A number of readers contacted me about their experience with artichokes after receiving the February 23rd recipe for braised artichokes with parsley and thyme. Like me, another person said her childhood in Michigan was "bereft of artichokes." She discovered them at her 26th birthday party in San Diego. Dr. Joe Young of Internal Medicine at Oakland, on the other hand, has a one-and-a-half year old son who already uses all available teeth to eat the pulp off one artichoke leaf at a time and says "chokes" after each one.
The equinox is only days away so a wider array of spring vegetables is becoming available at your local farmers' market. While busy at work last week, I asked a friend, who was going to our market, to shop for me and pick up what looked good. In addition to leeks and arugula, he bought me some beets. While I had eaten beets in the past with some trepidation, I had never willingly cooked them myself. I am now a believer. Try some and you will see what I mean.
They make a great side dish.
- 4 bunches of beets (choose different colors for fun)
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
- Juice of one large lemon (again, I was privileged to obtain one from my friend's backyard Meyer lemon tree)
- Zest of one lemon
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- Pinch of salt and white pepper
Preheat the oven to 400°. Peel the beets using the leaves as a handle. Slice them no thicker than 1/4". Toss them with the remaining ingredients in a shallow baking dish large enough to avoid crowding the slices. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for about 45 minutes, shaking the dish occasionally, or until the beets are fork tender.