Welcome to V.V.’s alphabet post series! These post will be dedicated to all the glorious fruit of the Earth… and the vegetables, and the grains, and the legumes, and the leafy greens… well, you get the point. In an effort to expand my culinary prowess, I am choosing 3 foods I have not had an experience “working with” every week. First up in this A/B/C post, artichoke. An ingredient that, till now, was in a glass jar.
Here they are, fresh artichoke.
Thank goodness for the interweb, which helped me trim and prep the leaves and stem. Artichokes, in this form, take time–both to cook and to eat. It is that slow and sequential eating, eventually finding yourself in the scrumptious heart, that has always turned me off from preparing them fresh. With their thorny leaf tips and their protected innards, I almost felt that the artichoke was trying to not be eaten. But finally lifting these softened babies from the simmering water, feeling the tongs squeeze the softened heart, I appreciated the process.
I’ve never made bulgur. I’ve made wheatberry (the entire wheat kernal) and I’ve made freekeh (young wheat, toasted and cracked). Bulgur seemed to me a bit of a mismash. It’s variety and disuniformity had me choosing other “neater” grains. But good grains come in all different shapes and sizes. It was time to kick my sizist attitude to the curb.
Cooking bulgur is simple. 2:1, boil and simmer. Not much to report here.
I’m sure you’ve seen cassava (or yuca) in your supermarket before–long limbs of waxy bark. Or maybe you’ve tried that Daiya cheese, made from super-processed cassava. Either way, it is not as unfamiliar as it appears. Yes, yes, when it comes to starchy bites, the potato reigns supreme. But what a delight to break beyond the starch dictatorship and embrace a less utilized one!
Here is the cassava, waiting for peeling.
Inside, a milky white and surprisingly moist. You have to trim the middle fibrous veins.
I boiled my cassava chunks up to get them tender, then roasted them in oil and spices. I am a cassava fun now!
There you have it! My V.V. Alphabet, installment #1.