Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, artichokes were everywhere--we even had them growing in my grandparents' garden. There was a truck farm across the street from my high school, and I remember purchasing them for a nickel each. On meatless Fridays (remember them?), Mom would often serve artichokes with lots of mayonnaise, cracked crab, and sourdough bread, which is still probably my favorite meal in the world. As artichokes are now entering their fall season, here is a sneak preview from my new book, THE BIG BOOK OF SIDES. These are meant to be a side dish, so they don't have any meat in them, but I provide a prosciutto variation.
I have been baking professionally for a long time. How long? Let's just say that when I started, my age and my waist size were the same number. Since I started, a number of desserts have entered the Pantheon of sweets. Tiramisù. Sticky toffee pudding. Crème brûlée. But none of these are as big a challenge to the home baker than macarons. But I have been practicing. And I have nailed them. If you like to try your hand at these amazing confections...read on.