Wintry ruminations whilst the snow-storm affectionately known as Echo blasts the hills, coats the prairie, and blankets the town. Affection steadied for powerful storm systems (so long as all are safe) – and the ability to briefly disconnect from life and reconnect with those external forces. It’s in these unexpected moments that there exists real seduction – a break from the plans, a path not ordinarily pursued, and a few extra stolen rudimentary breaths.
It’s been a wild-weathered kind of day (a sad day of demise in the eyes of fair-weathered people). Cold air coupled with 100 percent humidity. A freezing fog that ignited all life outdoors in a sharp and rigid frost – the most scenic. A weighted pregnancy to the skies and clouds all morning, a look lending itself to impending stormy circumstance. And finally, after a continuous slickening, the precipitation. A precipitation that continues as word merges with screen. A desertion from normalcies, and this I like.
I am writing lengthy love letters to all forms of winter produce. There has been a massive rotation of roasting generating a steady heat in the kitchen these past months. It is a cosmically easy and delicious preparation for many of the root vegetables available currently. Golden edges and sweet caramelizing are too divine to pass. The last two of our brussels sprouts came down before the storm, and eagerly I am devising appropriate and beautiful fates.
A recent affection and inspiration has landed in the form of cardoon. It’s unfamiliarity in general cooking may possibly stem from its harrowing preparation – but it is assuredly nothing too intense for the passionate plant eater to assume. The close relative of the artichoke is formed like a bunch of celery and is hellishly spiny (cursing ensues automatically). The best method to attacking this creature’s defense system is a vegetable peeler or sharp knife. As soon as she’s disarmed she’s quite easy to work with. Most recipes call for further preparation by way of par-boiling (my personal suggestion). And at the end there is a nirvana to all of this madness. An intense and delicious artichoke flavor sure to cure any blues.
- 1 bunch of cardoons, (equivalent to 1 lb chopped)
- sea salt
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 / 8 cup olive oil
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tsp prepared horseradish
- 2 cups (1 medium) head of curly endive, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 / 3 cup hazelnuts
- 1 / 2 cup olive oil
- 2 tbl white balsamic
- 1 lb chiocciole pasta
- sun dried tomatoes (if in oil, drain), chopped
- fill a large pot with water, a generous sprinkling of salt, and the juice of 1 lemon. prepare cardoons by carefully removing spines located on both sides of each rib. cut ends, and slice into 1 inch pieces. discard fronds. quickly remove pieces into the pot of water to keep them from browning by air. bring cardoons to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes, or until tender, and drain.
- in a medium bowl combine cardoons, olive oil, lemon juice, and horseradish. toss to combine and marinate in refrigerator 1 hour, up to overnight.
- to prepare pesto combine endive, garlic, hazelnut, olive oil, and balsamic in the base of a food processor and blend until smooth.
- prepare pasta according to instructions. 1 lb of pasta will feed 4-8 people depending on serving arrangements.
- to serve: combine pesto with pasta, add marinated cardoon and sun dried tomatoes and toss.