Marinated Veggie Antipasto

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Marinated Veggie Antipasto

The request: a veggie heavy, low-salt, vinegary snack

  • 5 stalks celery, cut into ½ in hunks; leaves minced
  • 1 bulb fennel, blanched and cut into slices
  • 5 carrots, peeled, blanched, and sliced on the diagonal
  • 5 large green olives, sliced in thirds
  • handful pitted kalamata olives
  • 2 spoonfuls marinated sun-dried tomatoes
  • handful chopped parsley
  • 3 freshly cooked artichoke hearts, quartered
  • 4 mixed red, orange, and yellow peppers, cooked and peeled
  • Red wine vinegar, balasmic vinegar, and extra virgin olive oil, to taste (it was a lot of each)

Add when eating: sliced sweet tomatoes or grape tomatoes; any kind of hard cheese (like gouda) or fresh mozzarella.

Note: This time dad grilled the peppers whole, no oil, directly on grate until black. Adds a smoky dimension to the antipasto, but I've found that cooking in the over, though it takes longer and heats the house (a good thing in winter!) yields a sweeter flavor. The important thing in either case is to let them cool to room temp before handling, since this makes peeling them go significantly faster, and never, ever, rinse in water.

Artichokes

The way I did it this time:

  • Clipped the tips of the leaves; plucked a few of the bottom leaves off; cut the top ⅓ off, used a vegetable peeler to peel the stem; awkwardly tried to remove the choke with knive, grapefruit knife, and spoon (and failed).
  • Put stem side up in lemon water; still browned quite a bit.
  • Boiled covered for 20 min, stem-side up, water covering about ⅓ of the artichoke. This resulted in tender artichokes.
  • Further prepped the artichoke by peeling off all leaves and using a spoon to remove the choke. Clean up much easier after cooking, but the heart now a brown color.
  • Dressed in juice of ½ lemon and salt, which was transforming
  • Added artichokes to the veggie antipasto.

Things I learned:

  • Don't skip the lemon bath; artichokes discolor quickly and it looks really bad.
  • Get artichokes with big stems: this indicates the heart is large
  • Prepping the artichoke before cooking is a real pain; do as much as you can get away with after the artichoke is nice and soft
  • Artichokes will hurt you.
  • It's ok to throw away most of the artichoke. You're really only after the heart.
  • Cooking the heart while in the artichoke will turn it brown.
  • Artichokes hearts are transformed when they meet lemon and salt.
  • You need an amazing knife.

Good way to get the heart:

At every stage where more of the heart is exposed, rub with a half lemon.

  1. Cut the top off with a serrated knife
  2. Cut around the sides, exposing the heart
  3. Cut more off the top until you get to the heart
  4. Using a paring knife, cut around the heart and off the stem until you only see yellow
  5. Cut heart in quarters
  6. Using a paring knife, remove the choke

Videos for help preparing artichokes:
To prepare an artichoke for stuffing
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTmLBRLRjS8
http://youtu.be/IowL0pnig1Y

To clean it out so you have just a raw heart
http://youtu.be/ZV7iU0NoYSs
http://youtu.be/0tgxQ1PsAB0
http://youtu.be/J3tivOcd530

Quarter the artichoke 1st; clean after cooking
http://youtu.be/SLWjq8rvgTk

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