How much joy can one artichoke heart bring?

When we visit Costco, we are not merely making a trip. We are opening ourselves up to be transformed by the mega wholesale retailer. Does that sound a little too over the top? It’s just the American way, man. Right?

I feel a bit duplicitous shopping for food at Costco. It conflicts with my sense of moral imperative to buy local and support NC farmers and families. And, in the past, I have been wronged by Costco produce: mealy, rotting quickly (no doubt because it traveled thousands of miles to arrive in Durham), so I do try to focus on bulk dried goods: the nuts, the grains, the artichoke hearts.

IMG_20140205_123255 Hello, lap salad. And cat tail on right.

Can you see the chokes? Torn over the salad like nuggets of gold. My father imparted the wisdom of using the artichoke marinade as the Pièce de résistance – the dressing. I’ve tried many other artichoke hearts in my short time, and nothing – I mean – NOTHING comes close to being as succulent as these pickled vegetables via Kirkland, Washington.

To be financially savvy last week, we ate salads and tacos, almost every night. Lots of greens to fill us up:

IMAG1276Taco and salad: round four.

But then, when least expecting it, here waltzed in this delight:

IMG_20140207_125208Well, hello there.

Thanks to Chef Chloe, I stumped upon Sweet Potato Mac ‘N’ Cheese. I might opt for some good air quotes in the title because, deceptively and unsurprisingly on a vegan eating blog post, there is zero cheese. In fact, vegan chefs – take this: there is no nutritional yeast! The sauce was rich and creamy, and I LOADED on the rosemary (using dried because that was one less thing to purchase to accompany the 10lb bag of sweet potatoes bought at Costco). I loved it even more the next day reheated. This will be made again. Promised, self.

Speaking of vegan eating, during the whole month of February, Durham is having its 3rd Bull City Vegan LOVE Challenge. Six restaurants have created specialty dishes that are 100% certifiably vegan for customers to enjoy as well as two other locations focusing on JUST desserts (which, arguably, could be dinner as well.) While my eating out budget is fairly limited, my goal is to try at least two of the dishes offered and one dessert (although, I’m going to be real: I’m not as big of a dessert fiend as I once was – is that sad?). Tomorrow will be a Refectory Cafe lunch date with my good friend Michelle, so I’m looking forward to trying their Polenta Lasagna with Basil Pesto and Grilled Vegetables. Saliva officially set-off upon completion of typing that sentence. The best part of this contest? One, there are two hashtags to follow & you can VOTE for which dish deserves various awards. Follow #eatvotelove #bcvc on Twitter & Facebook and if you live in the area, get yourself to one of these fine establishments!


      1. It was pretty good! I had the sweet potato and apple Napoleon from their regular menu, and it was so-so, but my friend had the Vegan Challenge special, Thai peanut lettuce wraps, and those were delicious!

  1. All those pics are delicious looking and nice to read about more places catering to vegans.

    I personally don’t make anything artichoke in them because so much of the artichoke goes to waste and I’m unable to compost, makes me think they were more designed for creatures who masticate and digest a lot more thoroughly. That said I do love artichoke and so will eat them from places that make them and recycle/compost their food ‘trash’.


  2. Thanks for posting not one but two sweet potato mac & cheese recipes!! Definitely have to do that for dinner tonight since I was out of ideas. I love your blog Katie!


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