Grilled Artichokes

Here in Michigan, we are about to start peak artichoke season. They are available at every grocery store and usually very inexpensive to purchase. I picked up 2 yesterday and we grilled them for dinner last night. They may look scary, but whole artichokes are like candy to us. Here is how to grill an amazing whole artichoke:
1 whole artichoke
2-3 garlic cloves chopped
1 lemon (1 teaspoon of lemon zest and the juice of the lemon)
1 teaspoon of black pepper
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of melted butter (real butter or Earth Balance)
Fill a large stock pot with water (more than halfway) and bring to a boil. Trim the artichoke stem; leaving 1 inch. Cut the artichoke in half. Take a paring knife and cut just below the choke (the little hairs inside). Take a spoon and scrap out the choke. Add the de-choked artichokes to the water and boil for 20-30 minutes.
Take the artichokes out and let them drain. Mix the remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Grill at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes, marinating the artichokes with the lemon and garlic mixture.

*We did not bother to trim the leaf prickers, but you may want to.


Spinach and Artichoke Lasagna with Tofu Ricotta

Weekends are busy for us. The mostly vegetarian family and I actually ate this for dinner last night. I made it Saturday and didn’t bake it until Sunday. We had a play date scheduled for late Sunday afternoon and I had no idea what time our company would be leaving. Most families would probably opt for pizza or some sort of take out. This was much better than take out, mostly vegetarian, and cheaper than ordering out. The catch? Planning ahead. Which is why I assembled it on Saturday.

1/2 onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
one box of uncooked thin pasta (I used Barilla)
large bag of frozen chopped spinach
large bag of frozen artichoke hearts
2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
8 oz. package of extra firm tofu (pressed and crumbled)
1 T. lemon juice
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. dried basil
1.) Crumble pressed tofu into a mixing bowl. Add lemon juice, dried basil, oregano, and 1 chopped clove of garlic; to create “ricotta”.

2.) In a large skillet, cook onions until clear. Add the rest of the garlic cloves. Add frozen artichokes and spinach (will thaw in skillet).

3.) Layer the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan with pasta sheets. Add tofu ricotta and a few scoops of the spinach/artichoke mixture. Sprinkle with a bit of mozzarella. Add more sheets of pasta and repeat. Cover the last layer with mozzarella and cover. Bake at 350 degrees for an hour. Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes to lightly brown the top.

This lasagna would be a good way for non-tofu eaters to try it. This version does not have a sauce either. I personally don’t think it needs it. Some people might want to add a tomato or cream sauce. Feel free!