Fresh, Fast Bread, Lemon Curd & Artichokes

It was a big cooking day yesterday. I spent almost the whole afternoon in the kitchen, including a jaunt to the grocery store.

Sunday afternoons I usually have more freedom and leisure time than any other day of the week, so that’s when I like to do my “fun” cooking. Recently, my husband discovered lime curd at the farmers market, which he has been eating on his morning toast. I figured I could make him some — lemon curd, actually. Since it’s nothing more than a very thick custard, it was very easy to make, although it did require a lot of stirring. The end result was delicious, though, and will keep for about a week in the fridge. It works as a spread for toast and muffins, a pie filling, perhaps a base for ice cream? Hmmm.

I also made another Mark Bittman bread recipe, this time for fastest yeast bread, which rises and is ready to bake in just an hour or so. I actually let it rise the whole afternoon, which I’m sure improved the end result. The bread was a big hit at dinner. Unlike my previous loaves, this one is fine-crumbed and soft; it would be a good bread for toasting or sandwiches.

Finally, yesterday I experimented for the first — and quite possibly the last — time with whole artichokes. Let me say up front that artichokes are not one of my favorite ingredients, even pickled and in a jar. But with all the work that was required of stripping the leaves, cutting out the tough parts (of which I missed many) and getting out that ridiculous choke, I just didn’t believe the effort would be worth it. For me, it wasn’t, and I probably won’t be making artichokes again.

Dinner was poached chicken with the homemade bread and spring vegetables including the artichokes, spring onions and spinach. The chicken, which was poached with the vegetables, was light, moist and very flavorful.

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