I usually do what so many people do - have artichokes as a first course hot or cold, lightly dressed, or in salad or pasta. A couple of days ago we saw some lovely young artichokes at the market and bought something like nine of the little dears. Then what to do with them! We have sworn off oils (except for a very little), so having them in a vegan 'butter' or a vinaigrette was out of the question. Hmmm, pasta or salad. Or something else? I have always enjoyed them stuffed in restaurants, so - nothing loath - I gave it a try.
I selected four artichokes and prepared them in the usual way, although I chose to leave an extra layer of leaves (not to be eaten) around the outside for ballast, as it were.
While they were steaming upside down in a little water, I threw together a stuffing made of a slice of bread (all I could find was dark rye - very un-Italian!) reduced to crumbs, around one-third of a package of firm tofu, crumbled, a couple of green onions, finely chopped, about half of an orange bell pepper, finely chopped, some sage, some minced garlic, nutritional yeast, crushed chilies (yeah I know, I put them in everything nearly), black pepper, a little low-sodium soysauce and lemon juice. I think that was all.
When I could handle the artichokes, I pushed the stuffing down wherever I could between leaves, etc., and then set the artichokes in a baking pan, covered lightly with foil, and shoved them in the oven (at around 325 F for 10 minutes to warm them up. Very nice to eat, but a little lacking aesthetically :)
ARTICHOKES IN TOMATOES
These were today's effort. It is much the same as in Donna Klein's Vegan Italiano, except of course adapted to our peculiar dietary habits. I prepared the rest of the artichokes (about a pound was left) as usual, then cut them in half lengthways. While they were sitting in a bath of acidulated water (gotta do that or they turn brown), I steam-fried 5 finely chopped cloves of garlic until softish, then added half of a 28-ounce can of plum tomatoes, which I had attacked with a potato masher to crush them in their juice. Works for me.
I cooked these with half a tsp of oregano until well blended then drained the artichokes and added them to the tomato mix along with quite a few grinds of black pepper. When it all came to the boil, I reduced the heat and simmered until the artichokes were tender, stirring it all now and then. Somewhere along the line I added half a cup of water or more, because it was fast disappearing on me. Indeed, as the photo shows, there wasn't overmuch sauce, but I added more from the pan after snapping the photo :)
We had them with bread and a version of the spinach and pear salad you've seen here before.
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