I’m not certain where the month of July has gone, but it surely has. This has been known as the “silly season” in my field. Too many projects, too short of timelines – and well, too much in general. The month did start off with a bang! Literally. I spent the 4th of July weekend in the San Diego area. A small-town parade and barbecue on Coronado Island, Beautiful fireworks lighting up the beautiful sky, and of course, great friends to spend time with…
This month for the Cottage Cooking Club, I was planning on making 4 recipes. And really, who couldn’t fit in a little stir-fry and some sliced cucumbers with mint? Who? Me, that’s who. But I did complete two recipes. Though I’m embarrassed to show one of them. Not because the vegetables are not beautiful, but because, well, so very easy! Might as well start there!
One of my chosen recipes was for Artichokes. Simple, steamed artichokes. They are one of my favorite vegetables, and often make their way to my table. I particularly like the medium sized ones – they are perfect for a quick meal, and small enough that you can actually eat the heart before you are completely full! To be honest, I followed my regular plan. I cut off the tops, and if I want to be “fancy” or just make sure that no one gets stabbed with the little spikes at the end of the leaves, I will trim the leaves as well. It does make for a prettier presentation.
These then get steamed, cut side down for about 30 minutes. I have a couple of ways to check them. One is to pierce the bottom of the choke with a knife to see if it’s cooked through. Another that I’ve often seen (and sometimes do) is to pull off one of the leaves – sort of near the middle – if it comes off easily, and the meat appears to be cooked, they are ready. I love the color of artichokes too! especially the combination of purple and green. So pretty!
I’m kind of a purist with artichokes. If I want to be fancy, I will sometimes pull out the center leaves, scrape out the choke itself (the little fibers in the middle), and place the leaves back to create a little cup. That can be filled with whatever you’re dipping the leave in. I used to use sour cream topped with caviar, but something like a shrimp salad would be wonderful too. But usually, I just opt for mayonnaise. I have some cute artichoke plates that I inherited. I can’t think of a better summer meal than a perfectly cooked artichoke – served hot or cold – just wonderful!
The other recipe I completed was Peperonata. This is another version of sauteed peppers, this time, with an egg baked on top. It can be used as a topping for crostini, or in plenty of other ways – but as I was planning on this for dinner – well, what isn’t good with an egg on top? This recipe uses multi-colored peppers and they really are beautiful!
Once the peperonata is made, for this presentation, it’s either placed into individual baking dishes, or it could remain in the pan. Eggs are broken on top, and baked for a few minutes. I topped mine with a bit of Parmesan cheese.
This was quite tasty. I think I like it better as just a topping, or alongside other things as a side dish, but this is a good example of this type of recipe.
Alas, I did not get to the other two recipes as promised. That does not mean that I didn’t take advantage of the fresh produce that July had to offer.
All in all, July was a great food month, even if I didn’t stick with the script the way I should have. I’m sure that all of the other members of the Cottage Cooking Club came up with wonderful dishes as well. You can find them here.