artichokes: artfully festive

The Artichoke: artiful anytime, but especially festive at Holiday time.
Elegant all on its own as an appetizer.
Though here are some options.
Christmas Star-Stuffed Artichokes 
2 large globe artichokes
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus some for drizzling
8-10 anchovy filets
1 bulb garlic, cloves peeled and finely chopped
2 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
coarse black pepper
1 cup flat leaf parsley (a small bunch), finely chopped
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Trim the artichoke bottoms and a few outer leaves, leaving most of the leaf points tipped for the star-effect. Cook the artichokes in a large pot of boiling water with lemon juice, 15-20 minutes. Cool upside down, then remove the center leaves and fibrous choke. 
In a small skillet, melt the anchovies into the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and stir to combine, then add the breadcrumbs. Work the olive oil and garlic into the breadcrumbs and toast to deep golden brown. Add the pepper and parsley and remove from the heat. Stir in the cheese. 
Arrange the artichokes in a casserole or baking dish. Add enough water to barely coat the bottom of the dish. Spoon the stuffing into each leaf – when the artichoke is fully stuffed it will look like a giant star. 
To serve, pre-heat the oven to 400°F. Loosely cover the dish with foil and heat through, then drizzle the artichokes with olive oil and leave uncovered to crisp the crumbs back up. Serve the artichokes directly from the casserole with bowls for discarded leaves. 
Crustless Artichoke Quiche
So elegant for brunch or lunch. Serve with fruit or cranberries or
pomegranate arils.

3 eggs
6 oz frozen spinach, thawed
1 can artichoke hearts (14 oz)
1/2 c half and half cream
1/4 c sour cream
4 oz cheese ( feta or an italian blend is good)
3 TB parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350°. Mix all ingredients and pour into a pie plate. Top with parmesan. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until done.
Artichoke Dip 
An easy dip, baked with Parmesan cheese, mayonnaise, artichokes, and chopped roasted red pepper.
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 can or jar (12 to 14 ounces) artichoke hearts, drained, not marinated
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder, optional
  • 1/4 cup minced roasted red pepper
Combine all ingredients; spread in a pie plate or shallow 1-quart baking dish. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes.  Serve cold or heat in the oven for about 10 minutes at 350°. Serve with crackers or rustic loaf.
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