Thursday, June 5, 2008

If You Can't Take the Heat...

It was Coolio who once said:
"If you can't take the heat, get yo' ass out the kitchen—we on a mission." - Fantastic Voyage, 1994

We was, indeed, on a mission last night. There were a couple completely unrelated things that I was determined to make for us to eat for dinner: steamed artichokes and roasted red peppers.

I have handled whole artichokes exactly twice in my life. Once at the Grand Lux Cafe, where I enjoyed dipping the leaves in aioli (this, after someone told me not to eat the whole leaf), and last week when I had a horrible bread crumb-stuffed artichoke. Artichoke clueless, I did my homework.

I washed and trimmed two artichokes, and dropped them in my steamer basket for 45 minutes—that's 45 minutes of hot steam spewing into our small apartment. (FYI, I think they could have steamed for half that time and been plenty cooked.)

I dropped some sliced lemon and bay leaves into the boiling water to impart some flavor to the artichokes, but mostly the little "meaty" artichoke leaf bases tasted like the Yogurt Herb Dip I made. Maybe I'm missing a special artichoke taste-bud receptor, but the result just wasn't worth the effort.

While the artichokes steamed away, I decided to roast my own red peppers directly on the burner of our stove = HOT. Tyler Florence makes it look so easy! He must not be afraid of burning down his apartment.

Pepper #2 was more of a success than the first, but neither was quite as roasted as I would have liked. From the burner, the peppers went into a glass bowl, which I covered with plastic wrap so they could steam their little skins off. This worked pretty well with my quasi-roasted peppers.

For reasons of safety and technique, I will be oven-roasting my red peppers next time. (Can't remember if my landlords read my blog...?)

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