By PAUL SIDORIAK
Some artichokes showed up in the pantry. I had never done stuffed artichokes before, or cooked them any other way than in a boil. I wanted to do them with a spicy sausage cornbread stuffing (next time) but was advised by the committee that the artichokes were to be stuffed with artichoke dip.
I tried to prep the first one raw and it was a mess. I ended up boiling them for 30 minutes and then shocking them in cold water as best I could. This allowed me to pull them apart and get out the middle bits and inner, inedible fur, leaving a nice cavity for stuffing.
I had not shopped for artichoke dip ingredients so had to wing it with random items on hand. I mixed up some cream cheese, sour cream, mayo, jack cheese blend, Sriracha, lemon juice, Italian breadcrumbs, chopped jalapeño, and artichoke into a calorie-rich paste that could stand up a spoon.
They went on the Big Green Egg with some other items that were cooking under a warm blanket of cherry wood smoke. The artichoke dip browned up on top with a smoky crust and had a bubbly, spicy interior. It was really fun to use the leaves of the artichoke as a vehicle for dipping, which brought an extra dimension of flavor.
They were served up with ribs, cornbread, and dill carrots from the garden. It was a nice supper!
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Paul moved to Montana in 1996 with about a dozen friends from Lyndon State College in Vermont. He is still reluctantly paying his student loans and has carved out a career working as a supplier representative for various food and beverage products.
Paul enjoys grilling after a day on the water or an afternoon in the garden, where he has been known to grow heirloom tomatoes and peppers out of spite. Often cooking for extended family and friends, he takes a whimsical approach to cooking simple, seasonal dishes, while not taking it too seriously.
Paul does all of his grilling on the Big Green Egg Grill, available in Missoula at the Axmen.
You can read more of Paul’s grilling recipes at his blog site, Montana Mise en Place.