Friday, February 25, 2011

Tanya vs. Artichoke

This vegetable got the better of me yesterday.  I'm not sure what went wrong, but it was an utter failure.  Better luck next time artichoke.

The directions seemed easy enough.  I even watched a video.  Actually I watched three.  How to prepare, cook and serve artichokes.  I chose the baking method so I could multi-task.  I trimmed the stem and the tops and the pointy ends from the leaves.  I drizzled olive oil and balsamic vinegar just as the video recommends.  Against my better judgment, I wrapped each artichoke in two pieces of foil (such waste) and I baked.
After an hour and fifteen minutes at 400* I removed the artichokes and let cool completely.  Naturally I had to taste test so I peeled off a piece and chewed.  And chewed.  And chewed.  And chewed.  It wasn't going anywhere.
Why then did I decide to serve these up for my guests, I'm not quite sure.  I suppose I thought it was just one bad piece and the rest of the leaves (is that what they are called?) would be softer.  Easier to chew.  The video made it look so easy.
It was a great dish in theory...use the baked artichokes as a soup bowl of sorts.  I have to admit it did look rather pleasing to the eye, all laid on a bed of Cauliflower Rice.  It was innovative, fun, unique and delicious.  Except for one thing.  That darned artichoke.  My poor guests were not sure what to do.  I was not sure what to do.  But we all attempted to eat the artichoke.  And one-by-one we began pulling pieces of un-chewable artichoke out of our mouths and while attempting to be graceful, set it back on the side of our plates. 

What did I do wrong?  Any artichoke experts out there?  Did I overcook the vegetable?  Did I undercook the vegetable?  The video showed using the artichokes for "chips" for dip and so many other wonderful uses.  I would love to know how to do it right and utilize this delicious vegetable!
While the artichokes failed, the rest of the meal was spectacular.  It was one of the easiest dishes I have every put together and the flavors did not disappoint!  My guests were very happy (at least that's what they tell me!)

Chickpea and Greens Curry Stew

2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3 cups (or one bunch) collards, or other green (spinach, kale)
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 can lite coconut milk

In large stock pot or crock pot heat coconut oil.  Stir in seasonings with 1 tbsp water until it creates a nice paste.  Add in chopped greens and saute until wilted (5-10 minutes).

Add in diced tomatoes and drained chickpeas and coconut milk with about a cup of water (more or less to bring soup to desired consistency).

Heat to boiling, and reduce heat and simmer for an hour.  Serve over a bed of rice or grain or change it up and serve over Cauliflower Rice like I did!

Cauliflower Rice

1 head cauliflower

Chop cauliflower into florets.  Place in food processor and process until it resembles rice, about 1-2 minutes.
The cauliflower rice is so delicious, so healthy and just so much fun!  We all enjoyed it!
As I mentioned above,  I placed an artichoke over a bed of cauliflower rice, and poured the stew right into the artichoke, allowing it to fall out the sides and cover the cauliflower.  It was an amazing mix of flavors and such a fun dish.  Now, I just need to get the artichokes right!
But now, here's where I have gotten ahead of myself...I am forgetting all about the amazing appetizer I created for last night's dinner.
Sweet Potato Hummus and Homemade Naan.  This was the best hummus I have ever had!  This hummus kicked regular hummus right out the door!  (Recipe coming soon)

Dessert was also another major hit.
A simple fruit crumble.  We served this with a side of banana soft serve and our guests were amazed.  The best part about this dessert, you can even have it for breakfast.  Which is what I am about to do now!  So you will have to wait for this recipe as well!

Notice as always how there are no photos of people!  I am failing big time at my New Year's Resolution!

Despite the lack of photos, Mr. Kummerow and I enjoyed a wonderful evening with the Hudson's.  They are a couple that we really admire and strive to emulate.  While Mr. Kummerow and I were going through some rough times this past year, our pastor Doug (I know I've been talking about him a lot lately!) suggested we seek out mentors that will be there to pray with us and for us and encourage and support us.  It is so important to have good examples of healthy Christian marriages and relationships in life.   And having a support team behind us 100%.  (Kay, Toby I'm not sure you are aware that that is now your responsibility!  Your payment is yummy vegan dinners whenever you want!)

It really isn't just about marriage either, it's about our own personal relationship with Christ.  And Kay and Toby are strong, mature Christians that really inspire Mr. Kummerow and me.  We had such a wonderful evening with them discussing our church, our families, our lives, and of course Africa!  It was a such a blessing to have them over for dinner.

This morning as Mr. Kummerow and I were reading our "Outlive Your Life" workbook we found this quote from Max Lucado, "It's no accident that hospitality and hospital come from the same Latin word, for they both lead to the same result: healing.  When you open your door to someone, you are sending a message: You matter to me and to God.  You may think you are saying, Come over for a visit.  But what your guest hears is, I'm worth the effort."

Do you know people who need this message?  I have several in mind that I am anxious to have over for dinner.  While it can be a lot of work to prepare a dinner party, it is always so worth it!  I get caught up trying to impress my guests with fancy meals (enter artichoke failure here) but I need to remember it really isn't about the food, it is about the fellowship.  Most likely your favorite tried and true recipe is the best to serve to guests because it is practiced and signature to you.  I encourage you to use your homes as a place of healing by opening your door for fellowship and relationship building.


  1. Cauliflower rice sound brilliant! Do you cook it or just chop it up and eat it raw? What about seasoning, just salt and pepper or some Earth Balance?

  2. I microwaved it for about 2 minutes just to heat it up. I didn't season it at all, but of course I served it with stew. I suppose you could season it however you like.

    Thanks for reading the blog!

  3. Hi Tanya:

    I love artichokes, too. They can be aggravating. I steam my artichokes. I wad up tin foil, throw them in the pot with water and lemon juice, put the artichokes on top of the tin foil and turn up the heat to a boiling temp. Depending on the size of the artichokes, it may take 30-45 minutes for them to become tender. Good luck. I'm anxious to try your chick pea and greens recipe.

    Have a good weekend. Susan Gray

  4. From my experience you kind of scrape the meat off the leaves, but don't eat them. And then the artichoke heart is fully edible?

  5. I was just going to say the same thing as girlevolving, I didn't think you were supposed to eat the entire leaf, you just kind of put the leaf in your mouth and scrape the "meat" from it with your teeth.

  6. the artichoke turned out so pretty! Was even scraping the meat off the artichokes difficult? That's how I usually eat them.
    I've never heard of cauliflower rice, but it looks awesome- what a fun idea!