Archive for October 3rd, 2011

Mystery of the Artichoke Solved

10.03.11

Posted by Mikie Baker  |  No Comments »

It has come to my attention that some of you out there know nothing about cooking or eating an artichoke. Well, that simply will not do. Not only are artichokes chocked full of vitamins, they are great for cleaning out your gallbladder, liver and making your digestive system run like a top. No need to choke when it comes to artichokes!

First run out and buy yourself an artichoke. I’ll wait.

Hey, before you go, let me tell you how to pick out a really good one. It should be nice and green with no brown spots, the leaves should be tightly closed and get one with a nice, long stem. You’ll see why in a minute.

Okay, now you’ve got your artichoke? Let me show you what to do with it now.

First cut off the stem

Set it aside. We’ll deal with it in a minute. Now let’s get working.

Notice the leaves of this partially trimmed artichoke

With a pair of scissors, trim off the sharp edges from the top of the leaves. Some people say you don’t need to do this step as the leaves get tender when you steam them anyway, but I always do because it looks so pretty.

Cut your artichoke in half

It can be a bit tricky, so I use a large sharp knife. Notice the inside of the artichoke right under the purple leaves? This is called the choke and it is inedible. So remove it. Grab yourself a sharp paring knife and you’ll get the hang of it.

The one on the right has the choke removed

Do this to both halves. Remember the long stem? Well, let’s get back to that now.

This is the stem

It has been peeled with a vegetable peeler. Notice the inside white part. That part is really yummy but you want to remove as much as the fibrous outside as you can. It’s stringy and not delicious.

Now comes the easy part.

Steam your artichoke halves and stem

Of course, you need to cover it, but I took the picture before I did. Steam the artichoke for 45 minutes or until tender. Sometimes I steam up to 50 minutes, if I think the artichoke needs it. I use a large fork to pierce the artichoke to check for tenderness. Note: I also turn the artichoke halves over about half way through cooking.

Now before I show you how to eat an artichoke, there’s something else you have to do. You have to make a choice on sauces. Very Best Friend prefers a mayo/lemon dipping sauce. Some people prefer draw butter. Here’s the sauce I like.

My sauce couldn’t be simpler

Mikie’s Super Un-Secret Artichoke Sauce

2 Tbs mayo
3 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp lemon juice

Mix them together.

That’s it and this is the result.

Artichoke dipping sauce

Now, some of you out there don’t know how to eat an artichoke, so I’m going to explain that next. First off, you don’t eat the whole leaf. Trust me, you won’t like it.

Ready to eat

I know, you’re asking what’s that bowl for? Well, it’s for this.

For the leaves, of course

All you’re going to eat is the bottom of each leaf. Let me show you that up close.

See the bottom of the leaf?

Dip it in sauce and bite it with your teeth and pull out the soft part at the end of the leaf. Swallow it and yum, yum, yum. Discard the leaf.

Once you’ve gotten through all the leaves you’ll come to the artichoke heart (you’ve heard of those, haven’t you?). It’s totally edible and the very best part so I save it for last.

That’s it. Man I’m hungry for an artichoke right about now. Sure wish I could figure out how to grow them. I tried last year, but they froze to death. Maybe I’ll try again this year.

One last word of caution with artichokes.

When you are cooking, make sure your Siamese Terrorist does not jump on the stove to attack your camera strap. You’d think the kitten with have more sense than that. Evidently, not.

Tomorrow? Haven’t a clue.

Spreading laughter throughout the world…one chuckle at a time.

Mikie Baker
www.mikiebaker.com