An Accidental Try-Me-Night: Grilled Artichokeby Angie

12 Mar 2008
2:03 pm

I decided to cook an artichoke for us to share last night to go with dinner, and I did everything I usually do: clipped the prickly ends with kitchen shears, cut off most of the stem, and placed it stem-down in a pot with about an inch of water over medium heat, then lidded the pot to let it steam. Then, I curled up on the couch with my Relief Society manual to work on my lesson.

30 minutes later, I noticed an interesting smell – almost like a charcoal grill. A few minutes later, I realized that it was stronger… Odd. Suddenly, I realized what it must be. I dashed to the kitchen and uncovered the artichoke. There it was, sizzling in a bone-dry pot, with its bottom layer of leaves burnt and curling at the edges. The pot was burned black. I cut off the charred stump at the base of the artichoke and pulled off all the burnt leaves. Nothing else looked damaged, so we still ate it – I really liked it, actually! I thought the flavor was more intense than usual with a little bit of that something else that grilling tends to give things. Jim, on the other hand, didn’t care for it and I guess that’s for the best: if we had both loved it, I’d feel compelled to try it again.

So, what happened? Well, this wasn’t the pot (or lid) that I usually use, because I usually make two or more artichokes at once. I’m guessing that the lid must not be air-tight enough for steaming. As for the pot, well, we’re not sure yet if it’s ruined for good. It’s been scrubbed, soaked, scrubbed again, and now the dishwasher is giving it a go.

Where there’s smoke, there’s… Frisco burgers?by Angie

24 Feb 2008
11:02 am

So, I made Frisco Burgers* for dinner last night. We don’t have an outdoor BBQ grill or a stove-top grill plate, so I used our flat griddle. I make the hamburger patties with 1 part ground sirloin to 1 part ground round or chuck (with no seasoning except salt), which makes for very tender, juicy burgers… however, those cuts are pretty fatty, and on a flat griddle there’s no way for the grease to drain away. Instead, it just sits there getting so hot that it reaches the smoking point and, obviously, starts smoking. A lot.

So, yeah, the smoke alarm went off. It was kind of embarrassing, but we (Jim, Jon, Justin, and I) opened all the windows and turned on the vent over the stove and laughed about it. And then it went off again. So, we turned on the ceiling fan and laughed about it some more. And then it went off again, and I was rolling my eyes instead of laughing. And then it went off again, and I was exasperated to the extreme.

I fully believe in having smoke detectors and I know they save lives – I just wish they had a button labeled, “I know there’s smoke, but it’s only because I’m trying to cook and making a wretched mess of things, so I really wish you would quit screeching and making me feel even more incompetent than I’ve already proven myself to be!”

At least the burgers tasted good.

*For those of you who don’t know what Frisco Burgers are, let me explain this marvelous Hoffman Family tradition: Instead of using hamburger buns, you place your patty and fixin’s between two slices of toasted sourdough bread. Hence the name “Frisco” Burgers, as in “San Francisco” – I have to admit, I didn’t “get” the meaning of the name until we had moved out here to the Bay Area :P