Monday, August 6, 2012

HOW TO: Prepare & Eat an Artichoke

There are lots of things that attracted me to Scott when we were dating (I mean, just look at the handsome fellow) but his love of food is one of them.

Today we had artichokes for an after dinner treat. And, yum oh yum! You heard it folks, WHOLE artichokes is a Carter favorite. Scott grew up dipping his in straight mayo. It's not terrible or anything but it doesn't compare to my families tradition of dipping our artichokes in butter with a little dill (here are a couple other tasty options for dipping sauces that I will be trying next time here & here).

But first & foremost, friends, you have to learn how to prepare & eat whole artichokes. Here I am to save the day!

1. Cut off about an inch of the end and cut off the top of some of the more spikey tips (usually I don't do this & haven't noticed any difference. I guess it depends on how spikey the tips are).

2. Put them in a big saucepan in a couple inches of water (basically for steaming) Cover with a lid & boil for 30 min. It doesn't matter if they are stem down or up or on their side (I'm pretty sure I always just throw mine in so they lay on their sides).

3. Pull them out and let the water drain out of them for a bit. Then serve.

1. To eat you pull off one of the outermost petals. Dip the base of the petal into your favorite sauce.
2. Pull the petal through your slightly clenched teeth to remove the soft, tender, & tasty flesh at the bottom of the petal. Discard remainder.
3. Keep going around the artichoke eating until all petals have been removed (the ones in the very middle are lame & have no "meat" on them so just pull them off & toss). Then you will run into the fuzzy choke guarding the heart.

4. You remove it by scooping out the fuzziess it out with a spoon.

5. Now eat the heart- the best part & worth all the work- just dip, bite, & enjoy!

It's an awesome food to have when you're slowly eating & chatting. Or as a snack. Or as something different or pretty to serve for a dinner party. Or to eating while watching a movie.

Or, you know, basically anytime. Anywhere.

P.S. Any other artichoke eaters out there? Any other advice for first time tasters?


Rachel+Co said...

"the choke guarding the heart"! i love it. we love artichokes too. last time we had them, we were eating our dinner outside and about 10 neighbor kids came over to try some too. it was really fun to introduce all those meat-and-potatoes kids to some real food! and so sorry to scott but dipping them in mayo makes me want to gag. i'm all for butter with dill.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in Idaho and although we had a huge garden full of other vegetables, I don't ever remember eating artichokes. I confess that I've regarded them with suspicion ever since. =) I asked my Dad about it one time and he told me that he'd never liked them, which I suppose was the reason they never made it to the table. Bryan and I have done the same thing, I'm sorry to say, with beets. Hate is not a strong enough word for how Bryan feels about beets. I feel the same way about beet greens. My Mom used to cook them in a saucepan and serve them with vinegar. Since dinner wasn't something you could skip out on at our house, I would beg for an alternate vegetable. If that didn't work, I'd be the last one sitting at the table as Mom washed the dishes pushing those darn beet greens around with my fork. I promised myself more than once that my children would never have to eat slimy beet greens with vinegar.It's always nice to be able to keep at least one of the promises you made to yourself as a kid. =) Since there are so many other delicious veggies to choose from, beets are never seen at our house. I think it's great that your kids are so willing to try new things. Austin was our pickiest eater when he was little. I imagined him as an adult surviving on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. It makes me smile as I picture him in Ghana now eating fish heads and fermented corn dough and humongous snails. If you'd asked me years ago, I would have guessed he would have died of starvation in Africa. It continues to surprise me when I read in his letters how much he's enjoying learning to cook with what's available to him locally.

Kristie said...

Ok, question. Do you set them in with the stem up, or put the stem on the bottom of the pan when you put them in to steam them? And I think we might have to try one soon. You know expose the kids to new and fun things! Thanks for the how to!

Maria said...

I am not exactly sure how my mom cooked them but she somehow stuffed each layer with this yummy buttery breading. She would cook it stuffed (I am guessing she baked it?) and then after it was all cooked up we would tare each piece and scrape off the fleshy part covered in yummy breading. So good. Gotta start making these. Thanks for the reminder!

Katie said...

I first tried one in college and loved it. I am going to have to try this soon with my kids.

Anonymous said...

I adore artichokes and they were a staple at my home growing up. My husband is finally warming to them.

I usually boil them in water with a plate or a bowl on top to weigh it down, then serve them with ranch dressing and lemon butter. Ranch is my fave dipping for these guys.

Now I'm craving one.

Esther Noelle said...

Syd's hair is so pretty in that picture! Maybe we can make artichokes together sometime cause it isn't exactly considered a treat by the rest of those in my house ;)

benton said...

If you are like me, you have to get that goodness in you just about as quickly as possible. Five minutes in a pressure cooker on medium to medium-high heat and you'll have an extra 25 minutes to reflect on the simple pleasures...

kaitlin said...

ya i never knew about the trimming the spiky leaves part, i always just trimmed the bottom and that was it! but man oh man do i love artichoke, we did mayo or butter as well! so yummy.

lindsey said...

Lily and Seth love artichoke, I am yet to be converted... don't get me wrong, they are okay, but I don't have a love for them. Mayan has yet to try them, but considering her level of pickiness I don't see that going well.