Charred artichokes

Slice artichokes in half
Remove furry center—my favorite tool for this task is a serrated grapefruit spoon!
Steam in double boiler until leaves are tender, about 15 minutes- the artichockes are done when their leaves can be easily pierced with a knife.
Place artichoke halves on a lightly oiled grill and grill until char marks appear— the ‘chokes were thoroughly cooked in the steamer so the grill is just to impart some smoky flavor.
Remove from grill and serve with aioli*

*Unrepentant cheater’s aioli
About a ¼ cup of our favorite mayo , juice from two lemon quarters, and add garlic and salt paste to taste. Taste and adjust to your liking!

Sweet potato spears provencal
Tear a roughly 24” long piece of aluminum foil for each sweet potato and fold each sheet in half width-wise to create a 12” x12” square
Peel sweet potatoes
Slice in half lengthwise, and then slice each half again lengthwise
Put 4 spears onto a foil square
Brush spears with olive oil and sprinkle with herbs de provence blend
With a large chef’s knife, crush 2 cloves of peeled garlic with coarse sea salt to form a paste, set some aside for the aioli to serve with the artichokes.
Add equal amounts of the garlic paste to each foil square
Bake until tender – about 20-25 minutes in a 350 degree oven

Baked pears and cherries

Dot cast iron skillet with a few tablespoons of butter and sprinkle with brown sugar

Slice pears in half and scoop out core with a spoon and then cut each half again lengthwise. Place in a single layer in the skillet


Top pears with cherries (I always use frozen organic cherries) and then add a couple more pats of butter and sprinkle with brown sugar.

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Dot the fruit with butter and brown sugar

Cover tightly with aluminum foil and place in the fireplace (or oven at about 350 degrees) and let bake while you make and eat dinner.

Remove cast iron skillet from fireplace-the handle will be HOT! Carefully peel back aluminum foil and check on the tenderness of the pears–they should be fork-tender.

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Pears and cherries cooked in a cast iron skillet 

Top with Four Roses whipping cream-
I use an immersion blender to combine heavy whipping cream, a little splash of vanilla, brown sugar, a generous glug or two of the Four Roses. Blend until very soft peaks form and then use it top the baked pears and cherries. If you have any leftover, I bet it would create a rockin’ after-dinner coffee!

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