Monday, April 25, 2011

Stuffed Artichokes

I brought all of the food for an overnight trip to Joshua Tree National Park. My college buddy brought all the camping equipment since we were going in her car. We were hoping to catch the show of wild flowers and cacti in bloom. We did!

Last year we went in late March and witnessed the Joshua trees (pictured) sprouting white stocks similar to yucca bushes. This year in mid-April only a few late bloomers in the highest elevations still had flowers. However, we enjoyed the teddy bear chollas, ocotillos, and other cacti blooming now when last year we were too early.

This is a magical, other worldly place. Joshua Tree. Ever listen to U2? Our park ranger told us that this Irish band capitalized on this park without actually stepping foot on its premises! Yes, they stayed at a nearby hotel and got their picture taken in front of a yucca brevifolia, but never viewed the crazy rock formations, or seen the unbelievable view of Coachella Valley and snow topped mountains behind Los Angeles from Keys point. Don't you ever make such a poor judgement. This is a national treasure. Promise me you'll go someday


1 butternut squash

2 artichokes

1/4 olive oil

4 cloves garlic

juice of 1/2 lemon

salt & pepper

4 oz. Kalamata olives

1/4 cup pine nuts

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut butternut squash in half lengthwise and lay cut side down onto baking dish. Add 1/4 inch water(1/2 up your thumb nail) and bake for 45 minutes until skin gives slightly when pressed.

2. Cut artichokes in half starting at the stem. Place in large stock pot only filling water level up to 3/4 the height of the artichokes, so that the vegetable is not submerged under water.

3.Drizzle olive oil over the artichokes and add the cloves of garlic, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to the water. Bring contents to a boil and simmer on medium heat for 30 minutes until the stem is fork tender. Drain and scoop out flower fibers with a spoon or small knife and discard. Set on serving plates.

4. Scoop out seeds from squash, slice meat into cubes without actually scoring the rind. Using a large spoon scoop out the cubes from the cooked squash. set into a medium bowl. Add sliced Greek style olives and pine nuts to the bowl. Mix gently to keep the squash from turning too mushy.

5. Pile generously onto the artichoke halves.

We dined well. I also packed the left over roasted tomato orzo salad and these paired together well. Served as a cold lunch on a beautiful day in the park.

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