Artichokes – A Fun Food!
When is the last time you made an artichoke for dinner?My husband and I were on a date the other night at a local restaurant we hadn’t yet tried and there on the menu in the appetizer section was Grilled Artichoke. “Why not?” we thought. We were both really hungry and felt like having something we could share before our entrees arrived. It was really yummy and I wondered why I so rarely make them at home. My artichoke repertoire has become somewhat limited to the very delicious Hot Artichoke Dip. You can’t go wrong with this!
When our girls were little one of them saw an artichoke in the produce section of the market one day and asked me what that “funny looking flower” was. So I bought a couple, brought them home, and we had them that night with dinner. I really wasn’t sure as to how they would be received with my little ones, but thought it a good idea to expose them to all sorts of foods, especially since they had asked about them. I had only bought two of them for our family of five because I had my doubts that they would eat them at all. Of course a tutorial on how to eat them was necessary and that’s when the fun began. “Mommy, this is a fun food!” was the response to artichokes that evening and I have thought of them as that ever since.
I realized after our restaurant experience that it had been a long time since I had cooked an artichoke at home to serve with dinner. So I decided it was time to rectify that situation and I surprised Randy with “Fun Food” for dinner the other night. Artichokes are easy to prepare, tasty, a great source of fiber, calcium, iron and magnesium, and they really are fun to eat…a good dipping sauce doesn’t hurt either
Fun food, along with fun people, and the fun memories you create bring so much love, joy and abundance to our lives !
One thing that is important to know when cooking artichokes, is that they need to be simmered (or steamed if you prefer) in a stainless steel, glass or enameled pan. Anything else will cause a reaction that makes the artichoke turn brown and while it still may be OK to eat it certainly won’t look as pretty or as appetizing .
Cut the stems and the tops of the artichokes to eliminate the prickly ends of the leaves. Remove the small tough leaves from around the stem as well. Bring water to a boil in a pan. The amount of water will depend on how many artichokes you are cooking. The water should come at least half way up the side of the artichokes but doesn’t need to cover them. Add salt and 1 tablespoon of dried tarragon to the water. Squeeze the juice of a lemon into the water as well and then drop the whole lemon rind in the water, after squeezing it ,to cook with the artichoke. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until the outer leaves peel away easily. Using tongs, remove the artichoke from the simmering water.
You can either serve your “chokes” naked or drizzled with herbed dressing. Likewise you can serve them with melted butter for dipping or some aioli as a dipping sauce. However you serve them just remember to have fun!
Herbed Artichoke Dressing
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 shallot finely minced
1 clove garlic finely minced
1 tablespoon tarragon (fresh if possible or 1 teaspoon dried)
Leaves from several springs of fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Pepper to taste
Mix together by hand or in a blender and drizzle over the tops of warm artichokes
Easy Aioli for Dipping
1/2 cup good mayo
2 cloves of garlic very finely minced
2 Tablespoons capers, finely minced
Fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (optional)
Mix together and serve in individual little ramekins.