mmm-yoso!!! is a blog about food. Food consumed, food prepared then consumed, food in general. Today, a Springtime recipe from Cathy.
Hi. I haven't shown you a $5 Friday and a while, and with prices the way they are, not many meals are falling into that category, but as part of my New Year Resolution, I will share some recipes and meals which still fit that criterion.
This recipe uses seasonal, local ingredients, which is the mainstay of keeping costs low.
Some of you may not have seen, or known what to do with what you have seen in the stores. Both of these items were purchased at Vine Ripe Market, in La Mesa, this week. I think you can find the cardoon and green almonds at other Ethnic markets and maybe even some Farmer's Markets.
Green almonds, which look like immature oval shaped peaches are available for about one month every year- you eat them whole...skin and all, except maybe the small brown hard part which is attached to the stem. They are located in a bin to your left at the doorway into Vine Ripe and cost $1.49/lb.
Cardoon sort of looks like celery but is a relative of the artichoke. It is priced at $1.49 for the piece. This casserole recipe tastes like artichoke hearts.
Green almonds are a 'preview' of the almond to come. A snack in Greece, the Mediterranean and Middle East, treasured because of being somewhat 'rare'...kind of taste like a raw pea pod, but with a tartness. An intense flavor, if used in a recipe (and cooked), they are used more to compliment the dish than as the main course, hence the slicing thin for this recipe. The center is jelly-like now, with a thin white skin and, with age, the hull and shell will harden and the center will form a crunchy nut, which will end up being the only part eaten.
When you separate the stalks of the cardoon, you can see how it resembles both celery and an artichoke in appearance. There are spines on a cardoon. The cardoons sold in stores now are the younger, more tender ones. If older, the spines will be more prominent and the stalks will be tougher. If using those older cardoons in a recipe, it is best to discard the woody exterior stalks, cut the center stalks into bite size pieces and parboil first.
Cardoon is a member of the aster family and is a naturally occurring variant of the same species as a globe artichoke. It is native to the Mediterranean/France and I have seen it grown in several home gardens around here; it needs a long , cool growing season and that certainly has been our weather lately.
The recipe is pretty simple and you need only 3 other ingredients- some flour, Mozarella and Parmesan. I used this Italian blend of shredded cheese, since it was on sale. You won't use a lot, depending on the size of your casserole dish.
Slice the peeled/cleaned young cardoon (about one pound) into bite size pieces, maybe 2 inches long. Slice the almonds (about 1/3 lb) thin. Place into a buttered baking dish (this is a 9x13).
Sprinkle a little flour over the whole dish. This will help absorb any liquid given off by the cooking.
Bake at 350° for about 30 minutes. The cardoon, if pricked with a fork will still be firm and not mushy, but will not be as firm as in its raw state.
This tastes like the best part of that artichoke heart Parmesan dip appetizer you have tasted...all artichoke sweetness, a bit of citrus and some cheese. The green almonds add the lemon/citrus taste which compliments everything. This tastes good cold or reheated in a microwave.
This ends our food adventure for this week. I hope everyone has a very good weekend!
[I've heard from Kirk and The Missus. They arrived safe and sound and are very much enjoying the first part of their vacation.]
One whole cardoon (about one pound), peeled clean and stalks cut into bite size pieces
1/3 lb (about 15) green almonds, sliced thin
2 Tbs flour
1-2 C shredded mild cheese (Mozzarella/Provolone mix is good)
Combine as above, top with flour then cheeses. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes.
Today's breakfast- a part of the sesame bread ring from Vine Ripe (50¢), bananas (69¢/lb at Vine Ripe), leftover cardoon gratin, a basted egg topped with Fines Herbes and a sliced and sauteed green almond. The cardoon is still crispy and a bit stringy. The flavor is all artichoke. The sauteed almonds are even more pronounced in the citrus flavor.