Cherry Hand PiesOne sheet of leftover puff pastry and a cherry pitter. What’s a cook to do?

The answer’s easy (in my kitchen): “Cherry Hand Pies,” from the June 2014 issue of Food & Wine. Let me say that I enjoy Food & Wine’s recent “mini” recipe layout renovation (they call it the “Handbook”), where they print 12 lines max to explain how to make a simple dish, and the ingredients are only clearly bolded within the brief instruction.

I take this as further persuasion: “What are you waiting for, you idiot?!

So here it is. Easy. I halved the recipe (as I said, I had a single sheet of puff pastry to use). One cup of cherries and a mere 2 Tbsp. sugar. I produced lovely pastry pillows, with a filling that was only just sweet enough. Do it and be proud.

PREP TIME: enjoy your pastries after an hour of prep and cooking
cherries and pastry evolve into warm happiness

Next time, I want to cook the “Prosciutto-Wrapped Swai with Fresh Sage,” from the May/June 2014 issue of Cuisine at Home (recipe below), adapting the recipe so I can bake it in the oven and use swai fish, which is a type of catfish. And while I’m in the hot oven, I also want to tackle the “Roasted Artichokes,” from the May/June 2014 issue of Cook’s Illustrated (recipe below). Come back to my site next week, to see what happens here.

Prosciutto-Wrapped Swai with Fresh Sage
Cuisine at Home, May/June 2014
4 Servings

2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. shredded Parmesan
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. honey
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
4 swai fillets (4-5 oz. each)
8 fresh sage leaves
4 slices prosciutto (2 oz.)
4 tsp. olive oil, divided
2 Tbsp. chopped walnuts, toasted

Preheat oven to 475 degrees F.

Stir together lemon juice, Parmesan, olive oil, honey, salt, and pepper flakes for the topping; set aside.

Pat fillets dry with paper towels. Place 2 sage leaves on each fillet. Wrap 1 slice of prosciutto around sage and fillets. Secure prosciutto with long toothpicks. Rub each fillet with 1 tsp. oil.

Bake fillets for 16 minutes, on a wire rack in a baking pan, until cooked through. Remove toothpicks.

Garnish servings with walnuts and drizzle with the lemon-Parmesan topping.

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Roasted Artichokes with Lemon Vinaigrette
Cook’s Illustrated, May/June 2014
Serves 4
If your artichokes are larger than 8 to 10 ounces, strip away another layer or two of the toughest outer leaves. Serve the artichokes plain with a squeeze of lemon. Use your teeth to scrape the flesh from the tough outer leaves. The inner tender leaves, heart, and stem are entirely edible.

1 lemon, plus lemon wedges for serving
4 artichokes (8 to 10 ounces each)
3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

Lemon Vinaigrette
2 lemons
1/2 tsp. grated garlic
1/3 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
6 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 475 degrees. Cut lemon in half, squeeze halves into 2 quarts water, and drop in spent halves.

Cut off most of stem of 1 artichoke, leaving about 3/4 inch attached. Cut off top quarter. Pull tough outer leaves downward toward stem and break off at base; continue until first three or four rows of leaves have been removed. Using paring knife, trim outer layer of stem and rough areas around base, removing any dark green parts. Cut artichoke in half lengthwise. Using spoon, remove fuzzy choke. Pull out inner, tiny purple-tinged leaves, leaving small cavity in center of each half. Drop prepped halves into lemon water. Repeat with remaining artichokes.

Brush 13- by 9-inch baking dish with 1 Tbsp. oil. Remove artichokes from lemon water, shaking off some excess lemon water (some should be left clinging to leaves). Toss artichokes with remaining 2 Tbsp. oil and 3/4 tsp. salt and season with pepper to taste, gently working some oil and seasonings between leaves. Arrange artichoke halves cut side down in baking dish along with the 2 lemons for the vinaigrette, halved crosswise and placed flesh side up. Cover baking dish with tightly with aluminum foil.

Roast until cut sides of artichokes start to brown and both base and leaves are tender when poked with tip of paring knife, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer artichokes to serving dish.

Once roasted lemon halves are cool enough to handle, squeeze into fine-mesh strainer set over bowl. Press on solids to extract all pulp; discard solids. Measure 1 1/2 Tbsp. strained lemon pulp into small bowl. Whisk in 1/2 tsp. finely grated garlic, 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard, and 1/2 tsp. salt and season with pepper to taste. Whisking constantly, gradually drizzle 6 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil into lemon mixture. Whisk in 2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley. Serve with artichokes, warm or at room temperature, passing lemon wedges separately.