Rush Limbaugh is a Pig Who Likes Mooner’s Homegrown Tomatoes

Remember me telling you guys that Dixie wants to write a children’s book, and I told you that I was going to visit some bookstores to research a book format for her? Yesterday it was, I think. She does and I did agree so I spent the morning at the Barnes and Noble over to the Arboretum. I chose that book store because they seem to have a large children’s section and also because it is close to my favorite Sprouts store.

They had a special on sea scallops and organic lettuce and celery. I only buy organic celery and lettuce because the inorganic selections have unconscionable levels of chemical residues left from bad farming practices. I would like to tell you that I only buy organic everything but that would be a lie. Certain things must always be organic, like celery, and my others choices are subject to my pride and prejudices.

Like, I’m proud to pay extra costs to local farmers for their organic produce and meats. The price almost can’t get too high if those guys need it to flourish. But I will not pay six dollars for one organic artichoke grown down to Florida. I mean first of all, where in Florida do they have weather cool enough to grow my beloved chokies?

Remember Fire Sign Theater- “I’m Artie Choke and we’re just a joke?”

First time I heard that album I had never seen an artichoke and though it was maybe a cool martial arts move. Now, of course, I am a fan of and an expert cooker with chokies. Gram named them chokies after my first attempt at cooking them. Didn’t have any directions so I failed to make the connections between the name of the veggie and the effect that requires the Heimlich Maneuver.

Of course it had to be Mother to eat the damned choke part and almost die choking. She turned all blue and fell from her chair to the floor. We were all sitting there to the dinner table and enjoying most of the first plate of artichokes I cooked. Everyone but Mother seemed to know how to avoid the choke part and was either pulling it off or discretely spitting it into their napkins.

Well except for Gram. She was storing the chokes from hers in her cheek like a chipmunk. When she finished with her servings she left the table and went to the kitchen. I heard her drag the garbage can from the pantry and then, “Pfluggsht!” and then a spit, a cough and Gram yells, “Fer cripes sakes, Mooner. Take tha gills outta yer chokies next time.”

It seems like Mother is always the one with a fish bone or a mouthful of choke stuck in her throat. Drowning them in garlic and tarragon seasoned lemon butter won’t help the choke go down as our entire family can testify.

But if you want something really tasty, try this:

  1. Cut the stickers from the leaf tips and a half-inch end off the stem from the artichokes. Then cut them into quarters lengthwise. That will mean that each cut piece has top, middle and bottom to the stem. I actually cut each of mine into six parts- halve it and then thirds, but some people have trouble with that entire square root of Pi thingie. Leave the choke in for now but don’t forget it later. The choke will help hold the cut parts together while cooking.
  2. Place the parts in a lidded pan that is large enough to fit all parts in one layer. Make more batches if need be, but don’t stack them in your pot. Once placed, salt with sea salt, black pepper and cayenne to suit you. Then put water to a half-inch depth and then a quarter-inch of dry white wine. Cook over medium heat until almost tender- still firm. Remove from the pan to cool and drain.
  3. Make the butter dipping sauce in a very small saucepan. I place my small one-cup Revere Ware pot on the lid of my artichoke pot to cook. Use enough butter for how ever many chokies you have and then peel, crush and coarse chop a big garlic clove for each choke and place both in your little pan. You want to slow-cook the garlic to release its wonderment and sweeten it up. Like I say, I put mine over direct heat a few times to get it up to heat, and while the chokies cook the little pot sits atop the lid of the bigger pot the rest of the time. Don’t burn the garlic.
  4. Grill the chokies on a hot grill for just long enough to heat and grill-mark each of the three sides. I sometimes pre-cook big batches that I freeze for later grilling. Make sure that whatever you grill has come to room temperature before grilling.
  5. Just before serving, add sea salt, black and cayenne pepper to the butter to taste. Add fresh fine-chopped tarragon to suit your taste, if you like the taste, and then just a squeeze of lemon. Start with a quarter teaspoon and add more if you wish. You can’t de-lemon butter any better than you can re-virgin a pregnant woman.
  6. Remove the choke from each piece, get out the cold Carta Blanca beer and some homegrown tomatoes, and serve those puppies.

Hoo-yaa! Goes with steaks or chicken or goat- anything else you grill.

Rush Limbaugh, our pet pig, eats all the cooked parts we leave including the chokes. He’s a pretty picky eater for a pig but that’s maybe because we eat so well ourselves and don’t feed him many table scraps. For some reason he won’t eat raw fish, and I find that peculiar.

Rushie’s favorite food is my homegrown tomatoes so I grow a half-acre patch just for him. His second favorite food is greens- any kind of greens. We plant greens as row filler around the tomato plants. Dixie taught him how to discern the differences between weeds and his feed plants so he roots around and does his own cultivations.

He does get a tad short of patience waiting for his tomatoes to ripen.

Holy shit, my ADHD and I have digressed my shorts off. I’ll tell you about my bookstore adventure later.

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