Thursday, February 18, 2010

Taste Buds: White Bean Hummus Flower


In our house over the past few months we are changing the way we eat and what we eat. One of the largest changes is the VAST amounts of beans we are now consuming instead of pasta or bread. Needless to say we constantly need to be creative with how to serve them.

Hummus is one of our favourite ways of getting our daily bean dose but I wanted another item to eat it with other than or usual of chopped up raw veggies or toasted pita. Since we love artichokes and since I am trying not to slather them in butter anymore which is how I used to eat them, I decided to try these two together. What I got was an amazing combination and then when presented in a flower like this I thought it would make a wonderful appetizer for a party.

Cooking and de-leafing artichokes is easy once you get the hang of it. It took me a while and to be honest I did not become an at home artichoke cooking woman until I moved to California five years ago. California is the artichoke center of the world and where most of all artichokes come from so you can only IMAGINE walking into a grocery store during artichoke season. I felt like being a Californian meant that I have to embrace the artichoke and you know what I am glad I did.

Picking your artichoke just takes a few simple rules. You want the leaves to be green (purple streaks are ok but stay away from brown streaks which indicate that the shipper froze them and the leaves got frostbite), you want the leaves to be pulled tightly together, if it has loose or floppy leaves just pass and lastly when you squeeze an artichoke it should be firm and the leaves should squeak.

When you are ready to use your artichoke give it a quick wash and then rub and sure you STEAM your artichoke. Boiling vegetables are never a way to go in this house, you lose way to many of the nutrients. Many do boil their artichokes and yes it is faster (20 minutes) but seriously take the extra time, your body will be happier for it. You know an artichoke is done when the leaves are tender; each artichoke is different so you know when it is tender when you grab an outer leaf and it comes out easily. If you need to tug to get it to release from the stem then it needs to be cooked longer.

1 large artichoke
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ lemon
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon salt
3 green onions
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
½ teaspoon oregano
2 cups white beans (pre-soaked and pre-cooked, cold)
3 garlic cloves
salt and pepper to taste

1.Put the bay leave and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pot with the artichoke in a steaming tray. Cook covered on medium heat for about 30-40 minutes until leaves are tender.
2. Once the artichoke is done carefully cut leaves off and arrange them on a paper towel according to color or size.
3. In a food processer add salt, roughly chopped green onions, lemon juice, oregano, beans, garlic cloves and salt and pepper to taste.
4. Working your way from largest or darkest leaves of the artichokes arrange leaves in a sunflower pattern adding a dollop of hummus as you go.
5. Garnish your final sunflower with a light sprinkling of paprika and serve cold or warm.


paul peggy zeus said...

The flower is so pretty - almost too pretty to eat. You are right, this would make an amazing dish to bring to a party.

dcjs said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Post a Comment