Tag Archives: artichokes

Breakfast Brioche, Baked Eggs, Bubbles, and Bulldogs

Cutest little guy you ever did see.

Remember how I was making a case to bring  the Slumber Party back? Well I’m adding something else to that list: Brunch and Bubbles. A perfectly brilliant combination, brunch allows for so many of my favorite things (easy, make-ahead dishes; beautifully set tables; champagne before noon). Furthermore, in these wildly busy lives that we all seem to lead, where syncing up calendars can often result in not seeing dear friends for weeks, Sunday Brunch seems to be a secret pass, often unscheduled and just waiting for a mimosa to kick it off.

This past weekend’s brunch was even better than usual, because not only did we have Blueberry Mimosas, Savory Breakfast Brioches, and Baked Eggs…we had Bulldogs! Well, just one bulldog to be precise, and a pretty stinking cute one at that. Meet Madden Hardaway Fay.

Lest you think it’s not possible, let me assure you that he is even cuter in person…the kind of cute that makes your heart pop and damn your willpower not to get a second dog. The only thing cuter than a 12-week old bulldog puppy? A 12-week old bulldog puppy romping and rolling for all he’s worth with Mr. Duke. They played for hours, we ate and drank for hours, and everyone was oh-so-pleased.

Those Cinnamon Pecan Sticky Buns were pretty out of this world, but since Matt is vehemently opposed to almost all things sweet, I decided to try a savory variety. And let me just say…we may have a problem here. They were delicious (damn them), and a perfect brunch entrée since they can be made completely ahead and then just popped into the oven the morning of. Serve them with Baked Eggs and Bubbles, and raise a toast to bringing brunch back.

Savory Breakfast Brioche with Prosciutto, Pesto, Feta, and Artichokes

Savory Breakfast Brioche, with Prosciutto, Pesto, Artichoke Hearts, and Feta

Serves 8

Dough:

  • 1/4 cup warm water (105° to 115°, you can use a meat thermometer to check)
  • 1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened and chopped into about 16 small pieces, plus more for greasing
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon. salt
  • 4 to 4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

Filling:

  • 1/4 lb prosciutto, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup pesto
  • 1 can artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 3/4 cup feta (you could sub another cheese if you liked)

How-To

  1. Make the dough.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine warm water, yeast and 1 tsp. sugar. Stir to dissolve and let sit until foamy, about 7 – 10 minutes. You want to see some little air bubbles.
  2. Add milk, butter, remaining sugar, egg yolks, salt and 3 cups flour.  Mix on low speed until blended. Switch to a dough hook and then, again on low speed, slowly incorporate the remaining 1 cup of flour. Increase speed to medium, kneading dough until smooth and slightly sticky (adding a little more flour if too wet), 3 to 5 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a large, buttered bowl. Turn dough over in bowl to coat with the butter from the bowl.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour (or 2 hours if not in an entirely warm place). After the dough has risen, punch down. Turn out onto a lightly floured cutting board and let sit 20 minutes.
  3. Roll dough out into a 12″ x 18″ rectangle. Top with the pesto, prosciutto, feta, and artichoke hearts. Starting with the long side, roll dough into a cylinder. Place seam side down on a flat surface and cut crosswise into 15 slices.

    Adding the filling.

  4. Place dough slices, flat side down. Space out so that they roughly fill the whole pan while still slightly touching in places. Cover with plastic wrap, leaving room for the buns to rise, and refrigerate overnight.

    Ready to rise.

  5. Remove the rolls from the refrigerator an hour before you want to make and let come to room temperature. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375°. Bake buns on the middle rack until golden, 28 – 32 minutes.
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Filed under Breakfasts, Comfort Foods, Entertaining, Make ahead, Uncategorized

Day 1: Artichoke Hearts, Prosciutto, Sun Dried Tomatoes, and Fettuccine

Artichoke Hearts, Prosciutto, Sun Dried Tomatoes, and Fettuccine

Artichoke Hearts, Prosciutto, Sun Dried Tomatoes, and Fettuccine

Day 1 of my self-imposed month of personal work (or what my dear friend Emma more generously calls “my month of exploration.”)

Doggedly determined to do (and enjoy) all those things I always swore I would do if I wasn’t sitting at my desk at 7a I slept in, albeit waking up at 6:30a on the dot and smugly noticing that the “on” button on my alarm clock was humbly dark. I lounged in bed in my PJs. I ate toffee for breakfast. I watched two (two!) episodes of The Office and I even thought they were funny.

I made it until 12:15p.

And then, I couldn’t take it anymore. I leapt out of bed, cleaned the house, tidied up the kitchen, walked the dog in the pouring ran (the long loop!), picked up cupcakes for book club, and began organizing my closets.

Looks like I’ve got a ways to go until I reach that highly enlightened and peaceful state. In the meantime though, there’s always pasta.

This is very simple, quite yummy, and adapts well to being a base from which you can throw random leftovers into and use them up.

Make it on a rainy Thursday when you realize it might take more work than you thought to slow down.

Artichoke Hearts, Prosciutto, Sun Dried Tomatoes, and Fettuccine

14 oz can whole artichoke hearts, drained and quartered

1/2 small onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped

1/4 pound prosciutto, thinly sliced

4 oz sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced (packed in oil)

8 TB Olive oil

Salt and Pepper

Fettuccine for 4

1/3 cup heavy cream (optional)

Parmesan (optional)

  1. In a large non-stick skillet, add four TB olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the artichokes, season with salt and pepper, and cook until artichokes are softened and fully blended, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, bring large pot of water to a boil and cook fettuccine according to directions. Reserve 1/4 cup pasta water before draining.
  4. Add the basil, prosciutto, sun-dried tomatoes, and remaining four TB olive oil. Stir well and reduce heat to low, stirring occasionally, about another 5 minutes.
    Artichoke Mixture

  5. Add the artichoke mixture and pasta water to the cooked fettuccine and toss well. Like all things, this is better with a bit of cream, so if using that add now and toss to combine.
    Tossed
  6. Top with black pepper and freshly grated Parmesan.
    ArtichokeHeartsFinal

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Filed under Comfort Foods, Lactose Free, Month of Exploration, Pasta, Uncategorized

Eat. Breathe. Love. – Baked Artichoke Dip

MorningMimosas

Morning Mimosas in Walla Walla

I recently watched Julia Robert’s Eat. Pray. Love. and felt that while it was cute and moderately interesting it was not the brilliant and awe-inspiring story the critics had made it out to be. For those of you not familiar with the plot, Elizabeth Gilbert, successful NY author who seems to have it all wakes up one night and realizes she doesn’t want to be married anymore. What ensues is her personal struggle to figure out who she is, via three-month stints in Italy (Eat), India (Pray), and Bali (Love).

While I can’t claim to be nearly as tortured as Elizabeth, or as glamorous as Julia, I am at an interesting moment in my life. I am soon to be completing a one year contract doing work for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. However, in a move so uncharacteristic I’m questioning it myself I have NOT immediately lined up the next project. Rather, I’m hoping to take one month off before beginning my next adventure February 14th. Now, to most people taking one month off at some point in their late 20s or early 30s doesn’t seem so crazy. But, we’re talking about me here. The person who has blissfully had her life scheduled in 15 minute increments since the day I turned 14 and got my first Day-Timer. I am a person who craves order and control, and I’ve very purposely built a life on that.

So…upon assignment completion I will be kicking off my own little mini version of Eat. Pray. Love. Being a rather unsure agnostic I knew the Pray part wasn’t going to work so well, so I’ve changed it to Breathe.

Eat. – Here forth commences one month of totally indulgent cooking. I’m going to make sauces that take forever, I’m going to make so many muffins I don’t know what to do with them, I’m going to discover grocery stores in Seattle’s International District that I never even knew existed and I’m going to finally bite the bullet and try to make foie gras.

Breathe. – Does anyone else find breathing impossible? I do. I often realize as I’m falling asleep at night that I haven’t taken a single deep breath. So…I’m going to do yoga or Pilates every day and I won’t even ask the instructors if they have a speed class available.

Love. – They say that having a partner by your side makes the uncertain times that much easier. I couldn’t agree more. My lovely husband has been an absolute champion for this little adventure. What’s more…when I suggested to him that as part of this chapter I should perhaps take a cousin trip to Puerto Rico he totally agreed! So that’s how this experiment will end. One week in Puerto Rico with my lovely cousins.

Just some of the gang.

Just some of the gang.

This fall, as a sort of precursor to Puerto Rico, five first cousins set off for Walla Walla, WA. Arriving from Seattle and Portland we had an absolutely blissful weekend full of food, wine, laughter, dancing, and entirely ridiculous quotes that would make sense to no one else but us. We didn’t so much cook for the weekend as much as “melt stuff” but it was perfect all the same. This baked artichoke dip is sinfully delicious even if a bit ghetto. Make it ahead of time so that your guests don’t know what’s in it.

If bread, cheese, and artichokes don’t say “love” I don’t know what does.

Baked Artichoke Dip

1 medium-sized round loaf bread (cheap is okay)
1 can artichokes (well-drained and coarsely chopped)
1 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded + more for topping
2/3 cup mayo (don’t even bother with the light variety)
1 TB Lemon juice

Baked Artichoke Dip

Baked Artichoke Dip

Pre-heat oven to 350.

Carve out the round loaf of bread, reserving “filling” so that you can use it as crostini later. Cube filling into 2-inch chunks.

Mix remaining ingredients in a bowl and transfer to waiting bread bowl. Top with extra Parmesan cheese.

Bake in oven for 20-30 minutes, or until brown and bubbling. For last 10 minutes add bread chunks until lightly toasted. This is the perfect appetizer for a winter gathering.

**All photos by my lovely cousin Annie Laurie Malarkey.**

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Filed under Comfort Foods, Kitchen Trials and Tribulations, Make ahead, Seasonal Cooking, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

Walking, Weeping, and Wine: Grilled Reubens and Steamed Artichokes for One

Lucky The Dog, 2/14/1999 - 9/27/2010

Lucky The Dog, 2/14/1999 – 9/27/2010

I have been partaking quite a bit lately in the three ‘Ws’: Walking, weeping, and wine. Not someone who I would normally categorize as a crier (my cousin actually confessed to me the other day that while she’s of course saddened by what I’m going through right now, it has made me less of an “ice queen”), these past few weeks I have wept. The kind of tears that you try to hold back that seem to break down the walls and come out your teeth. I have wept for many reasons (the first year of marriage is so much harder than anyone tells you, the economy sucks, I recently discovered that I think I’ve grown a pair of love handles) but most palpably, most defensibly, I have wept for my dog.

[Caveat: To those new readers of Shut Up And Cook…first of all, welcome! I’m glad you’re here. Secondly, I promise I’m not usually this mopey, sappy, and long-winded. But for now…I am, so bear with me.]

To those who knew him, Lucky The Dog was a hell of a guy. I know that everyone thinks their dogs (and kids for that matter) are special and unlike any before them, but in the case of Lucky he really was. Won in a card game in Roxbury in 1999, he soon became the fixture of my husband’s life, and then mine. We lived in NY together, we traveled all over, and then in 2005 we moved to Seattle. A most dapper fellow, he could woo the biggest dog critic, with his quiet, self-assured, and utterly loving ways. When people saw a scary Pitbull walking down the street they would pick up their little dogs and scowl at us. What they didn’t know was that later that night our friend’s two year-old would be feeding him goldfish one by one, out of her tiny little palm. There was not a mean bone in Lucky’s body, but more than that, was his ability to intuit that around him. And, he was a damn champion snuggler.

These past few weeks we have watched in disbelief as his body failed him. His mind, still present, but increasingly fatigued, was still there, which was why the decision to put him to sleep was so excruciating. We agonized over whether we were doing the right thing, or not, and just when we were convinced we were, he would look at you in his entirely Lucky Dog way, as if to say, “what the hell is all this crying about??”.

I’ve always been a huge proponent of the miracle of endorphins, so as things got worse at home, as Lucky struggled more and more to climb to the stairs, or go for a ride, I found myself out walking. Walking in the rain, walking in the dark, walking with friends and family, and walking alone. I would walk, I would weep, and I would come home and open a bottle of wine. (Incidentally, I’ve always wished I could be one of those people who magically loses 5 or 10 lbs when grieving, but apparently, my genes don’t work like that. Curses.)

This past Thursday, at 3a in the morning, Lucky tried to climb the 1 foot into our bed and crashed over. An unbelievably stoic dog who could hardly stand any sort of embarrassment (think plaid fleece jackets for NY winters), he now was relegated to being carried around. After we lifted him into bed, my husband and I lay there next to each other not talking. Though no one said it, I think we both knew that the upcoming weekend would be Lucky’s last.

We made the decision that the vet should come Tuesday, and then spent the rest of the weekend in a sort of “dead man walking” induced fog; trying to be positive around Lucky, delivering Egg McMuffins to him in bed, walking, weeping, drinking wine, and trying to prepare ourselves for the unpreparable. In sitting down and trying to do a meal plan, I found that I was literally unable because I could only think of Sunday as two days before Tuesday, Wednesday as the day after…

Monday morning came and my husband emailed me at work to say that he thought it was time. Lucky wasn’t getting any better, and we owed him too much to let him suffer unnecessarily. I somehow managed to keep it together at work until 2p when I left, put on my big sunglasses, burst into tears, and began the drive home cursing every light and every bad driver that delayed me from spending one more minute with my Lucky.

I will spare you the agonizing details of our goodbye, the vet’s arrival, Lucky’s departure, and Onca’s confusion, but suffice it to say that it was peaceful. And kind. And loving. And truly awful. When it was over we loaded up into the Landcruiser, and we drove up into the mountains, to a spot that Lucky had enjoyed and loved for years. Digging a hole and bidding our sweet friend goodbye, we wished for him to come back, and made vows to get a 110 year tortoise next time as pet. We came out of the mountains as the stars were appearing, and returned home to our seemingly empty, off-balance house. Tumbling into bed with tired hearts and tired bodies, we slept.

Awaking this morning to a king size bed seemingly too large and too empty, Matt and I lay there next to each other, again silent, as though trying to summon the urge to get up and put one foot in front of the other. Just when I wondered if it would be possible, I heard that tell-tale sound…of Onca throwing up. Leaping out of bed, stubbing my tow, and dashing downstairs scantily clad I found Onca heaving up the rawhide bone (which she is not allowed to have because they make her throw up) that we had gotten for Lucky on his last day and he had uncharacteristically refused. And in that moment, because it was the only thing left I felt I could do, I laughed. And then I thanked Onca for reminding me just how much there still is in this little world of mine.

An avid proponent of the merit of comfort food, I just didn’t have it in me tonight. I did however, have a Costco size bag of artichokes (they’re surprisingly delicious and affordable there) and the fixings for the ultimate sandwich, The Reuben. Popping open a bottle of red wine, I quickly started the artichokes (which take FOREVER in my impatient opinion), assembled the reubens, and sat down alone to an appropriately sorrow filled dinner. As my mama says, “trust the process”.

Lucky's Final Resting Place
Lucky’s Final Resting Place


Grilled Reubens and Steamed Artichokes for One

Serve when you need to feel pampered a bit, but don’t have the energy for lots of dishes or fussy prep work.

Artichokes:

  1. Rinse the artichokes well to remove any lingering dirt.
  2. Trim the stem to about 2 inches.
  3. Trim the top of the artichoke to remove any particularly prickly leaves. N.B – I’d never actually done this because I thought it seemed silly and unnecessary, but I did tonight and it actually does make eating it more pleasant.
  4. Fill a medium sized pot with about 1/3 water and set in a steamer so about 1 inch of water is just covering it.
  5. Add the prepared artichoke, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until tender. These artichokes took about 45, although larger ones can take up to an hour. Make sure you have enough water in the pot so that it doesn’t boil off.

Grilled Reubens:

2 slices dark rye bread of good, hearty quality

2 TB butter

1/4 lb corned beef (I prefer to make my own, but you can get it sliced at the butcher…go for Boars Head, it’s worth it)

2 slices cheese, flavor of your choosing (Swiss is traditional, but I prefer Fontina…or if you’re lactose intolerant, that weird soy crap)

1/4 cup sauerkraut, slightly drained, I like Bubbies

1-2 TB Russian or Thousands Island Dressing

1 TB mayonnaise (because yes, everything IS better with mayo)

  1. Butter one side of each slice of bread. Put one slice, butter side down, in a cast iron skillet, and add the corned beef, cheese, and Russian Dressing. Top with second slice of bread.
  2. One a medium to low flame, cook until golden brown, and cheese melted.
  3. Remove from heat, remove the top slice of bread, add the mayo and saurerkraut, return top slice, flip over (so it doesn’t get soggy, a huge reuben pet peeve) and serve.

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Filed under 15-Minute-Meals, Comfort Foods, Lactose Free, Uncategorized