National Artichoke Hearts Day!

You heard me.

The CA State Food.

The CA State Food.

Happy National Artichoke Heart Day

It’s March 16th and you better be loving all things green. Like artichoke hearts. Maybe they’re yellowish beige, for our content here today they’re pale green, from a green plant. For those who are green. We heart these hearts.

We first met a 1000 years ago in Yankee Key West (The CT Shoreline). We both had more hair then, me in a bi-level with a rat’s tail, Arty with a fibrous leafy covering. The chef at LL Chapman’s (more on LL another time) took three little hearts and put them in an oval ramekin. Splashed with white wine they then got a scoop of creamy italian dressing, creamy bleu cheese dressing and two pieces of swiss cheese on top. In that little Love Boat went to the oven. Ten minutes later you had Artichoke Hearts Roman (chef name) my favorite appetizer of the Summer of 1987. I couldn’t believe how easy they were to assemble, how easily they went down. Tasty tasty. The melted cheese on the side of the dish was crusty and delicious. The entire ramekin was sponge cleaned with loaves of hot Italian bread. This was of course back when carbs were something completely different. It was there we first met, in 1987. There went my heart.

Subsequently we’ve dallied together in saute with chicken, we’ve fried in a tasty breading. Arty Choke and I maintain our mutual admiration society to this day. Arty’s and mine latest spin is a great Gluten Free hors d’ oveur. In lieu of a cracker a halved artichoke heart makes a great base for tapenade or hummus or even a grilled shrimp.

So good w/ stuffing and melted cheese.

So good w/ stuffing and melted cheese.

Sometimes when I eat one of these little yummies I hear Celine Dion in the background crooning “……my heart will go on, and on……” and I smile about my rat’s tail.

Food For Thought:

“Almost every artichoke produced in the United States comes from California. Did you know that the town of Castroville, California crowned its first “Artichoke Queen” in 1947? The winner was a young actress named Norma Jean Mortenson who later changed her name to Marilyn Monroe!” National Artichoke Heart Day, punchbowl.com

The JBCBCB!!! Happy St. Patrick’s Weekend!!!

“Corned Beef & Cabbage, makes an Irishman savage” – Mama Spats

Our mascot/accountant Ralph the Rubber Rat always on point

Our mascot/accountant Ralph the Rubber Rat always on point

Every year it would be the same, Ma chopping potatoes and carrots and cabbage for St. Patrick’s Day Dinner. The heady smell of the boiling beef would fill the house, spilling outside down the back stairs. Dishes of mustard on both ends of the kitchen table. Come Hell, high water or Lent, there was an amazing one pot-dinner in praise of the green. It was a tasty little oasis as winter in New England would grind to a close. Every year this dinner popped up near the Ides, near St. Pats. It also coincided close to our Uncle Jimmy’s Birthday on the 14th.

Uncle Jim was a Murphy and as Irish as they come. On a pilgrimage to Caherciveen, near County Cork Uncle Jim traced the Murphy roots back generations. In the old family homestead the genealogy was listed on a wall. To which he added the New England branch of Murphys including the Spatafora name. This makes me Irish-adjacent to speak Angeleno to you all. Not the annual eating of the brisket or wearing o’ the Green, but absolutely sharing the spirit of family and roots makes St. Patrick’s Day special for us.

This heralds the introduction of our holiday classic “The JBCBCB”. It’s inspiration, Jon, is a family to us. He’s part of the Network of Informants and Thieves that we mention every so often Jon tinkered with the recipe and passed the ball to us where we gave it our spin. Jon has a voice like thunder and a smile a mile wide. He’s a great man to know, especially in a bar fight. If you  don’t like Jon B, you don’t like brisket. That sounds better than it reads. We love you Jon.

Enjoy your holiday, enjoy our recipe and the laughs that cross contaminate a good time. It’s what it’s all about right? Good times, family (chosen and biological) and good food. Come hungry!!