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THURSDAY

Breakfast – Lemon curd on English muffins or on grapefruit.

Snack (Elvenses) –  “Anthea’s Ginger Biscuits” made last night by Onlyboy.

Lunch –  Fish chowder.  Follow instructions on fancy dry chowder mix from British Columbia that Firstborn gave Fahbio as a gift.  Where it says to add baby clams or corn/bacon, instead throw in last night’s leftover steamed cod with vegetables and rice.  Enjoy.  Sandwiches for those who want more food (cold cuts, homemade mustard, whole wheat sliced bread).

Dinner Cooked by Nine Year Old (Bolognese sauce made by SWMBO) –

To make Bolognese Sauce: Sauté chopped onion, celery and carrot.  Add in chopped garlic and sweat (the mixture, not you, although if you feel like getting sweaty yourself, be my guest).  SWMBO was making this while the the ducts were being cleaned.  Two hours of furnace off and front door open in Canada at the end of November = no sweating here!  Add in ground beef you cooked on Monday.  Add in 2 bottles tomato purée, some chopped parsley, a few bay leaves, a cup of wine or stock or water.  Season.  Simmer until meat is tender and flavours meld (60-90 minutes).

My favourite bowl.  It may be chipped and old but it’s still my favourite!

My favourite bowl. It may be chipped and old but it’s still my favourite!

Boil spaghetti and dress with sauce.  Serve with parmesan cheese.  For those who choose not to eat pasta, cut a spaghetti squash in half and bake for 30 minutes (at least!) at 375 degrees.  Dress in same manner as pasta.

Serve meal with artichokes you bought off the reduced rack on Tuesday.  A tossed green salad rounds out the meal.  When artichokes are in season in the spring/early summer we eat them a lot.  I am a big fan of foods you get to manhandle to eat – like lobster and artichokes and pomegranates.  For some reason, there were some artichokes on the discount rack.  My aversion to throwing out food and my mania for good deals had me dancing with glee.

A nice tossed salad...

A nice tossed salad…

Get a big pot.  Cut the very end off the artichoke to freshen it up.  Then, using a big, sharp butcher’s knife, cut about 1 1/2 inches off the top of the artichoke.  Using scissors, cut any remaining thorny bits or tough outer leaves off.  Plop the artichoke into the pot.  Do the same with the remaining artichokes working fairly quickly as they will begin to brown.  Add cold water to the pot to cover the artichokes.  Add a few bay leaves, a good spoonful of olive oil.  Squeeze half a lemon in.  Season water generously with salt.  The artichokes will keep bobbing to the surface so if you have a saucepan lid small enough to fit inside your pot to weigh down the artichokes, use it.  If not, tant pis.    Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer.  Cook for about 20 minutes, depending on size of artichokes.  They are ready when you can pull out one of the leaves and it gives some resistance but you don’t have to wrestle it to pull it out.  Remove artichokes with tongs and set in a bowl.  The artichokes will continue cooking a bit from the heat.

Artichokes!

Artichokes!

Now the beautiful thing about artichokes is that not only are they delicious and different – they keep so gosh darn well once cooked.  I always prepare them when I have a few spare minutes and then when I have no idea what veg to serve with dinner or if we need a snack, I just whip out the big bowl of artichokes!  We always serve them with the same dipping sauce.  Today it was made by Venice.  Mix mayonnaise with lemon juice, chopped capers, salt, pepper and chopped anchovies (optional).  A riff on Caesar salad dressing but omit the cheese.

Dipping sauce created by Venice.

Dipping sauce created by Venice.

Each person gets an artichoke, pulls leaves off, dips them in the sauce and pulls them between their teeth.  When you get to the centre, it is important to remove the choke.  This is easily done with a teaspoon.  First pull the tender but spiky inner leaves off with your fingers.  Believe me, you will know them when you see them.  Then use the spoon to gently scoop out the fine hairs that make up the “choke”.  Once the choke is gone, the rest of the stem is edible.

Removing the spiky inner leaves and the choke.

Removing the spiky inner leaves and the choke.

Alternatively, you can cut the artichokes in half (lengthwise) and pull out the spiky inner leaves.  Scoop the choke out of each half and they are good to go.  The advantages of this method: less waste if someone can’t eat a whole artichoke, safer for young children since the choke is already gone, makes the artichokes more compact so you can cram them into a Tupperware better.  Disadvantage: not as messy to eat.