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Artichokes

May
10

I’m looking for ways to cook artichokes. I’ve never made them, and my friend from Germany has asked me a couple of times what they’re for and how they’re made. I have no idea. Can anyone help me? Thanks!


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  1. 5-10
    3:20
    pm

    Hi Iwanna. Artichokes are a bit intimidating but worth the effort to prepare them. First, cut the stem even with the bottom of the ‘choke, then with a very sharp knife remove the top 1/4 of the choke. Peel off any discolored leaves and cut the prickles off the remaining leaves. Brush with lemon juice to keep from turning brown. I make a mixture of dry breadcrumbs, minced onion, and Parmesan cheese and stuff as much as possible between the leaves. Place in a large pot and add 1 inch of chicken broth to which is added the juice of one lemon. Cover; bring to a boil then lower heat and simmer until a leaf easily pulls free.

    To eat a ‘choke simply put the bottom end between your upper and lower teeth and pull the leaf through.

    An even simpler way to eat them is to simply simmer in the lemon/chicken broth until done then pull individual leaves off and dip in mayonnaise/mustard mixture.

    When all of the “good” leaves have been eaten remove the prickly center (the choke part), scraping all the purple stuff out. Eat the remainder of the base.

    If you are confused write me a note and I will try to clarify it.

  2. 5-10
    7:35
    pm

    Artichokes are wonderful but can present a thorny challenge to eat! Euni’s dead-on with her preparation notes – a sharp set of kitchen shears is invaluable when preparing these tough thistles.

    There’s another way you can cook artichokes that I read about from a Castroville artichoke farmer. Super-easy and once I tried it, I stopped boiling / simmering my ‘chokes permanently.

    All you need is a deep microwave-safe bowl and some plastic wrap. Put about 1/4″ of water (or stock) in the bowl and stand the prepared artichoke upright in it. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 5 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when you can easily pull out one of the inner leaves. (Be careful of steam!)

    Of course, that’s how to make just a plain artichoke. You can jazz it up easily – drizzle with some olive oil or lemon juice, stuff slivers of garlic or sun-dried tomatoes into the leaves, sprinkle with nuts or crumbs, just to name a few.

    But no matter how you jazz it up, you need something to dip the leaves into. Myself, I like to have a compound butter on the side, like garlic butter (my favorite), avocado butter or herb butter.

    Artichokes are kind of a pain, but I think they’re worth it. Have fun!

    • 5-10
      9:46
      pm

      Cori R. Thanks for the microwave tip. I was introduced to artichokes when I was 4 years old, living in San Diego. We had an Italian neighbor who introduced my mother to ‘chokes filled with the onion/crumb/Parmesan stuffing. Anyway you cook them they are bound to be delicious.

  3. 5-11
    10:00
    am

    Thanks to both of you! I remember eating an artichoke when I was very young, but I don’t remember what it tastes like. Is it bland, that people always dip it in something? I know I really love the artichoke chip dip at Ruby Tuesday’s, so I figured they must taste good, but then it’s loaded with other stuff so who knows. I’ll pass these along to my friend, too. Thanks again!

    • 5-11
      2:02
      pm

      No, they are not bland, however, it is hard to describe the taste. They are a good source of iron and a little of that comes through. The closest I can come is that they taste a little bit like kale. You don’t have to dip them in anything but a simple dip of olive oil and lemon juice is great. I have even been known to eat them plain. Try them in any of the noted ways and enjoy them.

  4. 5-11
    11:54
    am

    I wouldn’t call it bland, but it is one of those foods that does really well as a base for other things. In a way, I would liken it to bread – bread plain is good, but bread with butter is wonderful.

  5. 5-18
    10:14
    am

    When I cook them in the microwave I add lemon juice to the water. You can also cut the entire artichoke in half top to bottom, lay cut side down in water and lemon juice. I think they cook better as they are not so large. You can easily cut out the “choke” you would literally choke on before of after you cook them this way, simply by scooping out with a spoon. I just dip them in plain ole Hellman’s Mayo.

    • 5-18
      11:59
      am

      Thanks Bonny for this info. It gave me one of those “why didn’t I think of that” moments. So simple and easy. Note to self; Go to market, buy artichokes. Thanks again.

      • 5-18
        2:27
        pm

        Euni,
        When I cook the artichokes in the microwave I don’t trim off the top third of the artichoke, or the stem. And I don’t cut off the tips of the leaves with scissors either. I only trim off the very bottom of the stem, about 1/4 inch. We always eat the artichokes cold after cooking in the microwave with lemon and water as mentioned in an above reply.

        After removing the choke (It’s much easier after cooking, but be careful not to remove any of the heart), we refrigerate. We prefer to eat them cold with the mayo. After pulling off all the leaves and eating them, everything that’s left on the plate is edible, stem and heart.

        I’m wondering if you could use the edible part left on the plate in place of avocado in a guacamole type dip. Might be healthier. You could also chop up what’s left on the plate to use in an artichoke and spinach dip recipe. Yum.

        I’ve bought artichoke hearts at Sam’s Club, but I find them tough and hard to chew sometimes.

        • 5-18
          2:45
          pm

          Bonny,

          I hate trying to cut the top off a choke; no knife cuts through easily and trying to use scissors is a waste of time. Your way is much simpler and I am a true believer in simple. Basically I am prone to be a little lazy and like to do things the easiest way possible. Less time spent on a chore gives me more CITR time!

          Have you ever blended a bit of Dijon mustard with the mayo? Yum. I make my own mayonnaise which is even better than Hellmans. 4 eggs, 2 T Dijon, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 cup white vinegar. Process in food processor or blender then drizzle in 2 cups of canola or olive oil. So, so good. I haven’t purchased mayo for over a year.

          For artichoke and spinach dip I buy canned artichokes; much better than the frozen ones. I think the bottom and stem of a ‘choke would make a good substitute for guacamole; let me know if you try it.
          Thanks for all your helpful hints on one of the most wonderful veggie.

          Euni

          • 5-19
            6:54
            am

            Euni,
            I’ve made my own mayo in the past, but it didn’t meet my tastebud’s expectations. Like Pavlov’s dog, I still yearned for good ole Hellman’s I’ll give your recipe a try.

  6. 5-19
    9:17
    am

    The white wine vinegar can be substituted with lemon juice or a tarragon vinegar. I have to add a little more acidity that called for in the original recipe to make it more tart. This makes a very thick mayo with an almost buttery texture, but it is so good.

    Euni

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