Saturday, September 29, 2007

more tales from the spring clean

Nature has a way of giving our body just what we need, exactly when we need it. In summer all that sweet, juicy fruit cools us down. Autumn gives us delicious stores of energy by way of nuts and grains. Winter vegetables come from the ground with starches to keep us going. Spring wakes us up and gives the liver a kick.

It is no accident that I choose this season to do a little detoxing. Leading me into this phase has been some great cleansing foods, fresh herbs like turmeric and nettles. Now as I pull out the other side of a week of mainly fruits and vegetables – it is time for one of my fast becoming favourite medicinal foods: artichokes.

This edible thistle is not only a flavoursome treat but a nifty way to lower cholesterol, encourage healthy liver function and a whole lot more. As Melbourne commences it’s down hill run – from grand final day today (aha, that’s why I can here people screaming outside!), through the spring racing carnival, then into the Christmas/New Year sprint – this liver assistance could not come at a better time.

While you can simply steam artichokes and dip the leaves in something luxuriously fatty, like olive oil or melted butter, I prefer to turn them into a complete meal. This is another variation on the Significant Eater’s stuffed artichokes. Befitting the upside of the end of my detox I whipped up this vegan, gluten-free version for lunch.

Vegan stuffed artichokes

nut mix
raw pistachio nuts (we were out of pine nuts)
1 cloves of garlic/per artichoke
a handful of parsley
1 sun dried tomato/per artichoke
(or a dash of salt and pepper)

Grind together in a food processor

Combine 1 part nut mix with 1 part rinsed, uncooked quinoa. I’m always amazed at how much stuffing can fit into the nooks and crannies of an artichoke. Depending on the size, you can squeeze in up to 1 cup.

Trim the top off the artichoke and rub with a little lemon juice to stop discoloration. Discard any outer leaves that are tough. Cut off the stalk and set aside to steam. Now start stuffing. Starting on the outside, ease apart the leaves and push in the mixture. It is easiest to use your hands. I tend to do it over the bowl holding the stuffing mix. Ease your way around, to fill in as many layers as you can be bothered with. I’ve often thought of Shirley Conran when I do this and mutter “and you thought life was too short to stuff mushrooms – try artichokes sometime!”

Place the stuffed artichokes in a steamer, along with the stalks and cook for 45-60 minutes. The leaves should be tender and the quinoa all light and fluffy.

To eat, peel off a leaf and scrape the stuffing off with your teeth.

Definitely not a dish for knives and forks.

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Blogger Lydia said...

Detoxing meal or not, this artichoke looks absolutely delicious!

8:16 pm  
Blogger Deborah Dowd said...

I love artichoks and you gave me just another reason to love them! Beautiful picture!

12:45 pm  
Blogger Cindy said...

That's the prettiest (and most appetising) detox dish I've ever seen!

2:47 pm  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

Thanx all. Don't forget for the non-vegans link to the original version with anchovies (just a touch) and pinenuts - it's even better than this one!

5:00 pm  

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