During the second snowfall in May, I looked at my sister and announced, "I'm going to Bachman's, want to come?" It's a huge floral/garden shop in Minnesota. And it's beautiful. And so we went. And spent almost 3 hours inspecting every orchid, seed, hanging baskets, fairy gardens and flower bouquets. It was time well spent.
And we spent a little money. We walked away with a wine/cheese pairing book. And put it to work. A new goat cheese, an aged goat cheese, Marcona almonds and quince paste. And a fine Sauvignon Blanc. That made it onto the patio a few days later. When it didn't snow and spring arrived - maybe to stay.
That was a well-earned glass of wine. And a mighty fine pairing. I heartily recommend it for whatever ails you. And when spring came, it was much the sweeter for the suffering! I love how the wealth of cheeses in Minnesota has soared. (But of course I am part mouse.)
During the last sleet/snow/rain, Sangria artichokes appeared in the stores. We've been eating our share of asparagus - keeping spring in the kitchen. And now it was time for artichokes. Baked artichokes with herbs and Gorgonzola to be exact. It was worth the wait.
This is from Food Network. I changed a few things but the original recipe is here.
Artichokes with Herbs and Gorgonzola - serves 4
8-10 ounces Gorgonzola dolce (a sweeter, younger Gorgonzola - it melts beautifully)
4 tablespoons fresh thyme
4 tablespoons fresh parsley plus one tablespoon fresh parsley
3 cloves of garlic - minced
fresh ground pepper to taste
4 tablespoons Panko Breadcrumbs
1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Artichoke with Herbs and Gorgonzola Preparation
Cut stems of artichokes so they can sit upright in a pan.Peel off outer leaves on bottom of artichoke. Trim away the top of the leaves - all those pricklies. And cut the tops of with a sharp knife. Dig into the middle and dig out the choke. You're going to replace the choke with the Gorgonzola mixture.
Fill a pan with water and squeeze in the juice of two lemons and then throw in the lemons. Bring the water to a boil and put the artichokes in the pan and simmer for 25 minutes. Drain and cool. While the artichoke is boiling, you can make the Gorgonzola filling and the breadcrumb topping.
*Bear in mind, you have time before you bake the artichokes - you can let let them rest for at least an hour.
In one small bowl mash the Gorgonzola, thyme, parsley, garlic and pepper. In another bowl mix the bread crumbs and parsley.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Dividing the cheese mixture into fourths, fill the cavity of the artichoke with the Gorgonzola filling. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over. Drizzle with olive oil.
Bake for 25 minutes (mine were done earlier.) Serve. Eat. Savor. It's spring.
When I took it out of the pan, the artichoke leaves parted and it just looked like a spring blossom to me. And that's what it's about in May, isn't it?
There's something appropriate about this recipe - artichokes/spring/sweet/tart/creamy/fresh. The dish delivers all of that. And so it was savored.
The windows are open. There is a cat in every open window. And wine to be drunk on the patio. We try to save the wine corks to put back in the bottle for later.
Except when we come back in, there's not a cork to be found. (Unless you check under the stove and china cabinet where you can also find many pens, nail files, "fake" mice (I hope), and the occasional; cell phone.)
He looks so innocent.
If you're going to sit out on the patio without cat, the cat will be busy. These days Luce runs around with a long stick that has a longer string that has a mouse attached to it. As he runs, Pippin chases. It seems Luce has figured out how to do our job of dangling cat toys. That works.
As you know, in my other life - I write plays for young audiences. The winter was good for output and I have found myself writing sweet, gentle plays this year. A lot of my smart-alecky self seems to have gone away for a while (I expect it will return). The local White Bear Lake magazine did an article about me. It's shameless self-promotion I know. And Luce finds the magazines very good - for sleeping on. But if you care to take a peek into my other life, here it is.
I smiled at the headline. No, I'm not "the Bard." Yes, I am smitten with my work. And spring. And Luce. And artichokes. And wine with corks. That go back into the wine and don't court dust under the stove.