Food Buzz

Because maybe you do care what I had for lunch...

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Baby artichokes and herb-stuffed pork chops

In the middle of the day Lane hit a snag with his work and suggested we play hookey and run away to the beach. So we drove to Fitzgerald Natural Preserve near Half Moon Bay. It wasn't an ideal day for the tide pools (low tide was about three feet), but there was still plenty to see (including seals on the beach) and we found out the best day and time for us to return.

After our afternoon at the beach and we stopped into downtown Half Moon for a snack. Main Street has a big, fancy, Euro-looking bakery and a tiny, Portuguese bakery. Guess which one I chose. We had homemade-tasting cookies and a cupcake, and then bought a gooey loaf of blueberry bread for tomorrow's breakfast. Ooooh, I can't wait!

On our way home we stopped by a farm stand for strawberries. Twenty dollars later I had two bags full of lovely produce, including some baby artichokes. We took the long way home, driving along the coast and then through redwood forests.

To cook baby artichokes start by pulling off the outer leaves until you get to the tender, yellowish leaves. If in doubt, keep peeling. Cut about 1/2 off the tops and trim the stem (careful to get rid of the thorns but don't cut so close that the clove falls apart). If you're not cooking the artichokes right away keep them in lemon water.

You can do all sorts of things with baby artichokes, steam, broil. I love the sugary combination of butter and artichokes so I sauteed the chokes in butter and lemon juice.

Meanwhile, I sliced boneless pork loin chops lengthwise in half and filled them with fresh herbs. Then I smeared a mixture of olive oil, toasted sesame seeds, salt and pepper on either side before grilling. I threw the herbs in whole, stems and all, so we discarded the herbs before eating. I loved the taste of the herb-infused pork, but in retrospect it does seem a pity to interrupt a thick, juicy, toothsome chop like that. So I'm not sure I'd do it again without first mincing the herbs and mixing with blue cheese or something fatty like that.


Luisa Giugliano said...

California sounds wonderful. Inspired by you, I started a blog, as well. Meandering, unguided.Give your peeps our

liz said...

you totally need to live here. and you know it. you belong here. every day is like a story book- this place is yours.

p.s. awesome photo- looks like it should be in a mag.

Luisa Perkins said...

As usual, I'm slavering.

Do you ever brine your pork chops? I've had terrific results doing so.

Janet M Kincaid said...

Half Moon Bay. Love it there! Next time you head out that way, hook a left where Hwy 92 and Hwy 1 meet and continue for about 30 minutes down to Pescadero, San Gregorio, and Pebble Beach (that last one is a tiny little inlet where you can collect agates.) Also, I can't remember the exact location--maybe ME will remember--heading down that way, on the left, is a little olallieberry and kiwi farm where you can harvest your own berries in July/August/September and kiwis in November! It's lots of fun!