Okie Dokie, Artichokie!

Hi Friends!
I am sorry that my postings have not been very consistant in this last week.  Last week we started a new semester at school, and it was a crazy week of learning new names, and ultimatly being exhausted at the end of the day.  For those who might not know, I am an English teacher in South Korea.  Last week’s meals consisted of a lot of eating out, as well as some classics that I have already posted such as my roast beef and potatoes (although I have to admit I cooked them better the second time.  I also made a quick stove top mac and cheese semi-similar to the one I posted previously.
Today was supposed to be payday in our house, so head to the grocery store to get some much needed sustenance   However, payday didn’t happen and it turned out to be a clean out the cupboards kind of night. I had thought about this previously and last night I looked up some recipes for the week.  I have two LARGE COSTCO jars of marinated artichokes, and other than throwing them in a salad I really didn’t know what to do with them.  So I went on a google search for things to do with marinated artichokes.  I came up with a few good ideas, but one that stood out above all others.  Knowing that I had all of the ingredients, or rather could sub the ingredients with something I did have, I planned this meal for today.  Thanks to the help of The Kitchen Eclectic  I was able to throw together a meal that was worthy of any special occasion.
I did make some substitutions to her recipe as needed, or wanted, but I didn’t miss anything from the original.
First I started out boiling a pot of water, and putting on noodles to boil (This is a pasta sauce).  As I did that, I made a large batch (about 5 cups) of almond milk.  I don’t have a very powerful food processor, so I actually made a smaller batch, strained it, made another one, strained it, and then put all the pulp back in, added more water, and strained it again.  I think I should have gotten 6 cups minimum out of the 3 cups of almonds I milked, but I didn’t want it to be watery and only made five cups.
After the milk was made and the pasta was done, I cut up and cooked up some bacon.  I usually take a whole package at once, and cut it in 1/2 inch to 1 inch sections, so I can make bits out of it.  I started cooking the bacon in the pot from the pasta, thinking I could make this dish a one pot wonder, but I realized that I could not get the bacon crispy in a big soup pot, so I left all the fat in there, but transferred the bacon to a frying pan, which I wound up using for the rest.
I know, exciting right? raw meat!  Well the next photo is a little more appetizing for those who like bacon!
Okay yummmm Look at the sizzle!
I then drained this very well on paper towels and washed out the pan.  Often if something tells me to use butter, and I cook bacon with it, I just use bacon grease, but today I felt like cutting the fat out a little.  I washed the pan out, and added 5 tablespoons of olive oil, and 5 tablespoons of organic whole wheat flour to make a roux.
I whisked a lot to make sure the flour was well incorporated.  Then I slowly added 2 cups of (almond) milk, 1 cup of water, and 1 cup of chicken stock (in my case one cup of water with one teaspoon of bouillon in it).
While adding these ingredients slowly, you whisk the entire time.
Next I continued whisking, and added 9 teaspoons of the oil that was in the jar with the artichoke hearts.  Work the oil into the sauce slowly, and thoroughly or it will quickly separate.
Next I chopped up the artichokes and threw them along with maybe a tablespoon of minced garlic into the sauce.  One thing I notice when cooking with almond milk instead of cows milk is that it does not scald so fast, and I did not have to worry about overheating my sauce.  I could boil it to the thickness I wanted and didn’t have to worry about burning the milk.
I actually used about 15 artichokes in my sauce, not the 6-8 suggested in the recipe.  I love them, and after tasting the sauce which seemed a little bland, I felt that it needed more.
I cooked it until it was a nice thickness, and then poured it on a plate over pasta.  Like many of my meals, I used green beans as my veggie.  I don’t have a ton of food in my house right now, and green beans are what I have.  So we eat a lot of them.  It is a good thing we love them!  🙂
Finally, I sprinkled some of my bacon bits over the top.  This touch is not necessary if you add a little salt to the dish, however, just a sprinkling, added just the right amount of salt.  A little pepper would have been good too, or the red pepper flakes in the original recipe.
On Saturday, Jeremy and I went to the Louvre exhibit in Seoul, and afterwards, we went out to a very nice dinner in Uno Chicago in CoEx mall.  There we both had meals that were cream based.  They were delicious but very rich.  I have stopped using dairy in most of my cooking unless it is yogurt, cheese, or sour cream (I have allergies), so our bodies were not used to so much heavy cream.  I say this because in the fallowing recipe, I replaced the milk, and the dish was amazing!  The dish was very light, and did not bog us down the way that this same dish may have if made with milk or cream.  Next time, I may in fact add a little Parmesan  cheese grated on top, but maybe not.   It was pretty good the way it was.
  • 1 lb. cooked pasta (something that has holes in it to catch all the good sauce)
  • 5 T olive oil (original recipe says soft butter)
  • 5 T whole wheat flour (original recipe says all purpose flour, either work fine)
  • 2 C (almond) milk
  • 1 cup stock (veggie, or chicken)
  • 1 cup water
  • 9 t oil from the jar of marinated artichokes
  • 1 T minced garlic (original recipe says 3 cloves of roasted garlic)
  • 15 artichoke hearts (quartered with leaves separated) I chopped mine up more.
  1. Make a roux by vigorously whisking the flour into the hot oil.
  2. Reduce heat.
  3. While whisking, add milk, broth, and water slowly and constantly whisking.
  4. Continue whisking and add artichoke oil.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in garlic and artichoke hearts.
  6. While warm, pour over pasta and mix thoroughly.

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