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The Best Way to Celebrate

Remember how Peter and I celebrated the end of my final exams last week with a Cuban Feast? This morning, Peter finished his LAST law school final exam ever! 😀 He peeled through his last final exam faster than these hanging overripe bananas peeled away from their skins.

(Picture preceded by a “thunk, THUNK” in the sink below.)

We celebrated with a Jessie-cooked meal of chicken and artichokes, specifically:

Balsamic Chicken with Sauteed Pears and Blue Cheese

Ingredients:
1 lb. chicken tenders or chicken breast
2 tsp canola oil
2 ripe Bosc pears, cores removed and pears sliced into wedges
1/2 chicken or veggie broth
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese (optional)

Cook the chicken tenders by your favorite method. I simmered the tenders in water to keep them moist, but you can also bake them or cook them in a pan. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a pan over medium heat and saute the pears until soft, about 3 minutes.

Combine broth, balsamic vinegar, and cornstarch and mix thoroughly. Add to pears and cook until sauce is thickened.

Arrange chicken and pears on plate and pour sauce over all. Add blue cheese if desired (I didn’t have any, but adding cheese would taste gooood).

Fruit and balsamic vinegar make such a delicious combination! Adding blue cheese would taste even better … if you like blue cheese, of course. If not, well, I don’t know you. 😛

I also made Christina‘s Stuffed Artichokes, a recipe I bookmarked a while back and that I’ve been itching to try. Usually, I just boil artichokes and serve them with a mayo-mustard sauce for Peter (boooooooring), but this recipe had me salivating and saying mmm-MMM!

I’ve never cut the tips off the artichoke leaves before – I always thought it was a time consuming frivolity that fancy restaurants did to impress their patrons, but it was actually really easy! And look how gorgeous they be:

Who knew artichokes were so beautiful??

Look how much stuff I pulled out of the artichoke centers:

Artichokes are definitely not a thrifty vegetable.

Full of stuffing:

After baking:

Great recipe, Christina! Peter is usually devoted to his mayo-mustard dip, but he loved this recipe 🙂

I’ve been working on a backlog of posts to go up periodically while I’m in China. I also have a number of guest posts in the queue by some wonderful bloggers that I’m very excited about!  I’ll also have a guest post by my sister (haha, you can’t get out of it now, C!!).  In any case, there should be some THIH action going on over the next month and a half.

Stay tuned for a fun post on Sunday! On Saturday, I’ll be getting another “credential” after my name. What “credential”, you ask? Hehehehe 😉

Q: Do you like artichokes? How do you like to prepare/eat them?

27 Comments

  1. Ohh artichokes are a favourite in Greece!! They are usually cooked tender with green peas, potatoes and carrots and a whole bunch of awesome smelling herbs. One of my favourite foods in fact… And very healthy too. I really wish I could find a recipe in English for you, I’m sure you’d love it with some feta cheese and olives!

  2. Artichokes are so good. We usually put them on pizza. That is awesome that he finished his last law exam. I bet that is a relief.

  3. Your artichokes look so fancy! Is it embarrassing that the only artichokes I’ve ever had have been from a can? I just can’t fathom how the ones in the can are the same as the ones you have pictured lol

    Yay for being done with exams 😀

  4. I agree- fruit and balsamic is the best! I’m not a huge artichoke fan but I probably just need to learn how to prepare them the right way. Yours look great!

  5. Ha ha, I usually only eat artichokes on pizza. I think they’re absolutely fantastic but preparing them seems incredibly challenging and involves a lot of effort so I’ve shied away from using them 🙂 Congrats on finishing that last exam!

  6. 2 favorites:

    Stuffed Hearts:
    – Hold the stem and trim 6 artichokes around the base (cutting the leaves) until there is almost no green. Cut away as little meat as possible. Break the stem and chop off the remaining leaves above the core, leaving a fleshy heart + choke about 2″ high.
    – Rub with lemon.
    – Place in 2 cups water with a few T of oil and a dash of salt. Simmer until tender (~20 mins). You can also steam if you want to keep more flavor, but it’s hardly worth the extra time if you are going to stuff with something more flavorful.
    – Scoop out the choke with a spoon.
    – Fill with something rich and tasty. I like A) bone marrow; B) chopped brown mushrooms and ground almonds sauteed with butter and herbs with a dash of sherry.

    Simple artichokes:
    Steam and serve with melted butter for dipping the leaves. To clean the artichoke before steaming, plunge into a deep bowl of water repeatedly. I dab the tops with lemon and you can also tie a lemon slice to the bottom to prevent browning (purely aesthetic).

    Partial credit goes to http://tinyurl.com/2alon4s

  7. Love artichokes, I actually made some stuffed ones for the first time this week as well.

    Congrats to Peter!

  8. Cuban feast?! That sounds like something I would conjure up. Congrats to both of your for your acheivements. What a fantastic feast you had.

    Not a big artichoke fan.

    Cheers!

  9. Wow, chicken,blue cheese and pears? I would love to try that combo!
    I never had artichokes 🙁

  10. I never had artichokes before…I don’t think anyway.
    You are so healthy and vibrant girl…not like me, who stays up uber-late eating too much sweets…and then wakes up and has a ginormous breakfast to load on top of the troubled tummy..will i ever learn 🙁

    🙂

  11. We always celebrate with food too!! 🙂 Pears and blue cheese just sounds like a winning combo, looks fabulous!!

    My fave way to eat artichokes is in fatty spinach and artichoke dip in a bread bowl… so naughty, but oh so deeeeelicious!! 😉

    Congrats to Peter!!

  12. Huge CONGRATS to Peter for finishing his last exam ever! You must be so proud of him. Definitely calls for a big crlebration and it looks like you cooked up the perfect meal. I’ve never tried chicken with pears before. Yours looks and sounds delicious 😛 I don’t cook artichoke ever but my grandma and mom uses them in soup. Love eating the heart. Never thought those words would come outta my mouth…teehee. And they don’t bother cutting the tips either. Totally agree with you though, they look so beautiful with the tips cut off. I’m gonna have to start cooking with artichokes cause I remember as a kid what fun it was to eat them. Don’t want to deprive my kiddies. Thanks for sharing those recipes. Hope you two FREE love birds have a beautiful weekend!

  13. I love blue cheese and pears together, I recently had a salad that combined the two and it was SO good.

    Congrats to Peter for finishing his last law exam. What a huge, amazing accomplishment! I am so excited for him! I wish I were that smart. 🙂

  14. Your artichokes look so good! I love them but have to admit that I have never prepared them myself at home, I really should because I keep seeing these absolutely gorgeous recipes in the blog world!

    What a great idea to have guest bloggers while you’re in China 🙂

  15. JESSIE!!!

    I tried artichokes. Once.

    I think I could potentially like them, but the first (and last) time I made them, there was just something about the way I had prepared them, or the recipe I followed, or the artichokes themselves being not fresh – either way, it just didn’t work. I think I threw it out eventually. 🙁

    BUT I LOVE BOSC PEARS. They are, by far, my favourite of the pear family. I can polish off 3 of those big ugly dudes in one sitting. They’re delicious. I’ve never sautéed them before, though. I kind of like my fruits uncooked…

    Congratulations to Peter on finishing his last exam!! YAYYYYY. 😀

  16. I’ve never tried an artichoke before. I’ll take your word that they’re good 🙂

  17. Your artichokes are so pretty!
    I really like them, but I’ve never made them myself. They seem intimidating and time consuming, and like you would need some kind of knife skill that I definitely don’t have.
    I have had artichokes at restaurants or bought them in jars. They were never as pretty as yours, but they sure were tasty.
    Congrats to Peter on finishing law school! And to you for your mysterious new credential.

  18. What a great meal to celebrate with. How exciting that Peter finished Law School!!!

    I hate to admit this, but I have never made artichokes… I love eating them, but I’m somehow really intimidated to make them at home…

  19. Congrats to Peter! That is SO awesome! Although it also means that he has to enter the real world. So. Yeah.

    Your pear balsamic blue cheese chicken dish sounds delicious. And everything tastes better with blue cheese. I’m convinced.

  20. Oh my, these recipes both sound HEAVENLY!! I have had stuffed artichokes before, but not homemade. They were so amazing, and the recipe was similar to yours (the restaurant provided the recipe because it was a “sample” for a summer festival). Also, sauteed pears?! Very clever!! They look amazing.

    Congrats to PETER!!!

  21. congrats to Peter for finishing his exams! he is one lucky guy to have such an amazing celebratory meal cooked for him– i’ve officially bookmarked this chicken, pear and blue cheese recipe as a “must try!”–yumm!!

    so soon till you leave for China!! hope you have the most amazing time and I can’t wait to hear all about it(plus the new certification you’ll be getting) 😉 glad to hear your summer is going well!

  22. Wow! Lots to celebrate over in THIH land these days! 🙂 Congrats to P!! What is he going to do without you when you’re gone???

    Also, those artichokes look beautiful! 🙂 I’ve never really experimented with them but after seeing them on so many blogs, I’m thinking it’s about time I tried.

  23. Sounds like you and Peter really have a reason to celebrate — congrats! I love artichokes but I’ve never really been sure how to prepare them…this recipe looks like the perfect answer to that!

  24. Oooh- I looooooove Bosc pears. They don’t look very pretty as pears go but they sure taste beautiful!

    ROFL – I don’t like blue cheese , but I’m working on it LOL. If I made this, there probably wouldn’t be blue cheese in it. I think the chicken, balsamic and pears are lovely enough, thanks very much 😉

    Congrats Peter! YAAAAAAY!! No more exams!!!!

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