Last evening, I was driving into Boston to meet up with my family for dinner. The traffic was maddening. And as I accepted the fact that this drive, on top of another long drive completed yesterday, was going to take awhile and test my patience, I got to thinking.
Sometimes, driving in traffic is a metaphor for life. You have to know when to, in no particular order, speed up, slow down, take a chance, ask permission, be cautious, make a plan, and accept the circumstances you have been dealt.
What does this have to do with anything?
Well, over the years I have realized that often my first reaction when challenges present themselves is alarm. I honestly can’t help it, it is part of my DNA and I don’t say that to be cavalier. I think when you are a descendant of a persecuted nation, that fight or flight, protection of your interests is ingrained into you. It’s an inherited trait, but over the years, I’ve managed to not completely quiet the alarm but let’s just say dull it a bit.
So when we came home from our wonderful summer vacation to little house issue, there was a momentary period of time when my alarm was ignited, but then the lessons of traffic kicked it. Let’s accept the circumstances, make a plan, speed up our decision making (I take my time on most decisions), slow down our expectations of how quickly everything will get resolved, be cautious and spend the time and energy to put everything back together correctly (and then some). Not sure who I am asking permission of in this circumstance but I guess I ask it of myself to boo hoo just a teeny bit as needless to say this is a project I was not in the mood for as a summer close out!
But the good news is that when all is said and done, things may be better than before. It’s like when the traffic finally eases and you can see the destination in view. We’ve made it through the most difficult part of the process – remediation.
So, that my friends is what kept me from sharing this fun recipe last week because between all the things that needed to get done, there was no time to edit photos and write a blog post!
But before I get to the recipe, let me throw in this little bonus that I posted to my Instagram this week…
I named it Late Summer Cherry Tomato Soup for One. I had some yellow and red cherry tomatoes that were a bit too tired for a salad, but roasted with garlic, basil and pureed with a bit of chicken broth and more basil provided a light and healthy lunch for one! Here is my recipe. In 8 years of The Kitchen Scout, I have never written a recipe within a post so the formatting is a bit off. If you want to make it, try printing the page?
Late Summer Cherry Tomato Soup for One
2 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes
1 large garlic clove
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and Pepper
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
Toss tomatoes and garlic clove with a little evoo, a few torn fresh basil leaves, salt and pepper in a 8X8 pan. Roast in a 400 degree oven until the tomatoes are jammy, 20-25 minutes. Pour all contents of the pan into a blender, along with the chicken broth and a few more basil leaves (never enough!). Puree until smooth. Reheat over low flame until warmed through. Season to taste and enjoy. Voila – soup for one!
Now, onto today’s official recipe share.
Stuffed Artichoke Bottoms have travelled with me to three parties over the course of the summer and they have been consistently well received. I found the recipe online and thought they sounded too delicious to pass up.
First of all, the artichoke bottoms are canned so you are not doing any heavy lifting in the kitchen with this recipe, other than rinsing them off and patting them super dry. The bottoms are located right next to the artichoke hearts in the market and are super meaty, providing a nice little nest for the filling. There are a few brands on the market, but if you can find Roland I prefer them because they are a bit smaller than Pastene which has maybe 4 large bottoms in a can. Pastene is fine if that is what you can find, but you may want to cut them into smaller pieces after they have cooled for serving…
The filling is reminiscent of artichoke dip with a few extras that take it up a notch. Mayo, parmesan cheese, lemon zest and juice, toasted pine nuts and some parsley are the key ingredients, along with panko bread crumbs. The ingredients are mixed together and then loaded into the artichoke bottom, drizzled with some olive oil and baked until golden.
The first time I made Stuffed Artichoke Bottoms, I followed the recipe to the tee, making the filling without the bread crumbs and then dipping the tops of the filled artichokes into a mixture of the bread crumbs and olive oil.
The second time I made them, I mistakenly added the breadcrumbs into the filling. When I realized this, I just kept moving, drizzled them with olive oil, baked as directed and nobody was the wiser. I think in all honestly, it saves a step and makes the recipe easier to just mix the bread crumbs into the filling. If you want a crunchier top then by all means leave them out of the filling and dip the artichokes into the breadcrumbs directly. Don’t worry – I spell this all out in the recipe!
I mean, looking at these right now, I’m not sure why you would add the extra step because don’t these look crumbly enough?!!!
I had extra when I made them for the photographs and my daughter was soooo happy about it…
They are great as an appetizer but you could also serve them as part of a buffet or a light lunch…
And you can absolutely cut them into smaller pieces (after they have cooled please) to get more pieces…
So, what do you think? Will you be making Stuffed Artichoke Bottoms soon? And what about Late Summer Cherry Tomato Soup for One? I would love it if you let me know.
Until next time…