Saturday, February 15, 2014

Loving the Artichoke

My Lovely Valentine Meal:
Garlic, tomato and button mushrooms sauteed with whole grain pasta.
Artichoke steamed with lemon wedges and orange peel--
I had an orange before preparing this meal and just when I
was about to throw the peel out I thought...wait a minute...
and threw it into the pot! Voila, artichokes has a beautiful
but very subtle citrus-y quality.  

Made a big deal about Valentine's Day this year. It's the first time I've been single on this date for a long time. This is something I am celebrating at the moment. Being able to spend time with myself, choosing to do what I like, learning to not be so self-sacrificing is a whole new adventure for me. And yesterday was an exercise in loving myself in all ways possible.

And one of the ways I treated myself yesterday was with food. I prepared a nice picnic for one, a couple of lovely spelt bread sandwiches with creamy peanut butter, tomato, cucumber and avocado which I enjoyed along with a thermos of anise tea up in Monserrat during the day.

Later, as I made my way back to Barcelona, I thought about taking myself to a restaurant but then recalled the fresh organic artichokes I had bought the day before. Coming from an Asian household, artichoke is not something we prepared at home. Ever. And I always think of it as a specialty food, one usually ordered in an Italian restaurant during a special occasion. In my head, it was a complicated to make. Then, last weekend during a workshop, I was reminded how easy it was to prepare artichokes. And right now, in all the veg stalls and markets here in Barcelona, the vegetable (really it's a flower bud) is pretty much everywhere.

It could not have been an easier meal to prepare: I cut the two artichokes in half. Cut up part of a lemon into wedges. Looked at the rinds of the Valencian orange I had just eaten and threw it in there as well. As it steamed in the pot, I put a smaller pot to boil for pasta. And prepared a simple sauce. The pasta and artichokes were done practically at the same time.

Artichoke hearts for Valentine's. All for me too. Quite fitting. It was a pretty satisfying meal, pairing the artichoke with pasta, and having the meal with a glass of red wine. I put on a movie, and savored each delicious leaf with the local organic cold-pressed olive oil that made up my pasta sauce.

I had made something delicious, special and simple. And I was eating something very good for me. Artichoke is thought of to have more antioxidants than any other vegetable. It helps the liver cleanse, aiding in the creation of more bile, which then helps the body break down foods as well as absorb nutrients easier.

So yesterday the artichoke helped me love myself just a little bit more than usual! 

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