The public has a right to know...

The public has a right to know many things. Two of the most important things are how to cook an artichoke and how to short sheet a bed. I will be discussing the artichoke-how-to here, and you can visit my previous post of how to short sheet a bed.

Artichokes are abundant and inexpensive right now. Don’t let the spiny exterior or odd shape deter you from a true delight. I was cruising through some blogs the other day (I get easily sucked into spending hours reading other people’s “stuff”, much as you are doing right now!), and somebody mentioned they were intimidated by this delectable delight.

Anyway, artichokes are one of my favorite vegetables, and I’d like to share some important tips on how I prepare them. Obviously, there are lots of ways to do it, but of course, mine is better.

Picking a good one in the store? Stay in control.
Pick one up, and squeeze it. It should squeak with the leaves rubbing against one another. If you aren’t sure what I am talking about, pick up several, squeeze them gently. When you find a perfectly ripe one, you will “get it”. Dont’ be alarmed if they all start screaming. They are afraid of heights, and won’t jump off. Just remember, stay in control.

Getting it home. Don’t be afraid.
by all means, place your choke in a plastic bag. Please don’t have any illusions of ever using that bag again, however. They go in the bag easily, and each one of those barbs on the end catches on the bag coming out. It’s best to tear into the bag and not fight it.

You will want to chop off the tops of the choke, getting most of the tips off. Also the stem must go. I finish mine off by trimming each end that didn’t get chopped off, so it will be easier to eat. Don’t be afraid. It won’t bite back, and is virtually harmless when all the tips are gone.

You will end up with a beautiful vegetable that looks like a flower. If they weren’t so tasty, you can bet I would be using them in my flower arrangements.

Cooking it. No, really.

Take out your rice cooker. Now, you must do a bit of planning ahead. Please try to not serve rice and artichokes at the same time. They are old enemies (think Hatfields and McCoys). Plus, they are both better cooked in your rice cooker, and not at the same time.

Place your choke(s) in the rice cooker. Put in ¼ cup of water, and a splash of balsamic vinegar (optional, can also be red wine vinegar, or none at all). No, really, only ¼ cup of water. Don’t put more water in, no matter what your instincts are. They are to be steamed, not boiled!

Turn your rice cooker on and walk away. It will do the rest, including alerting you as to when your perfectly cooked artichokes are ready to eat. (About 25 minutes). No, really! 

What to serve them with? Mayonnaise or Lemon? 
(pretend there is a picture here of of mayonnaise and lemon, I forgot to take one)

Depending on what part of the country you are from dictates what you are used to dipping the meaty leaves into.

My mom always used to use butter with a generous helping of garlic salt and lemon (Colorado).
My husband has turned me onto the California way and we eat ours with mayonnaise.
He also makes a mixture for his that includes mayonnaise, worcestershire and horseradish.

I’m hoping that since you have read this far I don’t need to tell you how you are supposed to eat the artichoke, but for those of you who aren’t sure, read on. For those of you who know, you may simply go to the bottom of the post, leave me a comment, and go on about your merry way.

Peel the leaves off the artichoke. The top of the leaf that used to have the stickers on it are to be held with your fingers. Dip it into the dipping sauce of your choice, place the rest of the leaf in between your teeth, and pull it out, scraping the meat of the artichoke off the leaf with your teeth.

Discard the leaf, and start over. You will eventually work your way down to where the leaves are practically falling off in your mouth. And then you will get your way down to another one of nature’s tricks - the thistles. I don’t suggest trying to eat those. Take a spoon, scrape off the thistles, exposing the heart of the artichoke. Divide it in halves, or thirds (or however many people are sharing your artichoke), and then you get to eat the heart of the artichoke. Don’t forget your dipping sauce.

Now, do it all over again tomorrow night. Artichokes are a seasonal thing, and if you wait too long, you will find that they are $4/each. I have to admit, I still buy them, but not as much. And November - February, you can’t find them. So eat ‘em while you can.

And don’t forget to thank me. I love comments!

NOTE: I'm managing to squeeze a thematic photographic - pattern in here!


Mojo said...

Never been that big a fan of artichokes, but this sounds tasty. Nice twist getting the Thematic in there at the end too!
Thanks for stopping by...
(PS: I don't know how they "match" sets of tires on a race car, so to me it's voodoo.)

Margerie said...

Yum, I love arts. If you don't feel like cooking one after you get it all trimmed up, grab a pie tin, put in your favorite paint and use choke as a stamp. Looks like a rose, a very pretty stamp.

Next time I choke, I will think of you ;)

smarmoofus said...

Funny you should be noticing the pattern in the artichoke... I just commented on Barb's photograph of a flower over at Picture This at Last, saying that it looks like an artichoke! I will say that your artichoke looks like a flower.


Susan said...

Thanks, Hayley. I haven't had an artichoke in years and never knew how to cook them.

And I'm going to try the paint idea, too.