Saturday, March 12, 2016

Who, Nu? - Mexican Chorizo Stuffed Artichokes

Project Zero is, for all intents and purposes, completed. I would feel elated but for the fact that a project that should have taken me four hours had to be stretched out over two weeks. Moving on to the next project, I have started sorting books for the shelves in the upstairs hallway, and this is going to lead naturally into The Wonderful World of Fiber Arts. Yarn Out The Yin Yang. Innumerable Needles, Hellacious Quantities Of Hooks. Going through my craft supply boxes is like a mini-Christmas morning, which raises the oldest question in the Universe, the one I've been running from my entire life: Who knew I had all that stuff? Who Knew? Who Knew? (If you don't get the joke, Google Dorium Maldovar.)

But for right now - it is Saturday morning - I can do little more than sit on the bed, work on the blog, and indulge in some health-related worrying. Last week the optometrist very carefully explained to me the seriousness and symptoms of retinal detachment. She explained how to check for it, and what to do (treat it as a medical emergency) and which doctors to make an appointment with should the symptoms appear. This was all separate from the whole cataract extravaganza.

So I appreciated her caution, because who knew that five days later I would start to see the little flashy things - light bursts - in my right eye? And that the very next day, upon awakening, I would see the floaters? And why do these things always happen to me on the weekend?

Monday. I'll call the retinal specialists on Monday. Until then, I'll worry.

Last night Rob and I were guests at an engagement party for Terry and Dan's oldest son. I like happy occasions, and this crowd was happy.  The only sad part was being hit in the face with the Wet Fish of Regret, reminding me how much I miss working with Terry and Brenda and having them as part of my daily life.

Here is the Stuffed Artichoke recipe. Very adaptable to different types of sausage or cheese (pepper jack, anyone?) and variables such as bell peppers or jalapeƱos cooked along with the leeks and garlic.

Alcachofas Rellenas (Stuffed Artichokes)

4 medium artichokes
1-6 oz. box Stove Top Savory Herbs Stufing Mix
1 1/2 cup hot water
About 6 oz. of Mexican chorizo
2 medium leeks, light parts only, halved and sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons grated cotija cheese

Olive oil (garlic-infused if you have it)
Additional grated cotija cheese

Cut off the top 1/4 to 1/3 of each artichoke and trim the stems. Steam the artichokes, cut side down, for 15 minutes. Once they are cool enough to handle, remove the inner leaves and the choke. Be patient with this step; you want to remove all of the spiky, inedible choke without removing too many of the center leaves. Trim the spiky tips of the leaves with kitchen scissors.  Set aside while you prepare the stuffing.

In a large bowl mobile the stuffing mix and the hot water. Use a fork to combine just until the stuffing is moistened, then set aside.

Remove the chorizo from its casing and place in a skillet over medium-high heat. Break up the chorizo with a metal spoon as it cooks. After 2 minutes, it will have fallen apart and released a good amount of fat, so add the leeks and garlic, lower the heat to medium, and cook until the leeks are tender and the chorizo is lightly browned. Combine the chorizo with the stuffing mix, and add the cotija cheese.

Stuff each artichoke starting with the center, and then between the individual leaves. Place the artichokes in a baking dish so that they fit snugly and sit upright, or cheat like me and use an extra-large muffin tin (sometimes called Texas-sized). At this point I covered them with foil and put them in the refrigerator until it was closer to dinner time.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Drizzle some olive oil over the artichokes and sprinkle with a good amount of cotija cheese. Pour a small amount of water in the baking pan, or in the empty cups of the muffin tin (my preference), cover with the foil and bake for 30-40 minutes, until the stuffing is heated through.

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