I'm the worst. I know. My promises to be better about writing have proven empty. But I had the best of intentions! Really, I swear! Enough with the excuses though, my new goal is to get you guys at least 2 lip-smacking posts per week. Keep me honest on this one! Feel free to send nasty messages about how disappointed you are in my lack of blog presence, and about how you are starving without my guidance.
One exciting thing to report on before we dive in is my recent trip to Hawaii! My bestie and I took a long weekend and soaked up the tropical paradise that is the Big Island. Her sister is currently going to school there, so the three of us took the island by storm. And captured all of it with the action setting on my camera. Yolo.
Here is a little photo tour of my trip:
|We started out at the Hilo Farmers Market treating ourselves to fresh Hawaiian produce.|
|And then indulged in these. Which was some of the best food I have put in my mouth. Ever.|
|Next we drove from Hilo to Kona, stopping at scenic outlooks like this.|
|We spent the afternoon at Hapuna Beach. Which as you can see, was miserable.|
|On the way back to Hilo, we drank from fresh coconuts.|
|The next day we descended into a volcano that was filled with lush beauty.|
|But then walking across the crater felt like walking across Mars on a windy and rainy day.|
|The wonderful trip ended with a day spent on this gorgeous black sand beach.|
In addition to traveling to exotic places, I am teaching Introduction to Human Nutrition to 800 eager undergraduates at UC Berkeley this fall, which has both kept me quite busy and been a real treat. On the first day I learned that all undergrads at Berkeley think that "ummm some chicken and brown rice" is their example of a healthy meal. Welp. Looks like I have some work to do this semester.
In between all of that excitement, I managed to whip up this utterly delicious artichoke panzanella. I have lived in California for over a year now, and I haven't quite taken advantage of the fact that I live in the artichoke capital of the USA. I was originally thinking of an artichoke risotto, but then decided that I wasn't that dedicated to being in the kitchen that long... and then the word panzanella popped into my head. And man oh man am I glad it did! First of all, for bread I used a super non-traditional walnut whole wheat bread that ended up adding so much awesomeness to this salad. Seriously though, I think the toasted bread pieces soaking up the deliciousness from the rest of the salad was my favorite part.
I also tossed in some black beans and a peach to cling on to the tastes of summer, along with some tomatoes straight from my garden. To cut through the other decently sweet ingredients, I used dandelion greens as my greenery. No one talks about this much, but dandelion greens are actually one of the healthiest greens out there, chock full of calcium, protein (for a vegetable), and a whole host of disease fighting compounds.
Then I thought it was getting a little too gourmet, so I smothered it in Kens Steak House Italian Dressing. This salad was both filling and packed with healthy goodness. This recipe provided me with a solid dinner and then a solid lunch the following day. It works great as a weeknight meal, but also a fancy salad to impress guests. I can't wait to make it again!
Materials (2 meal salad or 4 side salads):
- 2 large artichokes, prepared as seen here in this great tutorial
- 2 1/2 cup water
- 1 lemon
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cloves of garlic, smashed
- 1 loaf of hearty bread of choice (I used Walnut Levain from Acme Bread)
- Olive oil
- 1 peach, pitted and diced
- 2 medium tomatoes, diced
- 1 small bunch dandelion greens, torn into bite sized pieces
- 1 14 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup your favorite italian vinaigrette
- Put the artichokes in a medium stock pot with the water, bay leaf, and cloves of garlic and then juice the lemon and toss in the leftover lemon.
- Cover loosely, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 10-15 minutes. Drain and remove bay leaf, lemon, and garlic.
- In the meantime, remove the crust from the bread and cut into 1 inch cubes.
- Heat up a few swirls of olive oil in a heavy bottom skillet (I used a cast iron) over medium-high heat and toss in the bread cubes.
- Toast the bread for 8-10 minutes, tossing every couple of minutes, until it is nice and crispy.
- Toss the artichokes and the bread with the remaining ingredients and let sit for 10-30 minutes before consuming.