This post was brought to you by Wolf.
Oh my goodness. I’m so excited to share this with you! Last month, I had the chance to work with my sister Jordan, and my sister-in-law Liz, on such a fun project. Wolf — makers of gorgeous cooking appliances! — asked us about some of our favorite family recipes, and then they made a video of us cooking up one of our go-to, easy family dinners. Take a look!
This video is such a treasure to me because the meal we put together is connected to a dozen family memories and to a dozen of the people I love most. Jordan prepped a simple Brown Butter Pasta (she’ll share her post on 11/18). The recipe comes from our dear Aunt Robin. As Jordan mentioned in the video, it’s essentially a more sophisticated mac-and-cheese. Kids love it!
Liz made a simple bread, called figasa. It’s a recipe we learned from our Grandma Daisy, whose parents were immigrants from Italy. When I was growing up, my mom made figasa at least once a month, and I can totally see her in my mind, pushing thumbprints of butter all over the dough. I said this in the video, but in case you missed it, figasa is essentially the same thing as focaccia, but in the region of Italy where Daisy’s parents came from, it’s called figasa. In fact, I remember focaccia suddenly being on every menu everywhere and being so confused because I couldn’t figure out why people were calling it the wrong name. Hah!
My job for this meal was the artichokes. Artichokes bring back so many memories from my childhood! My family loved eating artichokes. I remember trimming the artichoke leaves, watching the artichokes drain upside down after they were cooked, and dipping the leaves in mayo or melted butter. Then seeing the discard pile get higher and higher. I remember getting to the hairy part and needing help cutting it off. And then finding the pot of gold underneath — the heart!
I also remember realizing in high school that most of my friends had never eaten an artichoke. I’m not totally sure why that was — but when I was a kid, I don’t think they were as available as they are now. I wonder if my parents knew about them because they both grew up in California, where everything grows so well, and artichokes are readily available.
An artichoke is something you really need to be taught to eat. There’s nothing instinctive about it. In fact, I sometimes wonder who the first person was that figured out you can scrape the leaves against your teeth! So if your parents were never taught how to prepare and eat them, then chances are you wouldn’t know either.
In case you’re someone who has never had the opportunity to make them for your family, I’m here to encourage you. Artichokes are such a hit with kids! They’re easily the most interactive vegetable. There’s so much dipping! Kids adore dipping! And the mysterious hairy part! An artichoke is such a fascinating food.
If you want to give them a try, you’re in luck, because the prep is actually quite easy. Really, truly. The only tricky part is knowing how to eat one, but once you’ve done it, it’s not something you have to relearn. : )
Anyway, it was such a pleasure to work on this video with Wolf. I’m in love with their Reclaim the Kitchen initiative. Wolf knows that the kitchen is the heart of the home. They’re on a mission to help families cook better, live better, live more thoughtfully, and live more healthfully — starting with simple family meals at home. So terrific!
Tell me, Friends. What’s your experience with artichokes? Did you grow up eating them? Do you remember who taught you to eat one the first time? Have you taught your kids? Or do you find them intimidating? And if you were asked to prep a simple family meal packed with memories, what would you cook?
P.S. — Ready to give give artichokes a try? Here’s how I prep them. I cut off the stem and tops with a knife, then trim the leaves with kitchen shears. Then I put them in a big pot of boiling water — enough water to cover them. Cover the pot and simmer the artichokes. Cooking time can vary, but try 30 minutes for a medium-sized artichoke or 45 minutes for a jumbo one. Take the artichokes from the water and let them drain upside down. You can put them on a dish or in a strainer — anywhere that will allow the water to come out. Then get ready to dip!