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February 2010
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Trader Joes “Mozz” and Stuffed Artichokes

So there’s a Trader Joes about 20 minutes away from me, which I used to find pretty exciting…but then I discovered Edge of the Woods (the Vegetarian Grocery in New Haven) which became my regular shopping destination, followed by the Whole Foods that recently opened right near the Trader Joes for anything I couldn’t normally find.  With all that, plus the generic chain megamarts I kind of forgot that good ole Joe existed…and it’d been months if not years since my last visit.  That changed on Sunday.

I brought a friend back from the city with me for a concert (Woohoo Hadag Nahash!!!!) and since she is OBSESSED with Trader Joes, I decided I’d do my weekly shopping there, and we headed over.  Selection is still a bit light, but I’d forgotten how absolutely amazing the prices are, since everything there is generic brand.  One thing I picked up that I’d never had before was the Trader Joes brand soy mozzarella.  I don’t generally do Soy Cheeses…they tend to have weird consistancies, don’t melt, and taste nothing like the real thing.  NONE of that is true here.  This stuff is great!!!  Frankly I can’t even tell the difference between it and the real thing, and it made a great pizza:

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The pizza dough is also from Trader Joes, as are the sliced peppers and onion.  I had the black olives, and the burnt basil is off my personal plant.  The whole thing is sprinkled with zataar, because I’m obsessed with zataar on my pizza….you should try it.

Another thing I picked up at Trader Joes, was artichokes.  Now I’ve never cooked/prepared an artichoke in my life.  I’ve bought jarred and marinated artichoke hearts, but I’ve never before purchased the whole monster, or even wanted to in all honesty.  They just looked so darn good there that I couldn’t help myself, and that’s how I ended up eating Lemony Stuffed Artichokes for dinner:

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Ingredients
4 whole artichoke
1 cup Italian Breadcrumbs
1 clove minced garlic
1/3 cup minced parsley
1/4 cup Nooch (Nutritional Yeast)
1 tbs dried oregano
3 tbs Vegetable Oil
1 tbs lemon juice
S+P to taste

Directions
1. Snip the pointed tips of artichoke leaves, and cut off the stems. Wash and drain. Holding artichoke firmly by base, firmly rap the top of it on a hard surface; this will open it so it can be stuffed. It’s also a great way to get out your aggression!
2. In a medium bowl combine bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, Nooch, oregano, vegetable oil, salt and pepper; mix well.
3. Press about 1/2 cup of stuffing into each artichoke. Tightly pack stuffed artichokes together in a large heavy saucepan or Dutch oven. Add enough water to reach half way up artichokes and add lemon juice.
4. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 1 hour, or until leaves pull out easily.

When push comes to shove, I think prepping artichokes from scratch is a bit more trouble then it’s worth, and eating them is even harder.  That and considering how big the confounded vegetables are, there really isn’t that much to eat…And now I leave you with one question….who on earth saw these spiny contraptions and thought they were edible???

Selah.

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