The Right Tool for the Job, It's Important

Today's post is brought to you by, appreciate your canned artichokes. Why? 'Cause they are a pain in the ass to prepare for braising. You will find, lemon water doesn't stop the artichokes from browning and that without a proper utensil to deflower the heart, you can harm yourself with a spoon. I managed to cut myself with one tonight. My husband's response to that.... Laughing. Then he declares, "I didn't realize you were serious". Oh well, it's an accomplishment, massive recall on spoons folks, they're dangerous when armed with my own vigor and stupidity.

It's been a couple of weeks since my last dutch oven Sunday and it is pretty safe to say that tonight I was a bit off my game, not about the meal's savor and amazing deliciousness but in execution.

The agenda for tonight, honored by my love for France, all the French wine I've been drinking lately, and my faithful vegetarian reader. White bean bisque with garlic chips and braised Artichokes, this might seem like a simple menu, and it did to me this morning when I half un-caffinated decided it was my hearts desire for dinner.

Again, remember, you must REALLY love artichokes to put yourself through the mess and trouble of preparing artichokes for braising.... Below the instructions for preparing artichokes... I was so confused at one point, I resorted to watching an instructional video by Tom Tom Colicchio...

White bean bisque with garlic chips, is amazing, but I warn you. You should really reconsider this dish if you do not own an immersion blender. Take my advise, ladling soup into the blender in batches leads to, several scenarios, all of which we encountered tonight. White bean soup in the blender when it's hot, will require two people, you will figure this out, because you will try to accomplish the task alone, and the lid to the blender will rocket off the top, meanwhile half blended hot soup will Propel across you, the nearest appliance, the floor, the counter tops, and the fresh flower arrangement nearby. After this happens, if you're me, you will think SHIT!, and then attempt a second time, and realize, this just isn't working out. Next, your spouse will come in and exclaim, let me HOLD the top for you, while you bitch about not owning the correct cooking tool you need to make your Julia Child kitchen masterpieces. Eventually, the soup will all get blended, and then when cleaning you will listen to how much half blended bean soup would be an excellent replacement for movie set "prop puke".

After the pre dinner "de-beaning" ourselves and the kitchen... Dinner was actually very scrumptious, Jon even wore his dinner!... garlic chips were to die for, in fact, I am pretty sure we're going to smell like garlic tomorrow and maybe through Tuesday as well.

Safety First in the kitchen folks! Hot flying soup and slotted spoon stabbings can really put an invigorating twist to the nights simple French meal.. my two cents, if you like soup, buy a damn immersion blender, and ORDER braised artichoke hearts when you see them at a restaurant :)

~White Bean Bisque with Garlic Chips~

- serves 6 - or you, a lunch for tomorrow and a VERY hungry husband.


8 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
Olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 shallot, sliced
1 sprig rosemary
4 15.5-ounce cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 quart vegetable stock, chicken stock, or water
1/2 cup heavy cream


1. In a small sauce pot, heat just enough oil to deep fry the garlic chips—about 1/4 cup depending on the size of the pot. Heat over medium heat. When hot, add the garlic chips in, and cook until crispy and golden—but not brown and burnt. It takes seconds, so don't take your eyes off them! Remove the chips to a paper towel with a slotted spoon to cool. Reserve the oil.

2. Add 2 tablespoons of the reserved garlic oil and 1 tablespoon of butter to a stock pot over medium heat. Add the shallot, and sauté gently until just soft—3 minutes.

3. Drain and rinse the beans, and add them to the pot along with the rosemary sprig (leave the leaves on the stem) and the stock or water. Season with salt and pepper, raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil. When the soup boils, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

4. After 15 to 20 minutes, remove the rosemary sprig from the soup and discard. Turn off the heat, and use an immersion blender to purée the soup until smooth. Stir in the cream—the residual heat of the soup will heat it through. Serve the garlic chips as a garnish on top.

~Braised Artichoke Hearts~


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