In 1598, after the death of his wife’s feeble-minded brother Tzar Feodor, De Facto Regent Boris Gudonov became Tzar of Russia. Godunov inspired Pushkin to write the play Boris Godonov, Mussorsky to compose an opera based on Pushkin’s play, and Jay Ward to create Boris Badenov, sidekick of Natasha Fatale in the brilliant animated cartoon Rocky and Bullwinkle.
In the following exchange, Badenov tells Fearless Leader that he was bitten by a Pottsylvanian vampire bat and fears turning into a blood sucking vampire, himself.
Fearless Leader: You’re not turning into a vampire, Badenov.
Boris: Really? How can you be sure?
Narrator: To prove his point, he stuffs a clove of garlic in Boris’s mouth.
Fearless Leader: If you were a vampire, the garlic would make you crumble into dust. Unfortunately, you didn’t.
Boris: I am cured! Thank you so much.
Fearless Leader: Don’t mention it. Ever.
What now? I could give you an ancient Russian recipe for borscht or better yet, suggest that you stuff a couple of cloves of garlic in some artichokes and if you have a chance, check out the brilliant Rocky and Bullwinkle clips on Hulu.
2 fresh artichokes
1 head of garlic, cloves separated and peeled (at least 12 cloves)
1/3 c. olive oil
1 T. lemon juice or white wine
1 t. kosher salt
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
Remove the small bottom leaves from the base of the artichokes and trim off the stem so the artichoke sits flat. Peel the outer tough layer from the stems. Slice off about 1 inch of the top of the artichoke. Using kitchen shears, trim off the pointy thorn at the end of each of the large leaves. Loosen the leaves and insert whole, peeled garlic cloves in between leaves.
Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice or wine, salt, and pepper.
Place artichokes in an oiled, heavy Dutch oven (not aluminum). Add 1/2-inch of water to the bottom of the pot, then top artichokes with the oil mixture. Cover tightly. Bake at 375 F. for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue to bake an additional 15 minutes until bottom leaves easily pull away from the bottom and garlic cloves are soft.
Serve artichokes as is or whisk 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice into 1/4 cup mayonnaise to use as a dipping sauce.