Did you guys hear the news?! This little food blog of mine has become one of SIX finalists in Saveur's best food blog awards, for best cooking blog. Whattt! I can hardly contain myself, there has been a pit of excitement in my stomach all week.
I'm so humbled to be a finalist amongst so many blogs that I have been reading and admiring for so long. So long. Bloggers who've inspired me to start blogging about food. Wow. I really have no words - just stomach pits and butterflies.
Thank you to those who nominated me for such an honor, and if you enjoy reading, looking, and cooking from my corner of the internet … I would love your vote. You can only vote once, and it just takes a few seconds to fill out a registration form, but I will be forever grateful, and I promise to share a sweet recipe as a thank you.
After I received this news, my week took an even more "humbling" turn as I had one kitchen disaster after the next. My oven had to be shut down for a couple of days, and several recipes I tested ended up inedible. I was a hot mess, and so was my kitchen. I think I let all the excitement of the week get the best of me.
So I signed myself up for (my first ever) ariel yoga class, so I could zen myself out, hang upside-down, and maybe shake out all the crazy, excitable energy that was causing me to be a disaster in the kitchen.
It may have been exactly that I needed, because when I got back from class that night, I decided that instead of posting the most delicious, celebratory, fancy, kimchi-topped concoction that I could come up with …. why don't I just share some everyday food that I love. Food that I would eat on a normal day. Food that makes me happy.
Artichokes makes me happy, garlic makes me happy, quinoa makes me happy, pesto-y things make me happy. And here we are, with roasted artichokes, pesto-y peas, and quinoa "bread crumbs".
I love sharing this because it is like three recipes in one. Each one of these parts can stand on it's own. And these quinoa "bread" crumbs …. don't even get me started ….. there are about a thousand uses for these awesome (gluten-free) subs for real bread crumbs.
roasted artichokes + smashed pesto-y peas + quinoa "bread" crumbs
enough for 2-4ish as a side or a salad
for the artichokes:
a mix of artichokes (I used several purple baby artichokes, and three medium regular artichokes)
the juice of 1 lemon
for the quinoa "bread" crumbs:
1/2 cup of quinoa, rinsed well
a pinch of salt
a pinch of dried parsley
a pinch of red pepper flakes
a pinch of garlic powder
a few cracks of black pepper
for the smashed pesto-y peas:
1 cup of english peas, fresh or frozen (if fresh, removed from pods)
about 5 leaves of basil, chopped
1 garlic clove, pressed or minced
a pinch of salt and pepper
about 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
red pepper flakes (optional)
Start my making the quinoa "bread" crumbs:
- Pre-heat the oven to 350º.
- Cook the quinoa by adding the quinoa to a small saucepan with one cup of water. Bring to a boil, then cover, and reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.
- When the quinoa is done, transfer it to a baking sheet. Speread it in a thin layer across the baking sheet. This is important, because you want it to toast evenly. If it is too thick, the quinoa on top will not toast properly.
- Place the quinoa in the fridge for about 20 minutes to cool.
- Once it has cooled down, place it in the oven for 30-35 minutes until it turns golden brown.
While your quinoa is cooking, prepare + cook the artichokes:
- Prepare a bowl filled with water and 1/2 a lemon squeezed. Also prepare a pot of water to blanch the artichokes by bringing a medium saucepan with water to a boil. Lastly, prepare a bowl to toss and marinate the blanched artichokes by combining a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, some salt + pepper, and 1/2 a lemon, juiced.
- Then, pull off and discard the dark green outer leaves of your artichokes until you get to the tender, inner yellow ones. Cut off the top 1/4 inch (where the prickly bits are). Then cut off any brown parts on the bottom of the stem. Using a paring knife, shave off the rough edges around the base. Slice the artichoke in half and place it in the bowl of lemon water. Repeat until all of the artichokes are done. If you have larger artichokes, you also want to remove the prickly insides that surround the heart using a spoon.
- Transfer the artichokes from the lemon water into the boiling water and blanch for 2 minutes for the baby ones, and several minutes for the larger ones.
- Using a slotted spoon, remove the artichokes from the boiling water and transfer them to the olive oil / lemon marinade bowl. Toss then to coat with the mixture.
- In a cast iron pan over medium heat, cook the artichokes for about 3-5 minutes on each side, until they have lightly browned. Set aside until you're ready to assemble.
Make the smashed pesto-y peas:
- If you like, you can using the same blanching water as the artichokes. Bring a small pot of water to a boil and cook the peas for a few minutes until they are tender but still have a bite to them.
- Remove them from the water and place in a bowl and add the basil, garlic, salt, pepper, and lemon juice and smash them with a fork or a potato masher until they are roughly mashed and all the ingredients are combined.
Finish making the quinoa "bread" crumbs and assemble the dish:
- Place the toasted quinoa into a food processor and add all the seasoning. Run the food processor until you have a fine textured crumb. Taste and adjust any seasoning as necessary.
- Assemble the dish by layering the smashed peas on the bottom and laying the artichokes on top and finishing with a sprinkle of the quinoa bread crumbs.