Artichokes have been on my mind. Maybe because here on the east coast they are so hard to get fresh. Maybe I’ve been thinking about how my mom would boil them and we’d peel the leaves and dip in something wonderfully fatty like mayo or butter. Maybe because a cousin posted on Facebook: “I don’t know what I like more: artichokes themselves, or that they are such great vehicles for ridiculous amounts of mayonnaise.”
Whatever the reason, I spent a few days painting nothing but artichokes, doodling them in my notes during phone calls, and planning ways to cook them for my husband who doesn’t really get the big deal. I blame that on his east-coast upbringing. I also found myself ordering anything artichoke at restaurants — with the winner by-and-far being the fried artichoke dish from Red Hen a couple of weeks ago, alas, no longer on their menu it seems! I found it was best followed by their egg cream dessert — hoping that will be a mainstay!
The main card I post here, with the words, “Do you know how lovely you are?” is one of my first attempts, the edges are more round. The words are from the poet Rumi; I chose the words because on first gander an artichoke is nothing to look at. It seems surprising anyone ever thought to pick them before they flower and try to eat them. I submitted this card to an “etegami call” from France — see it posted here.
The second card features a phrase I’ve used before, “Life is a blatant act of imagination,” from Jess Walter’s Beautiful Ruins. I am grateful to those who imagined that the artichoke is something that one might eat!
The last features the words of my cousin — I sent it off to her and hope she enjoys it. I painted it using a bamboo pen (see one here). It takes the ink very heavily at the beginning, when you first dip the point, so when you start to draw it gets very blobby. I like the blobs.
Finally, with all these artichokes, one is bound to get hungry! I recently made an artichoke and shrimp pesto pasta, inspired by this post. I bought two artichokes, trimmed the hell out of them, cut them in quarters, and boiled them for 10 minutes. Next, I drained them, tossed in olive oil, salt, and pepper and roasted them for about 20 minutes at 425 degrees. While they were baking I sliced a summer squash and about 4 mushrooms, and prepped some small pasta shells (enough for about 3 servings). I also made some parsley pesto — 1 1/2 cups parsley, 4 cloves garlic (yeah, I really like garlic) minced, 1/4 cup parmesan grated, 1/4 or less cup pine nuts toasted, and about 1/4 or less cup olive oil, plus black pepper). When the artichokes were done baking, stir fried the squash and mushrooms a bit in a little oil, added the shrimp and artichokes, and when the shrimp were done (really only take about 4 mins to cook through) I added the pasta and pesto, mixed them up and we were ready to eat. I added a little lemon juice in the last minute after adding the pasta and pesto. Enough for three people.