The Star of the Show: Artichoke Flowers

I bought a ridiculous amount of produce at the market this week.

I can’t help it.  Stone fruit is in season.  There were bags of apricots, bags of peaches, nectarines, and a handful of something called a plum cot (those were gone within 3 minutes, easily).  There were thoughts of pies and jams and other delicious pastries in my near future.

I could barely carry my bags by the time we got back to the car.  Maybe it should have been a cart kind of day.  You know it’s almost summer when I have to break out the cart.  Oh man, I just thought about tomato season…

Don’t even get me started on tomato season.  I have to start saving my money now.

But this week there was a particular item that everyone was talking about.  They were poking out of everyone’s bags, and people who hadn’t discovered them kept asking me where I found mine.

Artichoke flowers.

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Gorgeous and kind of exotic, these are simply artichokes that have grown past the edible stage.  The artichokes that we eat are the flower bud before it blooms.

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Once the artichoke has reached this stage, the fruit becomes super coarse and basically inedible, but it is still quite a conversation starter.  The flower almost reminded me of sea anemone and they were super soft.  Brad really, really liked them, so we picked up a giant one for him to walk around with.

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Everyone wanted to touch our artichoke flower.

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Before we left the market, we were gifted a couple other, smaller artichoke flowers, and I threw them all together at home in a funky artichoke flower arrangement.

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Apparently I just can’t get enough of produce as decoration.

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xoxo

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Bring Your Produce Back To Life!

Brad has all kinds of fun kitchen tricks.

Maybe one of my favorites is when there is a bunch of basil – or a bag of spinach, or some carrots or herbs or whatever – that looks limp and sad.  Maybe it wasn’t in the crisper in the refrigerator.  Maybe we went to lunch after the market and left them in the car a little too long.  Maybe I took something out of a bag that it would have been better off left in…

Whatever happened, the produce looks withered and faded.

(hopefully this is not how you feel after that glorious memorial day weekend.  if it is, then use this same trick on yourself.  plus maybe a pastry or two.  i guarantee the holiday weekend hangover will be over in no time.  and – cheer up!  it’s “officially” summer!)

Just looking at those sad, limp, green leaves, you think you should probably just throw them away.

limp kale key of kels

Like this kale, for example.  I have no excuse, I just didn’t get to it fast enough and it sat in the bottom of the crisper out of a bag just a little too long.

But wait!!

I tried Brad’s magic trick.

limp kale key of kels I stuck the kale in a jar with a good amount of water.  I set it in a sunny spot, but not one that got direct sunlight.

And I – once again – forgot about it.
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Seems this week I’m just really not good at kale.

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But a few hours later, I happened to walk by the arrangement, and I noticed that the leaves were no longer touching the tabletop I’d set them on.

kind of limp kale key of kels kind of limp kale key of kelsThe leaves felt a little stronger to the touch.  A little more rigid and tough. kind of limp kale key of kels kind of limp kale key of kelsSo I left them a little while longer.  Just to see what would happen.kind of limp kale key of kels

24 hours later, the kale was pretty much 100% back to it’s natural kale-like state.

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I was really amazed at how it had transformed from being limp, soft, and inedible right back to being tough, thick, crunchy kale.back to life kale with the key of kels back to life kale with the key of kels back to life kale with the key of kels

I will admit, it looked so pretty in the jar that I kept it on my desk for a day next to the gorgeous protea flowers I picked up at the farmer’s market.

Kale arrangement with protea

Now I’ve had both kale and artichokes as floral arrangements.  This is either multitasking or a giant waste of food.

Kale arrangement with proteaAnd I just keep thinking of what I can do with all this kale…

So, I’m off to make lunch.

xoxo

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sweet potato casserole

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Summer Melon Gazpacho

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