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Sliced Tomato, Onion, and Blue Cheese Salad and Braised Artichokes

0051Ruth’s Chris [1] in Austin is one of my favorite dining experiences.  We tried the one in Plano and unfortunately it just wasn’t the same thing at all.  I tried to make our date night dinner a re-creation of things we would have eaten if we could have been in Austin.  Of course I don’t have an 1800 degree oven, (though wouldn’t *that* be cool) so ours were prepared on the grill.  Then I ran out of red wine vinegar, and Genny moved so I couldn’t borrow hers, so I tried a balsamic vinaigrette instead.

The artichokes were added because they were beautiful and giant.  Normally at Ruth’s Chris I would have ordered the creamed spinach – if you’re craving that, you can find my version here [2].  I eat my artichokes with melted butter, Cory likes them with mayonnaise.  The idea of eating anything with mayonnaise is absolutely horrifying to me, but some people seem to like it so that’s an option.  Every now and again I run into someone whose never eaten an artichoke like this.  Just in case that’s you, you don’t eat the whole leave, just scrape the fleshy part with your teeth, then discard the rest.  GourmetSleuth has a better description here. [3]

Sliced Tomato, Onion, and Blue Cheese Salad

2 beefstake tomatoes, sliced

1/2 a red onion, sliced into rings

blue cheese

1/4 c. balsamic vinegar

1/2 c. olive oil

1/4 c. water

1.5 tbsp garlic, finely chopped

1/2 tsp Murray River salt

8 turns fresh ground pepper

Alternate slices of tomato and onion, top with blue cheese.  For the vinaigrette, combine vinegar, oil, water, garlic, salt and pepper.  Drizzle over salad.  Save remainder for future use.

Braised Artichokes

2 artichokes


4 cloves garlic

Trim stem from artichoke to make a flat bottom, trim top 1/4 inch of leaves off, then clip the remaining tips off with scissors to cut off thorns.  Place artichokes in a large pan, then fill with an inch of water.  Pour lemon juice over artichokes and add garlic to water.  Bring to a boil, cover, and cook for about an hour – or until leaves pull out easily and are tender.  Be sure to check pan periodically to ensure you haven’t boiled off all your water, add additional water as needed.