The Love Plant: Risotto with Lemony Artichokes

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I love poems. I always did. Love poems.

Recently I read a poem about a flower. Love flower.

Artichoke is also flower. Love artichoke.

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The Love Plant

written by Anne Sexton

A freak but moist flower
tangles my lungs, knits into my heart,
crawls up my throat
and sucks like octopi on my tongue.
You planted it happily last summer
and I let it take root with my moon-hope,
not knowing it would come to crowd me out,
to explode inside me this March.
All winter trying to diminish it,
I felt it enlarge.
But of course never spoke to you of this,
for my sanity was awful enough,
and I felt compelled to think only of yours.
Now that you have gone for always
why does not the plant shrivel up?
I try to force it away.
I swallow stones.
Three times I swallow slender vials
with crossbones on them.

But it thrives on their liquid solution.
I light matches and put them in my mouth,
and my teeth melt but the greenery hisses on.
I drink blood from my wrists
and the green slips out like a bracelet.
Couldn’t one of my keepers get a lawn mower
and chop it down if I turned inside out for an hour?
This flower, this pulp, the hay stuff
has got me, got me.
Apparently both of us are unkillable.

I am coughing. I am gagging. I feel it enter
the nasal passages, the sinus, lower, upper
and thus to the brain — spurting out of my eyes,
I must find a surgeon who will cut it out,
burn it out as they do sometimes with violent epileptics.
I will dial one quickly before I erupt!

Would you guess at it
if you looked at me swinging down Comm. Ave.
in my long black coat with its fur hood,
and my long pink skirt poking out step by step?
That under the coat, the pink, the bra, the pants,
in the recesses where love knelt
a coughing plant is smothering me?

Perhaps I am becoming unhuman
and should accept its natural order?
Perhaps I am becoming part of the green world
and maybe a rose will just pop out of my mouth?
Oh passerby, let me bite it off and spit it at you
so you can say “How nice!” and nod your thanks
and walk three blocks to your lady love
and she will stick it behind her ear
not knowing it will crawl into her ear, her brain
and drive her mad.

Then she will be like me —
a pink doll with her frantic green stuffing.

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Risotto with Artichokes 

Risotto

Ingredients (serves 4):

400 g rice (I used risotto rice)
3 sticks of celery, finely chopped
1 leek, washed and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
finely grated zest of one lemon
80 g grated parmesan
1 l vegetable stock
1 tsp see salt
1 tsp white pepper
a knob of ghee or neutral coconut oil

Directions:

1. In a larger pot heat the ghee or coconut oil over the medium heat. Add leek, stir and cook for 2 minutes. Add celeriac, stir and cook for another 3 minutes. Add white pepper and garlic, stir and cook for 1 minute. Then add rice. The rice will now beginn to lightly fry so keep stirring it. After about 1 minute add your first ladle of hot vegetable stock and a good pinch of salt.
2. Turn the heat down to a simmer so the rice does`t cook too quickly on the outside. Keep adding ladlefuls of stock, stirring and massaging the creamy starch out of the rice, allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next. This will take around 15 minutes. Taste the rice to check if it’s cooked. If not, carry on adding stock until the rice is soft but with a slight bite. Don’t forget to check the seasoning carefully. If you run out of stock before the rice is cooked, add some boiling water.
3. Remove from the heat and add the lemon zest and parmesan. Stir well. Place a lid on the pan and allow to sit for 2 minutes. This is the most important part of making the perfect risotto, as this is when it becomes amazingly creamy and oozy like it should be. Place over the plates and cover with lemony artichokes.

Lemony Artichokes

Ingredients:

8 artichokes
3 bay leaves
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
2 lemons, their juice
knob of ghee, or coconut oil
5 Tsp olive oil
salt and pepper to your taste
fresh thyme

Optional add:
fresh green peas
finely chopped fresh dill

Directions:

1. Wash the artichoke thoroughly. Hold the artichoke under cold running water. Rinse in between the leaves without pulling on them. Dry the artichoke with a clean towel.
2. Using a large knife, cut off the top 2 cm of the artichoke.Using a knife or pair of kitchen scissors, cut off the hard leaves until you reached the tender and light colored part of artichoke- heart. Cut off the stem flush with the base, remove the white “hair” and half the hearts of artichokes.
3. Salt the artichokes, pour them with 3 Tsp of olive oil and lemon juice. Set aside for 30 min.
4. In the frying pan heat the ghee or coconut oil. Add garlic and bay leaves and fry it just for a 10 sec. Add artichoke hearts, stir everything to combine and fry for another 5 min. Pour 1 dl water, reduce the temperature to medium, add thyme and cook until the water is absorbed. Repeat the process with water so many times until the hearts are softened (I repeated it two times). If you use it, add pealed fava beans to the artichokes in the last minute of cooking. Spread over the creamy risotto.

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