Hello! I know it’s been awhile, and I apologize. I went on a mental and physical vacation to my hometown in Sonoma County, California. Meyer lemons, beautiful family, and 75 degree weather made it extremely hard to bring myself back to Oregon, but you gotta do what you gotta do.
Another event that occurred on my vacation was a visit to Michael Chairello’s restaurant, Bottega in Yountville. I don’t review restaurants on my blog but this may have been some of the best Italian food I’ve ever had.
My main course was a pan-fried gnocchi with a heaping serving of spring vegetables and a creamy fonduta sauce. The colors on the plate were electric greens and oranges and the tastes were so fresh you’d think the veggies were picked that morning.
Here is my inspired recipe from the dish, minus the Fonduta add creamy goat cheese crumbles (a favorite ingredient of mine).
And following that, I have artichoke my way, a seasonal and fun food to eat. As Mr. Chiarello says,Buon Appetito.
Shells and spring veggies
Feel free to add any of your favorite spring vegetables—sugar snap peas would work well here also.
1 leek, cleaned and sliced into half moons
6 medium sized carrots (green tops removed) cut into slices
4 tablespoons of garlic and chive pesto (purchased from Pesto Outside The Box, a vendor at the PSU Farmer’s Market)
1 cup of whole wheat or regular shell pasta
4 tablespoons of olive oil
Zest from one Meyer lemon
2 tablespoons of goat cheese crumbles
Sprinkle of salt
Dash of fresh ground pepper
Bring a medium saucepan filled with water and a sprinkle of sea salt to a boil.
Meanwhile, heat a large skillet to medium-high heat, add olive oil.
When olive oil is hot, add carrot slices. Sprinkle with salt, grind pepper and let the carrots cook in oil for a few minutes.
Add pasta to water and cook according to package directions.
Next, add leeks to skillet, stir with spatula and add spices as needed. Sauté for 8–10 minutes at medium heat.
When pasta is ready and carrots are crisp tender, mix the pasta into the skillet.
Add pesto, goat cheese crumbles and zest.
Serve with lemon slices, serves 1–2 people.
Artichoke with lemon dill crema
This is a classic preparation of a vegetable that’s as fun to eat as it is tasty. If serving with pasta, make sure to start the artichoke earlier than the pasta. They often take a long time to become tender.
1 artichoke, trimmed of dirty leaves and stem removed
1 clove of garlic, peeled
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons of dill
Juice from one Meyer lemon
1 teaspoon of honey
Place a few inches of water in a medium saucepan. Place garlic, bay leaf, and vinegar in water and let it come to a boil.
Place steamer basket above water, and place artichoke in, stem up.
Place lid on pan and let simmer for 20–40 minutes.
When leaves can be removed easily with a fork, the artichoke is ready. Serve with lemon dill crema.
Mix yogurt, honey, lemon juice and dill in a small bowl. Serve with artichoke for dipping.
Serves 1–2 people.