It became apparent to me earlier last summer that I was losing interest in the general subject matter on my blog. I no longer had a dog and my life had become smaller and smaller as walking became harder and harder, so I felt I had nothing to write about. Sorry for my prior extended absences.
What has been consuming my life is aging and everything involved in it. In case you missed the post with my age (I finally admitted it), I’m 66 and will be 67 in May. What I’ve been finding is that there’s very little written for those of us who are aging and the “challenges” we will face. No one seems to have any kind of major info….
So I decided to write about the things I run into as I hit them. “Hit them” is the operative phrase here, because pretty often it’s a shock. The other thing I’m going to write about are the interesting recipes I’ve come across that don’t require a lot of physical work or effort to make. You can stop laughing now…I was referring to carrying big pots of water, food etc. across the kitchen to the stove and back.
As you may or may not know/realize, since the emergency surgery and three or four weeks time I spent in the I.C.U. almost 2.5 years ago, my balance has really deteriorated. I’m now “chained” to my walker as it were. The whole idea of filling my 5 quart Dutch oven up with water to cook one or three artichokes (looovve them to pieces) or anything else, only to have to move the big (5 qt.) pot of water (cold or hot) between the sink and stove is just really unsafe at this point.
A while back, I had a very nice homecare person, named Antonia in to help me for a few hours. Got a lot done but sadly the artichoke (on sale over Thanksgiving) I’d been lusting after all summer only got halfway cooked before she had to leave. I tried leaving the it in the hot water hoping it’d finish cooking but no such luck. They’re tough little buggers.
So, using my 2 cup measure, I drained it (again, no moving big pots of water around the kitchen) and wrapped it in plastic resolving to figure it out in the days that followed. They last quite well when bagged and refrigerated.
(Oh, and did you know the way to check if your artichoke is ready? You take a tongs and grab hold of one of the leaves in the middle. If the leaf releases from the veg easily, voila, done. If not, cook some more. Usually takes about 40 or more minutes and you really can’t overcook them. Well, maybe 2+ hours would….)
So, I googled “can artichokes be microwaved?” and got all kinds of info that will now make my life and hopefully yours easier (and safer). What follows are just a few sites addressing this! Here are just a few:
Ten Minute Microwave Steamed Artichokes
(This article is really interesting because it talks about how to eat the stems! Some of the stores in my area actually advertise in very early summer having chokes with long stems because they are very similar to the heart of the artichoke. Who knew?)
How to Microwave Artichokes
Ways to Cook Artichokes
So getting older may be an evil none of us can avoid, but hopefully you, like me, will realize there are a number of ways around some of the problems. Oh, and for sitting through this long post, here’s my recipe (yes, I finally measured the ingredients vs. eyeballing them!) for a dip that’s fantastic with almost any form of raw veg as well as a great dip for the artichoke leaves and other cooked veggies. I’ve used this recipe for the last 35 years with virtually no alterations. It keeps (in my experience) for over a week in the fridge or until the whey in the sour cream has separated into a watery layer on top (just stir back in or pour off if you’re so inclined).
Dip for Artichokes
1 c. or more of Knudson’s sour cream (16 ounces or 2 cups shown below)
1-1.5 t. Lemon Pepper (not an expensive one)
1+/- t. Beau Monde by Spice Islands
1+/-t. Bon Appetit
Alternate measurements or to taste:
2 c. of Knudson’s sour cream (16 ounces or 2 cups shown below)
2+ t. Lemon Pepper
2+ t. Beau Monde by Spice Islands
2+ t. Bon Appetit also by Spice Islands
Sprinkle on the surface of the sour cream in a fairly solid track. First one direction vertically (or horizontally, doesn’t matter) and same with the other in the opposite direction. See photos.
Begin by topping with Lemon Pepper (as above). I used McCormick’s. You use the most of this “spice”. In other words a bit more than what’s seen here. And yes, this is a 16 ounce container of Knudson sour cream.
Mix well and chill to blend for about 1 hour. If you don’t let the spice “crystals” bloom, the dip will be crunchy if used immediately.
-Buy a cheap brand of lemon pepper vs. one by Spice Islands or any of the high end pricy ones. Easier to find and they taste better. My opinion. (This note applies to the spice mix Celery Salt also. I’ve tried the higher priced ones and the flavor doesn’t blend into itself well. Each element in the mix fights the other rather than becoming a homogenous flavoring. Again, my opinion.)
-You can always add more spice to the dip if it doesn’t suit you. Just let the spices meld again.
Dip and enjoy!