All Choked Up | Grilled Artichokes with Lemon Garlic Aioli



















Friends, can you believe that August is nearly half over? That these glorious, hot, sunshine and thunderstorm-filled days are whipping by us at break neck speed? And before we know it, we will be trudging through another long, cold, snowy winter? *sigh* My apologies for the pessimistic ‘tude that I’m rocking right now. Summer just ain’t long enough!



















However, I do have some advice for making the best of the rest of these summer days. Ready?

1.Get outside. Spend as much time out there as you can! Eat outside, drink outside, be active outside (emphasis on eat and drink). Have a bonfire, roast marshmallows, and devour s’mores. Sit outside and read a book. Get out there and soak up summer!

2.Make these. Don’t ask questions, just do it. Preferably in combination with #1.



















3.Go to the farmers’ market. Summer farmers’ markets are fabulous. Fresh produce in its prime. Delicious local goods. Supporting your community. All the things!

4.Eat more ice cream. This should not require an argument, but if you have your doubts, Em has you covered. And if you require any inspiration, look no further.



















5.Sleep in. It is summer, after all. And while we might not be 16 anymore, with the glory of summer holidays to waste away by sleeping until 1pm, try to sneak in an extra hour or two of slumber and savor a lazy weekend morning. Preferably followed by pancakes and hot coffee.

6.Get away. Even if you can’t swing an exotic summer holiday, get out of town for a weekend. Enjoy a change of scenery! Go to the beach, the mountains, go camping. Just get out. Your mind will thank you.

7.Grill up some artichokes and then dip them in lemon garlic aioli and stuff them into your face. Seriously.

Artichokes are delicious (and beautiful!) things. I had never bought or eaten a whole artichoke prior to trying this recipe. Canned artichokes often find their way into my grocery basket for use in a spinach and artichoke dip or onto homemade pizza. But there’s more to artichokes than their lovely little hearts! They’ve got cute little leaves that you can dip into a tasty aioli and then pull the flesh from with your teeth. With simple flavors like lemon and garlic, and the wonderful char created by a hot grill, these are a great appetizer or side to any summer meal. Get grillin’ friends, and enjoy summer!



















Grilled Artichokes with Lemon Garlic Aioli (barely adapted from Food For My Family)

For the artichokes:
3 whole artichokes
2 lemons
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Fill a large bowl with water, and add the juice from one lemon, saving the rind. Cut the artichokes in half and immediately submerge in the water (to prevent browning). Bring a (very) large pot of water to a boil and add in the squeezed lemon rind. Transfer the artichokes to the boiling water. Boil for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Fire up the grill. In a large bowl, add the juice from the other lemon, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. When the artichokes are done boiling, drain them on a paper towel and then toss them around in the bowl to coat them.

With the grill on medium heat, add the artichokes to the grill. Brush the artichokes with the remaining oil mixture in the bowl. Turn every five minutes until artichokes start to char (mine took about 15 minutes). Remove from heat.

For the lemon garlic aioli:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 cloves garlic, minced
Juice from 1/2 of a lemon
1 green onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Mix together all ingredients in a small bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve with the grilled artichokes.



















Things might get messy. Have your napkins ready.

The photos in this post were taken with Instagram, an iPhone app. If you are an IG user and want to follow my daily foodie (etc.) life, you can find me at @onceuponarecipe.

Leaving On a Jet Plane | Chicken, Spinach, and Feta Burgers

All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go…

I’m standing here outside your door (well, I’m actually sitting at my computer)…

I hate to wake you up to say goodbye (but hopefully I’m not waking you, and you’re reading this when it’s convenient for you)…

But the dawn is breakin’, it’s early morn (almost)…

The taxi’s waiting, he’s blowin’ his horn (actually, my mom is picking me up and driving me to the airport)…

Already I’m so lonesome I could die (not really)…I’m pretty excited to visit my BFF in the Big Apple!

I’m leavin’ on a jet plane…

Don’t know when I’ll be back again (next week)…

Oh babe, I hate to go…(like I said, I’m pretty excited)…

You get the drift. I’m blowin’ this popsicle stand! But before I go, I wanted to share a recipe for some mega delicious and simple chicken burgers that I made last week. They were a huge hit with my dinner guest, and I will definitely be making them again and again this summer. I cooked these up on my little countertop grill, but if you’re lucky enough to own a barbecue, get on out there and grill these pups over an open flame. Serve ’em up with homemade fries (potatoes cut into wedges, tossed with olive oil and salt and pepper, and baked at 400°F for about 35-40 minutes) and a salad, and you’ve got yourself a rather spectacular spring/summer meal.

Chicken, Spinach, and Feta Burgers (adapted from Kitchen Parade)

1 pound ground chicken

6 ounces fresh spinach

1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled

2 tablespoons bread crumbs (I used Panko)

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. dried basil

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

Fresh buns

For toppings: tzatziki sauce, sliced cucumbers, sliced tomatoes

Rinse the spinach leaves in a colander, then place in a bowl in the microwave and cook on high until tender, for about a minute. Let cool, then roughly chop. You could also use frozen spinach that has been thawed and drained.

Combine the spinach, feta, bread crumbs, garlic powder, basil, salt and pepper and mix well. Gently stir in the chicken and form into five burgers (about half an inch thick). Heat a grill pan on medium high, spray with non-stick spray. Cook the burgers for about 5 minutes on each side, or until done. My highly technical method involves cutting into one of the burgers to determine if it’s cooked through. But if you want to get all fancy, go ahead and use a meat thermometer.

To assemble, grab a bun (I toasted mine slightly under the broiler), grab a burger, and pile high with a generous dollop of tzatziki sauce, cucumbers, and tomatoes. Seriously, those are the only toppings you’ll need.

Enjoy friends, and have a wonderful week! 🙂

Hello BBQ Season | Southwestern Black Bean Burgers

Black beans have been making many appearances on this little blog of mine lately, I just noticed. What can I say, I must be a fan of sources of dietary fiber and antioxidants. Black beans are also very versatile, partnering well with many different ingredients and flavors. I came across this recipe for Southwestern Black Bean burgers last summer when perusing one of my favorite blogs, Everybody Likes Sandwiches. My vegetarian best friend, and her vegetarian husband were coming over for dinner, and I wanted to knock their socks off with a delicious and unique vegetarian entree.

Despite a couple of failures during the assembly phase (a food processor that died halfway through its duties, and a new BBQ that wouldn’t work), the burgers came together in the end and were incredible! Great flavor, awesome texture, and easily adaptable to various toppings. I served the burgers with fresh avacado and tomato, salsa, and a chili-lime mayonnaise that I whipped up at the last moment. Coupled with homemade baked fries, the meal was a hit. However, these could easily be topped with run-of-the-mill burger condiments (ketchup, mustard, relish, even cheese), and would still be dynamite. You can throw the burgers on the BBQ or cook them stovetop, whichever you prefer. Keep this recipe in mind for your BBQs this season!

Southwestern Black Bean Burgers (adapted from Everybody Likes Sandwiches)

2 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 TBSP. cumin
2 TBSP. chili powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne powder (more if you like it spicy)
A few dashes of your favorite hot sauce (ie. tobasco)
1/2 tsp. salt
3 TBSP. greek low-fat yogurt
3/4 cup oat bran
1/4 cup wheat germ
1 TBSP. ground flax seeds
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
8 hamburger buns, warmed

Blend together 1 can of beans, garlic, yogurt and spices in a food processor or blender. Dump into a bowl and add the second can of beans, oat bran, wheat germ, flax, cilantro and lime. Stir everything together until well mixed. If your mixture is too soft to form patties, add a little bit more oat bran. If it is too stiff, add a little bit of water. Form into 8 patties and chill in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.

If cooking the burgers on the stovetop, heat 2 TBSP. of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and brown each side, about 3 minutes per side or until slightly crispy. If cooking on the BBQ, throw the burgers on a medium-high grill, but line your grill with tin foil (brushed with oil or sprayed with cooking spray, to avoid sticking), and cook for 3 minutes per side, or until browned and crispy. Top cooked burgers with whatever your little heart desires and enjoy!

*For an easy chili-lime mayonnaise, combine 1/2 cup mayonnaise with the juice of half a lime, 1 TBSP. chili powder, and salt and pepper to taste. Add in a little cayenne pepper for some extra heat, if that tickles your fancy.

On another note, spring seems to have finally sprung around here. The sun is out, the temperatures are warm(er), and it feels like winter might finally be behind us. The little stinker is obsessed with the smells that are being uncovered by melted snow and warmth. She looks angelic here, but looks can be very deceiving. Happy Good Friday!

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