually do about 350 tiny chokes a year, using Leo's recipe.

NO LEO - NO CHOKES?
I haven't decided yet.



I am from California, where we can get almost all the different sizes and kinds.
Even Trader Joe's has the bags of baby chokes.

You can see here how they grow.
There is one LARGE choke on the top stem,
and that then has two babies
which then have two babies.

Last year we has 6 artichokes.

Florentines love them trimmed and eaten raw
with extra virgin oil and salt.

Romans twice fry them.

Venetians stew the huge hearts only, which you can buy already cleaned
at the Rialto Market.

I adore them batter fried like my mother-in-law made
or even stewed with garlic and oil.

This year I see a new artichoke already on the plant too,
so who knows this year how many I will get.

Here are some recipes and a lesson in cleaning an artichoke
on my site.

My artichoke man and neighbor in Florence
retired this year.



Auguri Leo e Mille Grazie!




2 comments:

  1. The artichoke fritters you taught us to make at the class last year are heavenly - and everyone is so impressed when I whip them up as a little something to go with a drink!

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  2. yeah they are addicting!
    topped with sprinklings of great sea salt.. they are my new snack food whenever I can get them!

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