I've cooked my way through all 264 recipes
in The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook!

March 24, 2010

Braised Artichokes and Potatoes (p. 291) and Roasted Fish with a Citrus Sauce (p. 366)

We had long promised to have our dear friends Blair (the guy who gave me the anchovies) and Sarah to dinner, and last night we finally made good on it. On the menu; braised artichokes and potatoes and a citrusy fish dish.

My problems started when I went grocery shopping for our dinner ingredients. The Braised Artichokes and Potatoes recipe calls for 8 small, firm artichokes and 8 small potatoes, but I had an issue with the word "small" in both cases. At Kroger, I had the option to pick between either giant artichokes at $2.99 a pop, or a carton of baby artichokes that was much more reasonable. Are baby artichokes and small artichokes the same thing? Probably not. Ditto on the potatoes -- the recipe didn't call for new potatoes, it just called for small ones. I purchased a bag of potatoes that were on the smaller side, but when I started actually making the dish it seemed evident that the potatoes should have been much, much smaller.

The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook has a chapter at the beginning on how to prepare certain vegetables before using them in a recipe, and artichokes were no exception. They need to have their stalks trimmed back, the hard outer leaves removed, and are then placed in a bowl full of lemony water to prevent discoloration.  The potatoes were to be peeled and then placed whole in a skillet but I chose to cut mine down some as they suddenly seemed way too big.

The veggies are simmered, along with onion, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper, water and lemon in a small amount of olive oil. They stay on the stove for about 45 minutes at varying heats, and then are served immediately.

The roasted fish calls for a meaty sort of white fish -- I was originally going to use halibut until I realized it's ridiculously expensive ($19.95/lb!) so I picked up some cod instead. This turned out to be another really simple fish recipe. The fish is dusted with flour and lightly browned on each side in a little olive oil before being put into an oven safe dish. Using the same pan, you cook chopped onion, garlic, and parsley until it is soft but not brown, and then mix this with a few spices and a citrus mixture. The recipe calls for seville oranges, but says that you could also use blood or juice oranges, if necessary, along with a lemon. Seville oranges were nowhere to be found in Raleigh (or at least not in the two places I checked), so I used the combination of a lemon and a blood orange.

Once the whole mixture has been heated up on the stove, it is poured over the fish and put in the oven for about twenty minutes.

I forgot to take any pictures of food until we'd actually started eating.

I also made whole wheat rolls from the Sullivan Street cookbook. They were delicious, for realz. (And we did eat them with butter, defying the name of this blog.)

Overall, I liked both of these recipes. The artichokes seemed a little bitter, though, and I'm not sure what about them caused that; it's possible that baby artichokes are just more bitter than their larger counterparts. The citrus sauce on the fish was delicious, and I would definitely make it again. We sopped it up in our bread rolls long after the cod had disappeared.

Here's a totally awkward picture of us eating dinner. How beautiful are my fish plates?

potatoes -- $3.49
bay leaf -- $1.99 (I only used 2 leaves and have about 10 left)
artichokes -- $3.99 (with about 6 baby artichokes left for something else)
lemon -- $.21
onion -- $.93
Total Cost of Braised Artichokes and Potatoes: $10.61
(with leftovers of the dish for lunches today)

lemon -- $.21
onion -- $1.12
blood orange -- $1.62
cod -- $10.52
Total Cost of Roasted Fish with a Citrus Sauce: $13.47 
(no leftovers)

bread flour -- $2.99 (lots left over for other breads)
Total Cost of Whole Wheat Rolls: $2.99
(1 leftover roll for lunch today)

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Thanks for dropping by! Love, Katrina.