I started the whole process 3 weeks ago when I verbally said what a great idea...I can do that! Okay, now what? Pick a date and make the process real. October 1st and do the project the same as in the Julie and Julia movie...365 days to get through the whole cookbook. The difference? I numbered each recipe for each chapter and included a choice of variations, which brought my number of recipes to be completed to 602. I also decided that I would cook through the cookbook according to meal plans for the week AND include my other magazine and cookbook recipes.
My first recipe is Whole Boiled Artichokes with Hollandaise Sauce. My last recipe to be completed at the years end will be Lobster Thermidore. Tonight I completed 2 recipes right off the get go.
My first panic moment: I have only had an artichoke leaf ONCE and I was about 14. I hated it! I have never even seen an artichoke cooked much less contemplate cooking one myself (or even shopping for an artichoke). From the minute I walked into the grocery store this afternoon till the minute I sat down to try my first leaf, I have been freaked out. My first recipe and I will either screw it up or hate it.
Before I even get started, Ashley called me and said she was coming home for a visit along with getting a plate of the chocolate caramel cookies with the white chocolate on top. Poor thing, the cookies are already gone. Shared with friends and co-workers, the pile has been depleted. I promised fresh peanut butter cookies if she would still come home so I could hug the stuffings out of her. I also told her that her permanent driver's license came in the mail. What ever works, right?
By the way, the recipe calls for 6 artichokes. I am doing 2 because the artichoke may taste disgusting so I am not having the guilt of tossing artichokes. Artichokes are in season here in the states so I found 2 on sale. I bought the 2 for $6 at Central Market.
Now, break off the leaves at the base of the artichoke. Trim the base with a knife so the artichoke will stand solidly upright. The base of this bugger is really tough to cut through but once the knife gets started, momentum helps out.
I removed the choke for a nicer presentation. Because I over boiled the artichoke, my leaves still fell apart so the end result was NOT pretty. I have never seen the bearded part of an artichoke so I did not know what to look for. Julia says to pull out the center cone and the beard will be exposed. I think she fibbed on this one.
The cone of leaves in the center did not pull out as a whole. The leaves had to be pulled out individually and they were hotter then pea soup! Then, as you can see, the inside IS furry!
This hairy stuff is called the choke and you remove it with a spoon. Just scrape and remove, exposing the artichoke heart...the only piece of the artichoke I actually do know. The problem is the artichoke heart looks nothing like what you see in a jar. At this point, I still am not even sure I am looking at an artichoke heart. I was suppose to sprinkle salt and pepper over this part but out of confusion, I skipped it. Also, the artichokes will be served warm. Julia says these leafy vegetables can be served hot, warm, or cold.
While the artichoke was boiling, I started the Hollandaise sauce.
Look! My first butter shot!
I cut 1 1/2 sticks of butter into pieces and melted this in a saucepan over medium-low heat. The butter was set aside to cool.
Beat 3 egg yolks for about 1 minute in a saucepan, until the yolks become thick and sticky.
Add 1 Tablespoon water, 1 Tablespoon lemon juice, and a Big pinch of salt; beating for about 30 seconds more.
Immediately remove from heat and beat in 1 Tablespoon of cold butter, which will cool the egg yolks and stop their cooking. (I then scraped this mixture into my Kitchen Aide mixer bowl with a wire whip.)
Beating the egg yolks with a wire whip, pour on the melted butter by droplets or quarter-teaspoon-fuls until the sauce begins to thicken into a very heavy cream. Then pour the butter a little more rapidly. Omit the milky residue at the bottom of the butter pan.
Season to taste with salt, pepper, and lemon juice.
You only eat the artichoke meat at the base of the leaf, after dipping into the Hollandaise sauce and together was Amazing! I mean it! Amazing! I would make this for guest...practice my boiling skills first, BUT Yea! Larry and I could not believe how fun this was to eat and how incredible the artichoke tasted. The base was flat and tender so I know this must have been the artichoke heart. My first recipe was an overall, taste tested SUCCESS! I feel so accomplished and I learned out to cook an artichoke and make Hollandaise sauce the right way. What a great way to go to bed tonight.