This time of year, our Saturdays are spent on yard clean up and projects. So I try to plan meals that are quick and don’t require me to go inside any sooner than absolutely necessary.
This Saturday I was particularly worn out from the week and didn’t want to be spending a ton of time in the kitchen.
After lunch I realized I didn’t know what I was making for dinner. Which was a problem because…
- Dinner is most successful when I have a plan.
- All the meat I have is frozen.
- It’s time to go grocery shopping so supplies are low.
This is (one of the very many reasons) why I love my Local Pumpkin Produce Box. With weekly produce deliveries, if I can come up with some protein, I can usually throw together a meal.
I had a few sausages in the fridge and a package of grass-fed hot dogs in the freezer. I pulled the hot dogs out to defrost and knew I could prepare enough vegetables to round out the meal. Now with a dinner plan, I headed back outside to finish projects and enjoy the weather. It was such a beautiful afternoon!
Dinner came together wonderfully. I started with an artichoke. It was maybe from last week’s box… or the box before that? I don’t know but it was beautiful. The best artichoke I’ve had in a long time! Keep scrolling for my favorite artichoke preparation method – it’s today’s recipe.
Once I got the artichoke steaming, I peeled and cubed the purple potatoes from this week’s box. Normally I wouldn’t peel them but that seemed easier than washing them in my tired state.
I put the cubed potatoes in a foil packet and sprinkled them with avocado oil, salt, pepper, granulated garlic, onion powder, and smoked paprika. Mixed them around a bit and folded up the foil.
I fired up the BBQ and once it was preheated, I put the potatoes on the grill.
I washed asparagus from this week’s box and snapped off the ends. I drizzled it with avocado oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. Then I took the asparagus, hot dogs, condiments, and table settings outside.
I poured myself a glass of wine leftover from our dinner with friends the night before and sat on the deck, watching my kids play.
My firstborn is really into gift giving. As I was grilling, he handed me a bunch of leaves and a flower from a tree in our yard and said, “Here mom, I got you some flowers.” Then as he walked away, “I know you love flowers and babies!” (I really do.)
Also note the collection of treasures (rocks, plastic bugs, ect.) I was being gifted as I grilled.
When the potatoes were almost done I grilled the asparagus and hot dogs.
Dinner came together quickly, and it was relaxing to make – sort of therapeutic with the chopping, grilling, and general simplicity. The view from the deck and the wine probably helped.
Dinner was also super delicious and hit all the spots. In fact, my kids were so excited about dinner they were nearly dancing out of their seats. They chatted all meal long about how much they loved it and what bites tasted good together.
My firstborn took a bite of the artichoke heart and exclaimed, “Oh boy, that sure is good!” My husband told me he, “could eat about a pound of those potatoes!” I agreed, those little guys were so creamy! And by cooking them on the grill, they had perfectly crispy bits – my fav!
Of course grilled asparagus is always a hit. As are sausage/ hot dogs with plenty of sauerkraut and mustard!
Easy-peasy, everyone is satisfied – Thanks Local Pumpkin!
Whenever people rave about my mom’s cooking, she attributes starting with fresh, quality ingredients as the secret to her cooking. The woman also knows how to handle food and flavors like a pro. But I do think the quality of the food you use has a big impact on flavor and that contently satiated feel once your meal is finished.
Today I want to encourage you that healthy, delicious meals don’t have to be a whole thing. Especially this time of year with more vegetables that grill/ roast well or are delicious raw. Embrace the quality of your Local Pumpkin box and keep it simple!
As I was prepping the artichoke, I was reminded of a summer night a few years back when I served some friends steamed artichoke. As we were dipping, our friend looked at his wife and asked why they never make them at home.
I think artichokes are sometimes intimidating and people forget how worth it they are. Once you have a good method, they are no big deal. So, I thought I better share the method I love with you.
Steamed Artichoke Dipped in Butter
1 artichoke, in my opinion, the perfect artichoke is decently sized with meaty looking petals that are evenly green – not beat up looking
1 bay leaf
1 slice of lemon
1 large clove garlic
Butter or ghee*, for dipping
*I’ve heard of people dipping in mayo or olive oil with salt and pepper. I just love butter/ghee so I never stray.
- Trim the stem of the artichoke and any thin leaves at the bottom. Cut the top off and, using a pair of kitchen shears, snip off the thorny tip of all the petals.
- Rinse the artichoke, opening the leaves up as you do, so the water can get down in there and clean it out. Opening it up also helps the steaming process.
- For steaming I use a double pot situation. The top one has holes in the bottom for steam to come through and fits snuggly on top of the lower pot. You could also use a steamer basket. I fill the lower pot about 1/3 full of water. I drop in a bay leaf, lemon slice, and a peeled and smashed clove of garlic. Then I fit the second pot on top.
- Place the artichoke in the top pot and cover with a lid. Bring the water to a boil and allow the artichoke to steam for about 30 minutes, or until a petal easily pulls off.
- While the artichoke steams, I gently melt a couple tablespoon of ghee in a pan.
- When ready to serve, use tongs to transfer it to a bowl or plate. Pour the ghee, or whatever you are serving to dip, into a small bowl or mug. I also like to add a little salt to the (already salted) ghee because I think the artichoke benefits from that extra salt. Serve family style.
To eat an artichoke:
Pull off a petal. Holding the top, dip the meaty end in melted butter. Really cover in butter – scoop some up if you can. Then flip the petal’s meaty end into your mouth. Using your bottom teeth, scrape the meat off the petal. Discard remaining petal.
Once you’ve eaten all the petals, pull off the remaining flimsy inner petals and discard. Using a knife, scrape off the little hairs. Now you have the artichoke heart. Slice into pieces, dip and butter, and enjoy!
Local Pumpkin Produce Box is a local, family-owned business that delivers weekly produce boxes to the Tri-Cities, Washington area, including fruit boxes to local businesses.
Local Pumpkin Produce Box provides a connection between the local farmers and your table, enabling you to eat healthier, support local and not even have to leave your house. If you are interested in more information or would like to sign up for your own box, click here.