Spinach, Mung Beans and Stuffed Artichokes Caught in the Web!

Fall is cooking season and I am more than content to stand in my kitchen and try recipe after recipe challenging myself to try new foods and new techniques. Admittedly, I’ve been going a little crazy and I’ve tried so many recipes this week, that I have to break them down into a couple of posts. This I will call vegetable side dish heaven.

I love vegetables I do, but spinach is one of those vegetables that I eat more because its good for me rather than out of sheer love, thus I am constantly on the prowl for a spinach recipe that will elevate it from the, “Fine, I’ll eat it.” To the, “I hope they have spinach today at the market so I can make_____.” Interestingly, when I was reading this weeks blog entries for Foodbuzz’s Project Food Blog, two of my favorite blogs, You Feed a Baby Chili?!? And Korean American Mommy both had a recipe up for Korean Blanched Spinach or Sigumchi Namul. This side dish is delicious, just tasting the sauce which is soy, kosher salt, sugar, white vinegar or rice vinegar, a thinly sliced scallion and red pepper flakes, forewarned me that I had found my, “I hope they have spinach today!” dish. Both recipes did call for toasted sesame seeds, but sesame seeds bug me since they insist on lodging themselves in between my teeth so I tossed in a few drops of sesame oil instead.

Korean American Mommy also had a recipe up for Korean Mung Beans Sprouts which caught my eye because I had mung beans leftover in my fridge from all the Pho eating I’ve been doing, I recently cooked a cow shank into a whole lot of Pho stock. It was novel for me to actually cook the mung beans, I have only used them raw where I am throwing them into a soup or a hot dish where the ambient heat essentially quick cooks them, and I have never eaten them as a side dish on their own. This side dish was so delicate, crisp and clean in flavor and I was delighted by the texture that I ate quite a lot on their own before I did end up adding them to the spinach thinking that the crisp texture of the mung bean would be a nice contrast to the spinach. Both of these side dishes had some staying power and where just as flavorful and crispy 24 hours later when the remnants were devoured as a midnight snack.

Last week I asked a bunch of my friends for a list of things that they would really like someone to cook for them, for whatever reason. I got quite an interesting list and one of the things on the list was stuffed artichokes. I love artichokes but had never had them stuffed. Roasted, boiled, steamed, dipped in butter, aioli and cheese sauce yes, stuffed no. I used a recipe from Saveur.

The stuffing was very flavorful and very light, but it did end up being a little soggy. I may have stuffed the stuffing to far down into the artichoke. In the end I liked the idea more than the actual product. I think that I may be an artichoke purist and truly prefer them simply steamed and served with really good melted butter. I certainly wouldn’t turn down a stuffed artichoke if it landed on a plate in front of me, but I probably would not make them stuffed again, however if you are a stuffed artichoke lover this is a great recipe and the failings of the dish were mine alone.

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