Tuesday, June 3, 2008


I love artichokes. They are so wonderful and healthy for you. Last Saturday, my mom and I went to the grand opening of a local supermarket. Everything was so clean and neat and beautifully displayed. All the fruits and veggies were lined up perfectly. I was completely bowled over by the beautiful artichoke display! They were probably Globe Artichokes but the supermarkets in my area don't say what type of artichokes they are. I'm just happy to see lovely artichokes in the markets at this time of year. I had always eaten artichokes at Thanksgiving. My mom is a pro at cooking them. I have made them a few times myself. The boys don't or won't eat them. I hadn't thought much about them since last Thanksgiving. I bought just two because I knew I would be the only one eating them. I hopped over to one of my favorite food blogs by Susan of Food Blogga. She gave a completely perfect explanation of how to clean, cook and eat artichokes back in April. Susan also has a recipe for stuffed artichokes and baby artichokes on her blog. She lives in Southern California where most of the artichokes we all eat are grown. She is very lucky!

I used her method to clean the artichokes. It wasn't as easy as it seemed that it would be. I probably don't have the best knives in the world but I found that cutting the outer leaves was fairly impossible for me. I just left them "as is". I will be careful when I am eating the "chokes" so I don't pinch myself. When I was a kid, my mom made the artichokes steamed in oil, water and with garlic cloves pushed in between the leaves. She didn't clean them out or trim them. I am pretty used to avoiding the pinchies. Artichokes were one of the few vegetables I would eat as a kid. I am not sure why but they are so good when they are cooked right. Don't try eating them raw or semi-cooked. They are terrible that way. I used Susan's method to cook them. I rubbed them with a lemon and squeezed some of the lemon juice all over them. Then I put them into a pot. They were so huge that they just about fit into my pot. I put about a cup of water on the bottom and drizzled them with olive oil. I also stuck a few garlic cloves into the leaves and into the center just for good measure. If you cook them for about 45 minutes on the stove top at medium your artichokes should come out perfectly. Remember that the leaves themselves aren't edible. Just pull off a leaf (it should come out easily if the "choke" is cooked properly) and scrape it against your upper teeth. The flavor is amazing. The "heart" of the artichoke is, of course, edible and delicious. I just put a little salt on it but you can eat them plain (as long as you have taken off the "fuzzy" stuff) or even use them to make a dip.

Please don't just pass by the fresh artichokes next time you're in a grocery store. Grab a few and plan to clean and steam them for dinner. You won't be disappointed!

The Creative Cook