Pasta with Artichoke Hearts & Feta, and Marmalade Carrots

I never was a big artichoke person, or even really liked artichoke.  The extent of artichoke was the canned kind that I mashed it to make artichoke dips.  I’ve been orienting myself gradually with artichokes, few weeks ago I actually  steamed up some artichokes and ate them with mayo and balsamic dip (which was really yummy).  There are so many foods where you either like or don’t like them, and maybe artichoke is one of them.  I have grown to like artichoke and appreciate the flavour, but I also know some people who don’t like the taste of artichoke. 

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Pasta with Artichoke Hearts & Feta: serves 4-6
1 pound pasta
2 cups chopped onions
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 teaspoons dried oregano
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 –  14 ounce cans of artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1-1/2 cups crumbled feta cheese

Bring a large covered pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the pasta and cook until al dente.
Meanwhile, in a skillet on medium-high heat, cook the onions, garlic, and oregano in the oil, stirring frequently, until the onions soften and are turning brown at the edges, about 7 minutes.  Add the artichoke hearts and cook until heated through, a couple of minutes.  Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley. 
When the pasta is done, drain it, reserving 1-1/2 cups of the pasta-cooking liquid.  In a serving bowl, whisk the reserved liquid into the feta until smooth.  Add the pasta and the artichoke mixture and toss.
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My opinion: I added extra garlic (what can I say, I’m a garlic lover!), didn’t add parsley (because I forgot to buy some), and instead of using canned artichokes, I got frozen artichoke hearts from my organic market (I personally thought it tasted much better than the canned variety).  Just a lovely blend of garlic, creamy feta and artichoke, seriously, what’s not to like?   Once again, if you’re not an artichoke lover, or even likes artichoke, you may not enjoy this, but I say, give it a chance, be dare, and try it out!

Marmalade-Glazed Carrots: serves 4
3 cups peeled and cut carrots (1/2 inch slices)
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil or butter
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup orange  marmalade
lemon wedges

In a large skillet on medium-high heat, cook the carrots in the oil for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the salt and water and continue to cook for 3-4 minutes, until the carrots are crisp-tender.  Add the orange marmalade and stir until the carrots are well coated and glistening.  Serve with lemon wedges (a splash of lemon juice cuts the sweetness just a bit). 
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My opinion: When Steve ate the carrots, he said he really liked it.  His exact wording “What’s not to like? carrots with butter and sugar!”  I told him there are no butter and sugar, just marmalade, and he was genuinely surprised.  I did use olive oil to cook the carrots, and didn’t have to use the lemon juice.  I think the level of sweetness depends on which brand of marmalade you purchase, but the one I got wasn’t sugary sweet (which I prefer).

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