Currently, I am craving spring break.
Only not spring break as an adult (what?? How did that happen?? I still feel sixteen most of the time), but spring break as a kid.
See, for me spring break does not really exist anymore. Which totally sucks, but I do have my memories. The best memories actually. I lived for spring break when I was a kid.
Every year up until eighth grade when my family moved to Colorado we would always, always go visit my grandparents for Easter in Florida. My grandparents have lived in a few places throughout Florida. I think their first house was in Boca Raton, then Ocean Ridge and then they continued on up the coast to Jupiter, where they currently are. I have the most memories in the Jupiter house and I love that place.
Some people think of Jupiter as a kind of boring “old people” place, but you guys, it’s the best.
It never gets super crowded, the weather is pretty hot since it’s down in the bottom half of the state, and everything is just calm, quiet and relaxing. Not sure why a kid like me cared about that stuff, I don’t know but I just loved it. I think what I really loved was being in Florida, by the water, shopping and palm trees. FYI, I have a thing for palm trees. Meaning I have always loved them. Every time I fly into florida I get so exited when I see palm trees on the ground.
I know, so odd, especially for someone living on top of a mountain.
The point is I am missing spring break and its carefree days of sunshine, family, Nonnie (grandma!), shopping and walking outside in flip-flops, shorts and a t-shirt.
Oh, and also when I was way younger, we would have the BEST Easter egg hunts. So fun.
Double also, my mom was never prepared for Easter. This meant that 95% of the time she would be out on Easter Eve hitting up Walgreens for candy.
It’s so like her, BUT she never disappointed.
Ok and since I am dreaming here, let me just tell you about the young me who was super adventurous and chased barracuda through the ocean and swam past sharks. Ah yeah, that was me. Of course I had no idea there actually was a shark and I also had no idea barracuda were killer fish.
And the last thing, I miss shopping!! I know that sounds terrible, but my grandma and I used to shop till we dropped. Where I live there is one, no grandma around and two, ZERO good shopping.
Mainly, I miss my grandma. She’s what made it all fun.
But anyway, how about we talk about these beautiful, crispy artichokes? Artichokes that are sort of like a potato chip, but so much better.
This recipe is kind of awesome because you can make a meal or an appetizer out of it.
The artichokes alone are honestly so good. I could eat them like you would crackers or potato chips. But then if you dip them in the pesto? Whoa, so good.
My original idea was for a pasta. Only I had wanted to use baby artichokes so that they would be a smaller size and also easier to prep, but of course my grocery store does not carry baby artichokes. Ugh, I better just be happy they have artichokes.
The bigger artichokes worked great, but I still think that with the pasta baby artichokes would have been better, so if you can find them I would give those a try.
The pesto is all kinds of good. There is mint, cilantro (or parsley if you have a thing against cilantro) and basil, but the real flavor comes from the asparagus. It’s different from basil pesto, but in a good way.
Plus, asparagus is everywhere right now and cheap too, so it is a good use of seasonal produce. Yay! Ok, that and I cannot get enough of it lately.
- Snap the very ends of the asparagus off. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to boil. Fill a medium size bowl with ice water. Blanche the asparagus for a few minutes, until just tender (about 3-4 minutes). Drain the asparagus and place in the bowl of ice water. Drain and dry well.
- Cut the asparagus into 1 inch pieces. Add the asparagus to a food processor. Add the mint, cilantro, basil, pistachios, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and salt, pulse until until combined. Mix in the parmesan, taste and adjust as needed. Set aside or store in the fridge for up to one week.
- When ready to serve make the artichokes. Working with 1 artichoke at a time, using a knife, trim off all but 2 inches of the leaves. Pull off and discard the dark green outer leaves, then peel and trim the bottom and the stem. Quarter the artichoke and scrape out the hairy choke (if using baby artichokes skip this step). Rub the artichoke quarters all over with the lemon half, squeeze the extra lemon juice into a small bowl of water and add the quartered artichoke to the lemon water. Repeat with the remaining artichokes.
- In a medium saucepan of salted boiling water, blanch the artichokes until they are crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain, transfer to a plate and pat dry.
- In a medium high-sided skillet, heat 1 inch of oil over medium heat. Fry the artichokes until crisp on all sides, about 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
- In a medium bowl, toss the artichokes with cilantro (or parsley) lemon zest, and crushed red pepper. Season with sea salt.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and boil your pasta until al dente. Add the pesto to a large pasta bowl. Drain the pasta and toss with the pesto. Serve the artichokes with the pasta and fresh feta cheese. EAT!
*Pesto adapted from this Moroccan Pesto
*To make things easier, you can blanche the artichokes right after the asparagus before dumping the water.
*The artichokes themselves are so good. I would serve them with the pesto as a dip for snacks or an appetizer.
*Artichoke prep adapted from Food and Wine
So here’s to getting our veggies on Monday!