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Baby Artichokes Fried in Sesame Oil

As lovely as it is to take a family vacation in a beautiful and restful spot, and as grateful as I feel for the opportunity to do just that, eating restaurant food day-in and day-out was taking its toll on all of us. Even my husband, whose iron gut is legendarily impervious to long-term assaults of the high sodium, saturated fats, and heavy breading like that served in standard and even high-end restaurant fare, remarked how good it felt to be home and eating our own food.

It’s funny to me because I forget how much lighter our household eats than many others; it just feels normal. Between Glorious One-Pot Meals, grilling, and the various whole-food based ingredients I whip together for us to enjoy nightly, we  skip a lot of that heaviness of typical American food without even missing it.

Rice pasta, Rudi’s Organic Bakery spelt bread and tortillas, cheddar cheese made from goat milk, coconut oil, rice-and-potato pizza crust, high-fructose-corn-syrup-free chocolate syrup, coconut milk (non-dairy) ice cream bars, sunflower seed butter, Good Belly… These may seem like an unusual shopping list, but it contains some items in my fridge and pantry that form the staples of our diet.

baby artichokes fried in sesame oil with thyme and sesame seeds
Baby artichokes fried in sesame oil with shallots and thyme

Not to mention the fresh produce I select, which may run the gamut from organic bananas, pears, and apples, to kiwis, Swiss chard, crimini mushrooms, and shallots.

This week a container of fresh baby artichokes caught my fancy. While I reserved some to put into a GOPM later, the rest I fried up in a mixture of sesame and safflower oils together with a chopped shallot. When the artichokes were nicely crisped, I tossed them with sea salt, freshly toasted sesame seeds, and thyme dug out from underneath the snow in my garden.

Yes, it’s a fried vegetable, but it’s light-years lighter than the corn-on-the-cob floating in 3″ of butter featured on the buffet one night, or the equally buttery French-cut green beans. Even the “grilled fish” had been painted with a buttery sauce. Did it taste good? Absolutely. The job of a good restaurant is to make food taste good, even if that involves lots of fat, salt, sugar, and who knows what else.

Did I feel good eating that way for a week? Not so much.

Yum. Baby artichokes are such a treat! In the immortal words of Judy Garland: There’s no place like home!

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