I enjoy reading food blogs from all over the world - in my view, it's the best use of the interwebs yet invented. Oh, you can claim that the exchange of scientific information is more important or that whole political movements have been fostered thanks to the internet, but I maintain that sharing food tips is the highest form of art that this medium is likely to achieve.
One of my faves, as much for the writing as for the food, is The Wednesday Chef, written by a most international person. She lives in Berlin, but I first found her in New York. Luisa Weiss - even her name is international. Through her posts, I have found that she has Italian and American parents, but she grew up in Berlin and now has returned there. She writes with a wonderful flair for words and images, and usually makes me laugh when she's not making me cry. I have never met Luisa, but I love her anyway.
So, when she reminded me that vegetables baked in parchment paper are wonderful, I tried out her recipe and My Beloved and I chowed down on these for dinner last night. My gmish is made up of new potatoes, a quartered fennel bulb, garlic, spring onion, olives and small, quartered artichokes, seasoned with fresh lemon zest, salt, olive oil and fresh thyme. Splendid. Really splendid.
Why am I telling you all this, instead of simply offering a link to her post? Because I found an easier way to prep the little 'chokes; now, it takes no time at all to throw together this wonderful main or side dish. Here's the deal:
Start bending the leaves backwards toward the stem - they will snap off, leaving the good, meaty part at the base behind. Keep doing that all the way around until the bases are all pale yellowish-green. Cut off the tip of the stem end if it's brown. If the harvesters have left a stem attached, go ahead and peel away the outer (tough) covering of the stem with a paring knife, but keep the middle, which is really just elongated heart - it's delicious. Cut off the top third of the leaves and there you have it!
If you want to keep the pale color, immerse your pieces in acidulated water but, honestly, the discoloration doesn't affect the flavor, so it's okay if you don't want to.
Now, doesn't that sound far more important than uprisings and scientific "progress?"