Grilled Artichokes with Thousand Island

By Wendy Monro

It has been a crazy summer. I don’t even know what day it is anymore. It has been a whirlwind. In fact, “whirlwind” doesn’t even cover what this has been.

The drama of family, a hospital visit, dance competitions, arguments with spouses, chaos with teenagers, crying babies, a toddler who runs (no, sprints) everywhere, too much food, too much alcohol, too many hangovers, and too much sun. Is summer over yet?

I have had 23 family members visit since the beginning of June. The final family left today. I think its over. I’ll lock the doors just in case. Can I crawl into bed and pull the covers over my head until September? OK, pity party is over.

On the bright side, we ate amazing food at home and in restaurants, we saw tons of fun shows, I loved hanging out with my cousins and reminiscing about our childhood, we lounged poolside in cabanas at incredible resorts, I have an amazing tan, we sipped champagne in the warm summer night air, and we loved one another. I am a very lucky woman even if I am tired and need a vacation from my home.

It has been a challenge to always have food available and to prepare food for all of my guests. I usually just started cooking whatever I wanted and soon people were in the kitchen waiting to get some. I gave up asking. Everyone always knew they could help themselves at anytime to anything in the kitchen. Yesterday, I peered into the refrigerator to see what was in there. I scanned the vegetable drawers and saw some artichokes. I figured they would be a great snack that everyone could nibble on. So I boiled a pot of water.

My three-year-old and six-year-old cousins wandered into the kitchen to see what I was doing. They asked what those weird green things on the cutting board were. I told them I was making some artichokes. They both said, “Ewww”, in unison. So, I threw some dinosaur chicken nuggets into the microwave for them. Then, I went back to trimming my artichokes. Jack and his friend came in and asked what I was making. I held up an artichoke. He asked if I could make them quesadillas. So, I put down the artichoke and made two quesadillas. I placed the artichokes into the boiling water when Daphne and her boyfriend walked in from a morning playing Pokemon Go. Daphne asked if the dip I was making for the artichokes was vegan. I said no and decided to make two dips, one regular and one vegan, and began that process. My cousin Jordan woke up from a nap. She and I spent the morning in the emergency room. She was suffering from dehydration. She hadn’t eaten much in a few days. I asked if she wanted me to make her some soup. She did. I made her some soup while my artichokes cooled. I guess nobody was lining up this time for my snack idea. Oh well.

Claud walked in and asked if I was going to grill the artichokes to char them a little. He said he likes the taste and crispiness of when they are grilled. I said, “Of course, I am,” although that was not the original plan. At this point, it didn’t matter. So, I pulled out the grill pan, cut the artichokes in half, removed the inside hairy bit, sprinkled on salt and pepper and drizzled them with olive oil. I grilled the artichokes and placed them on a plate with the dips. Daphne, Jayden, Claud, and I devoured them. Claud was right to ask for grilled. This really does change the flavor. Everyone ate his or her different lunches. I looked around and marveled at the satisfaction I get from feeding people. I am a nut. I loved that everyone had what he or she wanted and they all looked content. I am pretty sure, I have mastered the skill of satisfying a multitude of tastes in the kitchen all at once. If nothing else, this summer of so many guests has taught me at least this one new skill.

Grilled Artichokes:

Time: 1 hour

Serves: 4

4 artichokes

2 tablespoons olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

1 cup thousand island dressing (recipe follows)

Cut off the top half inch of the artichoke and any pointy parts of the leaves around the top. Leave the stem. Place into a pot of boiling water. Boil covered for thirty minutes. Remove from water and allow to cool. Cut into halves or quarters. Remove the furry part from the inside. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place onto a hot grill pan or the grill. Grill for five minutes each side. Remove and serve with Thousand Island dressing.

Thousand Island:

cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons ketchup

1 clove garlic, chopped

5 cornichons, chopped (or a tablespoon of capers)

salt and pepper to taste

Combine all of the ingredients and mix well.