Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Artichokes!

We got some artichokes in our Bountiful Basket a couple of weeks ago.  I had never actually cooked an artichoke before and so went searching for a tutorial on what to do.  I found this one that was wonderful!  It was really quite simple & I was excited to share the experience with my family!  The kiddo's were a little hesitant, but I'm pleased to say that they all really enjoyed them!  They are a lot of fun to eat...really, really good and VERY filling!  None of us even finished off the "leaves" before we were done.  So that left me with a whole bunch of artichoke hearts...and I knew just what to do with them!!  My favorite Spinach Artichoke Dip!!  And I have to say...the fresh artichokes in the dip was absolutely splendid!

Artichokes
Artichokes
water
lemon
bay leaf
garlic clove

Slice about 3/4 of an inch off the top of the artichoke and most of the stem.  Remove any smaller leaves along the bottom and then rinse in cold water.

Put a couple of inches of water in the bottom of a large pot along with a garlic clove, a slice of lemon and a bay leaf.  Place artichokes in a steaming basket or colander over the water.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook artichokes about 25-45 minutes or until the leaves can be pulled off easily. 

Now to eat them!!  We served them with mayo & melted butter for dunking.  (Kyla and I liked the mayo better, the boys preferred the butter...)  Pull of one leaf at a time and dunk the white fleshy part.  Place in mouth and pull it through your teeth to remove the yummy soft fleshy part of the leaf.

When you're done eating the leaves, you get to the "choke" part of the artichoke.  It looks like this:
It's nice fine silky "fur" for lack of a better explanation, and it is hiding the best part of the artichoke!!:)  Use a spoon to scrap off the "fur" (it's really quite simple to remove) and what's left is your heart!  Now you can cut it into bite size pieces and dip and eat that too if you want, but if your belly is feeling like it's about to burst you can save them and use them in the most wonderful Spinach Artichoke Dip!!  Just chop it up and substitute it for the canned artichokes in that recipe!  SO YUMMY!!
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