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Stuffed Artichokes

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Have you made stuffed artichokes? Until today, I never had. We used to get them all the time when we lived in Oak Park. There was one place in particular — a little sandwich/pizza place called Massa in Elmwood Park, IL — that made awesome stuffed artichokes. (They’re still open, but I don’t see stuffed artichokes on the menu. If you’re in the Elmwood Park area and you enjoy panini, I recommend the Giardino (seasoned grilled eggplant & zucchini, roasted red pepper, Portabella mushrooms, provolone cheese, leaf spinach, red onions, Roma tomatoes & basil pesto mayo) no mushrooms of course because mushrooms are gross.

Anyway, we hadn’t had stuffed artichokes since we lived in Illinois, so it’s been what, almost 10 years now. Holy crap I can’t believe we’ve been living in Colorado for almost 10 years. We never found a place in Denver that has stuffed artichokes and they seemed like a total pain in the ass to make, so we just forgot about them.

Until artichokes showed up in our weekly produce bin and instead of swapping them for something else I figured it’s about damn time we tried making stuffed artichokes. So tonight we did and . . . holy shit. Do you ever do that thing where you eat something really, really good and you kind of roll your eyes back into your head and say “Oh my god” several times? Homemade stuffed artichokes might make you do that. They’re exactly as good as the ones you get at a restaurant.

The good news is they’re not bad to make. The trick is to focus on stuffing the center of the artichoke and the outer leaves really well, and be okay with the fact that there will be some leaves in the middle that won’t get stuffed. When you’re eating them, you really won’t care.

As always, I took a shitty iPhone picture of my food.

stuffed artichokes

The other good news is I found a recipe on the internet that’s pretty much perfect from Saveur (here), so I don’t have to sit here and write a new recipe. The only adjustments we made were: add oregano and bake for 60 minutes. Also our artichokes were on the small size but we still used four and had the right amount of  filling and we forgot to broil after sprinkling cheese on top, but oh well. We made bread crumbs by baking a few slices of homemade French bread at 350 until dried and then crunching them up using a bowl and a cup mortar-and-pestle style.

If you’ve ever had even the slightest desire to make stuffed artichokes, you should totally do it. So good.

Written by Tracy

February 17th, 2013 at 8:33 pm

Posted in and life,Food

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Russell Westbrook & James Harden have excellent style.

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Did you see what Russell Westbrook is wearing at the 2013 NBA Celebrity Game? Holy crap it’s awesome.

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Photo from Russell Westbrook’s Facebook

I’m not sure it beats what James Harden is wearing, though. I couldn’t find a picture of his outfit so I had to take one of my tv.

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The shoes, which you can’t see here, are great.

I think Westbrook wins on clothes and Harden wins on glasses and, as always, facial hair. One of the best things I’ve ever read was the line in a Sports Illustrated article that said James Harden’s beard “juts outward from his chin as if trying to colonize other faces.” Love it.

Written by Tracy

February 15th, 2013 at 5:35 pm

Happy Valentine’s Day

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from my hipster Valentine to yours. xoxo

Written by Tracy

February 14th, 2013 at 7:15 pm

Posted in and life,Photos

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In Bed

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We’re not official co-sleepers or anything but more often than not, Soren gets into bed with us in the middle of the night. I always think it’s cute when he’s still in there after Ben and I get up.

An observation: If you ever feel a vague sense of sadness and/or anxiety coming on from nowhere, keep busy and if at all possible do something good for others. I think this is key. When your mind is full of good stuff, there’s less room for bad stuff.

Written by Tracy

February 13th, 2013 at 9:37 am

Posted in and life

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WTF do I do with this baby bok choy?

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Toasted sesame noodle salad

Well, the title of this post is kind of a lie because I’m not going to tell you exactly what to do with baby bok choy, or at least I’m not going to tell you exactly what I did with it tonight, because I used a recipe from a cookbook and didn’t make any changes to it and I’m not a plagiarist so I’m not going to reprint it here. I don’t know why I’m such a stickler about these things when we live in a world where nobody cares about food blogger plagiarism (not that I’m a food blogger) and food blogger plagiarists are known to be widely adored and get book deals and six-figure advances. But whatever, I’m many things but I’m no plagiarist.

Anyway, you don’t even need a recipe to cook bok choy. It’s a very forgiving vegetable, surprisingly mellow and delicious. Soren loves it, or at least he pretends he does even though when faced with it, he scrunches up his face and says he doesn’t want to eat it. (The other day someone asked him what his friends were named and the first thing he said was “Bok choy!”) You can stir fry it with pretty much anything, like tofu or Gardein Mandarin Orange Crispy Chick’n.

Tonight I made the Toasted Sesame Noodle Salad from Totally Vegetarian: Easy, Fast, Comforting Cooking for Every Kind of Vegetarian by Toni Fiore (no affiliate link). I’ve mentioned this book before and it’s really good — we’ve never made anything from it that wasn’t awesome. It’s a basic noodle salad with a tamari, sweet chili sauce, and ginger (it’s always a good idea to have fresh ginger in the house) dressing and scallions and cilantro. I added baby bok choy, which I thinly sliced and fried in a little oil first, and tofu, which I baked ahead of time.

The thing I’ve learned about tofu is that, unless you’re making tofu scram, you want to prepare the tofu ahead of time because otherwise it’s Tuesday evening and you’re making dinner and you don’t feel like dealing with the tofu in addition to everything else you’re doing. This time, I baked the tofu on Sunday night (based on this recipe) — thinly sliced and placed on an oiled baking sheet (I oil generously enough to coat one side of each slice of tofu and then flip it over so the result it that it’s oiled on both sides; seasoned with a drizzle of Bragg’s liquid aminos, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder; baked at 400 for 20 minutes on each side; refrigerated until needed and then cut into smaller pieces and thrown in with the bok choy when it was almost done cooking so the tofu wouldn’t be cold. The result is a super-firm texture even people like Ben who are very picky about texture, in particular the texture of tofu, will enjoy.

The noodle salad was one of the best things I’ve had to eat in a while. So good. Soren and Ben really liked it, too. The recipe makes a lot and I suspect this is the kind of thing that’ll taste even better the next day (the recipe says to let it sit for a few hours, which I didn’t do), so it’ll provide a few awesome lunches. This is good because as much as I’m all about homemade food, I sometimes eat frozen meals (organic, but still) at the office.
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Also, here’s a conversation with Soren from earlier tonight:

Soren: Mommy, what do you do at school?
Me: I don’t go to school. Do you mean what do I do at work?
Soren: Yeah!
Me: I’m an editor.
Soren: What’s an editor?
Me: Well, I take things people have written and make them better.
Soren: Oh okay. . . . Mommy, what’s written?

How would you explain your job to a 3-year-old?

Written by Tracy

February 12th, 2013 at 8:05 pm

Sadie Pinscher

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Min pin under pillow

I was worried that Sadie would start sleeping with Soren instead of Ben and me, but so far that hasn’t happened. She sometimes sleeps in his bed when he isn’t in it, but he usually kicks her out when he goes to sleep. I can’t even imagine not wanting to share your bed with a snuggly little dog. When Ben and I go to sleep, she snuggles with him. Eventually she moves to my leg triangle, which I think is self-explanatory — it’s the triangle that’s formed by one straight leg and one leg bent at the knee. The leg triangle makes a perfect sleeping spot for a little snuggly dog. On my terrible early-wake-up days, Sadie curls up under my pillow as soon as I get out of bed. I have to lift up the top pillow (I use 2) so she can snuggle under it.

Soren has been learning about the dogs. He knows Sadie is “a pinscher pinscher and a min pin” and has taken to calling her “Sadie Pinscher.” He knows Peaches is a Rottweiler. Coltrane is more difficult. It’s hard to say “black lab border collie,” so Soren usually refers to him as a “black border college.” The cats are generally classified as “tabby” or “non-tabby,” although I suspect that all cats are at least part tabby.

Written by Tracy

February 11th, 2013 at 11:57 am

Posted in and life,Animals

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Music for the Delaware

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This song (Daniel Avery – Drone Logic) is so hot. You should listen to it while you read this post. I don’t know why I keep thinking about songs in terms of what would be happening in a movie while they’re playing. This one has something to do with hippies, dancing, sex, someone getting killed, someone driving an exceptionally fancy car, and probably heroin. I don’t even think that makes sense.

MCA

This film was the highlight of our trip to MCA today. It was in a small gallery closed off by a heavy curtain. It’s called “Action for the Delaware” by William Lamson. In it, you see alternating footage of what appears to be a guy standing peacefully on the water and a guy struggling with the apparatus that allows him to appear to stand peacefully on the water and doing stuff like removing water from his wading boots. Soren was mesmerized and probably could’ve watched it all day, which would’ve been great because he didn’t nap this afternoon and was a raging grump ass. We tried to pawn him off on the innocent woman on guard duty in the basement. She was going to have him help her scrub the floors of the entire museum with a toothbrush. It would’ve built some character, I’m sure. Instead we went home for a late, short nap and then went out for veggie dogs and a tragic triple-overtime Nuggets loss. (We’d planned to hit up the arepas truck at Our Mutual Friend but it wasn’t there.)

MCA
MCA
MCA
MCA
MCA

Written by Tracy

February 10th, 2013 at 8:11 pm

Posted in and life,Denver

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