recipe: italian stuffed artichokes

In every family, there are a handful of simple, soulful dishes that evoke the essence of home. For me, there is no single meal that reminds me more of childhood than my mother's stuffed artichokes. 

My fondness for this technique has only grown the farther I've lived from home. (For example, when I lived in Paris, I tried this recipe with the gorgeous spherical artichokes in the greenmarkets. Sadly, it didn't taste like a thing.) What you want is the classic green, slightly elongated artichokes found in most American grocery stores, which offer a much stronger flavor. I promise, it's well worth the effort.


  • 2 artichokes
  • 1/2 cup croutons (or toasted, roughly chopped breadcrumbs)
  • 2-3 tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 garlic clove
  • olive oil and salt, to taste
  • fresh parsley, optional


  1. Heat a medium pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Remove artichoke stems from bulb and peel.
  3. Trim the top quarter to third of the leaves on the artichoke bulb.
  4. Rinse the artichoke bulbs and stems and place in boiling water for 10-15 minutes.
  5. In the meantime, crush croutons, mince garlic, and chop parsley (optional).
  6. Remove stem and bulb from boiling water (reserve water). Chop stem into small pieces and mix together with croutons, parmesan, garlic, parsley and a pinch of salt.
  7. Stuff artichoke bulbs with stem, crouton, garlic, parmesan and parsley mixture.
  8. Place stuffed artichokes upright in pot (water should come nearly to the top of artichokes, but no higher than the tops—remove water from pot as necessary). 
  9. Cover artichokes and cook on a simmer for 75 to 90 minutes. (Check water periodically and add more if the level in the pot gets below the halfway mark on the artichokes).
  10. Check artichoke leaves for tenderness. Plate in bowl, spoon over 1-2 cups of artichoke broth. Drizzle with olive oil and serve immediately.

Life as a Culinary Student: Graduation

When I first stepped into the kitchens at ICE seven months ago, it never felt like this day would come. Graduating from culinary school felt different from any prior graduations I’ve experienced, as perfecting a hands-on skill is entirely different than writing papers, crafting persuasive arguments or memorizing facts and dates. Of course, culinary training involves a bit of typical academic work, but it’s ultimately about honing your instincts and hands-on skills, about becoming that guy or girl someone can count on when the going gets rough.

In the corporate world, I’ve heard people use the phrase “putting out fires” to describe the stress of last minute deadlines. But in the kitchen, no matter how well you plan and prep, every task is still a last minute deadline. The turnaround between getting your clients’ order and delivering your product typically takes less than thirty minutes. It makes even the most notoriously stressful desk jobs sound almost easy.

Luckily, for our graduation, we weren’t working as short-order cooks. Our assignment held other challenges: serving up eighty catering portions of a cold appetizer, a hot entrée and a dessert. Working in teams of two or three students, we had to devise dishes that were impressive enough to wow our friends and family, but not so complicated that they couldn’t be prepared within a 10-hour window. (And yes, 10 hours may seem like a lot of time, but if you’ve never cooked for eighty people, it’s really not.)

My teammate Mari and I opted to create three dishes: Thomas Keller’s famous truffle custard, wiener schnitzel and blood orange tiramisu. Each of the dishes held sentimental value: the truffles were one of the most complex dishes from the curriculum at ICE; wiener schnitzel is my mom’s favorite dish; and the blood orange tiramisu recipe was developed by Mari’s coworkers at BAKED in Red Hook.

Each dish presented its own challenges. First and foremost, the tiramisu: neither Mari nor I had ever made a tiramisu cream that included egg yolks—and the original recipe suggested we use them raw. Not wanting to risk poisoning a room full of people (especially people we love!), we had to devise a sabayon strategy with Chef James—an experiment that turned out beautifully, but ultimately cost us valuable time.

Then, the wiener schnitzel: being a deep-fried dish, it could only be prepared so far in advance. So while my homemade cranberry sauce and cucumber pickles were ready to go hours before, I was concerned about keeping my veal hot, dry and crunchy. (It’s worth noting that this predicament—cooking in advance and reheating food—is one of the primary skills we learn in culinary school. You’d be shocked at what you can cook in advance. It just takes experience, training and a dash of restaurant magic.)

As for the egg custard, the complicated, multi-step process meant that Mari had to clean out the shells of nearly 100 eggs. Beyond being tedious, it was a precarious task, as was slowly cooking the tender custard. While the recipe seemed straightforward when prepared for twenty people, the larger scale of our efforts presented issues of over-salting, perfecting the custard texture and other unforeseen hurdles.

Yet in the end, when we finally served our first dishes as culinary school graduates to our friends and family, all of this anxiety dissolved into pride. First and foremost, our dishes were pretty delicious, and it was incredibly satisfying to show our parents and friends how much we’ve learned. I even got some of the pickiest eaters (ages seven and under) to try my wiener schnitzel!

Last, but not least, it was a thrill not only to receive my very first chef’s hat, but also to learn that my classmates had nominated me for the Wüsthof Leadership Award. One of three awards presented at graduation—the others given to “Most Likely to Succeed” and “Top Toque”—it felt particularly special to be recognized by the very peers with whom I had worked side by side for so many months.

Graduation was also an exciting time to consider my classmates’ futures. Technically, we will not have “graduated” until we fulfill a 210 hour externship in the field. (I, for one, am already elbow deep in a recipe-testing project for a cookbook, while others have secured externships on the line at such restaurants as Blenheim and Aldea.) I’ll definitely miss the feeling of hands-on teamwork that we enjoyed in the ICE kitchens, but I'm mostly excited to see what comes next.

Choose Your Own Adventure — Bar Chuko, Brooklyn

Photos by Casey Feehan

This is not comfort food. While its sister restaurant Chuko Ramen slings some of the borough’s best bowls of broth and noodles across the street, Bar Chuko has been designed for something entirely different. The second brainchild of Morimoto alums James Sato, Jamison Blankenship and David Koon, this izakaya-style venture ups the ante with an array of obscure eats that will easily please Brooklyn’s most adventurous eaters.

Given the wide range of unusual ingredients on the menu, we eagerly consulted our server for advice, and she was game for the challenge. For starters, she led us toward the surf clam tartare. More meaty and sweet—not to mention large—than your average bivalve, this raw mollusk dish is strategically crafted to maximize texture. Each section of the clam itself is cut into different shapes and textures, mixed with the refreshing crunch of a salted and flash-frozen wasabi leaf—more subtle in spice than its famous green root. Topped with a good squeeze of lime and crunchy wakame strips, it’s sure to pack more punch—and ten times the texture—of your average ceviche-style dish.

The miso cheese was also of note, boasting undeniable umami and a surprisingly light texture. Lovers of salmon roe will dig the beautiful pearls that garnish this dish. As for a must-try cocktail, I heartily endorse the “Horse Feather,” a mix of Rittenhouse rye, lemon, ginger beer and bitters that boasts an almost Tabasco-like kick.

Moving on to the yakitori section of the menu, the first place your eye lands is the “chicken” section, featuring bits both familiar and odd. On the short list? You must eat the soft knee bone, which features just enough cartilage crunch and the condensed chicken flavor of a decadent stock. The gizzards are also fun for game-y meat lovers, and the short ribs are a predictably wonderful, teriyaki-glazed hit. Of course, you’ll also want to try out the vegetables, most notably the snow peas, which are utter perfection in their char, seasoning and elegant presentation.

Taking stock of the larger plates, the market fish has endless appeal. The night we dined, it was a glossy grilled mackerel, served with an exceptionally juicy charred lemon and a palate-cleansing mound of ground jalapeño and daikon. From caramelized to bright and acidic, this dish offered surprising levels of flavor. On the funkier end, opt for the congee, a complex dish featuring tender, gelatinous barbeque eel, crunchy pickles and a complement of fried slices of ficelle.

What’s more, the open kitchen at Bar Chuko makes for a distractingly stunning eye candy. Chefs linger over the pristine, brightly lit pass, finishing dishes with touches of sauce, pickles or crunchy garnish. If you can sit towards the back of the room, I guarantee you’ll find the view quite enticing.

Of course, there are options for the less brave diners among us. When we first arrived, a cluster of families—with no less than six children under the age of ten—was hunkered over a communal table, likely sharing skewers from the more familiar side of the yakitori menu. And Chuko fans will eagerly note that hearty bowls of ramen are served at Bar Chuko too. But for those nights when you’re itching for an outside-the-box experience, just place yourself in the capable hands of the friendly waitstaff. Because really, what’s more relaxing than letting someone else do the ordering for you?

Bar Chuko
565 Vanderbilt Avenue, Brooklyn, NY