One of the wonderful aspects of living in Southern California is the weather. The weather affords us to be outdoors more than indoors, avoiding heavy boots and jackets, and perusing the local farmers market even on those rare days when there may be a light sprinkle in the air.

Last weekend, I hit up two of my favorite markets; the Saturday, Santa Monica Farmers Market and the Sunday, Brentwood Farmers Market. Saturday I loaded up on fruit (my two boys ate 2 of the 3 baskets of strawberries before we got to the car) and on Sunday my bags were brimming with veggies (and some Pupusa’s from the Pupusa guy – Levi loves them in his lunch box).

I am boring when it comes to artichokes. Either steamed with a bit of lemon rind and some peppercorns or grilled. I decided to mix it up and fry them…yes, fry! Covered in olive oil, some whole garlic cloves and a bundle of fresh oregano (from my garden), I must say, I made a very tasty treat. Sprinkled with a little sea salt as they were draining and then smothered in this shallot vinaigrette – they didn’t make it to the dinner table that night. They were eaten, standing up.

Even Lola liked them. As I was photographing them, I turned my head for ONE second and she nabbed one right off of the table. She is tiny, aggressive and oh-so cute.

Don’t throw out your fried olive oil. Once cooled, pour through a mesh strainer and store away for future vinaigrette’s, brushing eggplant, potatoes or other veggies you may throw on the grill. Or simply drizzle it over very delicious ripe tomatoes found at your local farmers market!

Fried Baby artichokes
yield: as many as you want to eat(I used 6 medium size – and cannot wait for the baby artichokes to arrive)

for the artichokes:
6 organic artichokes
6 cloves of garlic, peeled
6 stems of fresh oregano, tied in a bundle
1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper

for the vinaigrette:
2 teaspoons shallots, minced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon raspberry vinegar
6 tablespoons avocado oil
1/4 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

for the artichokes:
• cut the stems from the bottom of the artichokes. peel off the lower leaves (about 20). trim the top part of the artichokes.• cut the artichokes in half, lengthwise.
• using a heavy duty, dutch oven, place the artichokes, flat side down.
• cover with olive oil. add the garlic, and oregano, Celtic sea salt, and white pepper.
• bring to a boil over high heat.
• cover the pot, lower flame and simmer for 22 to 25 minutes or until a knife is easily inserted into one of the hearts.
• discard the oregano and garlic. on high heat, with the cover off, fry for 4 minutes. rotate artichokes (back side down) and fry for an additional 7 minutes. they should be crispy.
• place them on a paper towel to drain.
• drizzle shallot vinaigrette over artichokes and eat standing up!

for the vinaigrette:
• toss all ingredients in a glass jar, shake it up.
• store leftovers in the fridge for your next salad