After getting my Bountiful Basket today, I had several emails inquiring about artichokes. "How do you cook an artichoke?" ... "What do you do with artichokes"... "Do people seriously eat these things, they're kinda ugly?"... "Can I make that yummy Spinach Artichoke Dip out of this ugly thing?", etc... So I looked into it. You can certainly cook these things up and eat them. It is a bit of a process, but I think it sounds like it should be quite the learning experience too. My favorite go-to cookbook when I have a question like this is a really old Betty Crocker cookbook of my Mom's. It is full of information on how to cook veggies that you've never heard of :-) So that is where I am pulling this information from.
To cook an artichoke:
Allow 1 artichoke for each serving. Remove any discolored leaves and the small leaves at base of artichoke; trim stem even with base of artichoke. Cutting straight across, slice 1 inch off top and discard the top. Snip off points of the remaining leaves with scissors. Rinse artichoke under cold water.
To prevent leaves from spreading during cooking, tie string around artichoke and from top to bottom to hold leaves in place. Invert cleaned artichoke in bowl containing 1 tablespoon lemon juice for each quart water to prevent discoloration.
Artichokes should be cooked in a large kettle. For 4 medium artichokes, heat 6 quarts, 1/4 cup vegetable oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 clove garlic (cut into fourths), and 1 teaspoon salt to boiling. Add artichokes. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer uncovered, rotating occasionally, until leaves pull out easily and bottom is tender until leaves pull out easily and bottom is tender when pierced with a knife, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove artichokes carefully from water (use tongs or two large spoons); place upside down to drain.
To serve hot:
Remove string but do not remove choke. (Choke is the fuzzy growth covering artichoke heart.) Place artichoke upright on plate. Dip in Lemon Butter (recipe follows):
Heat 1/4 cup margarine or butter over low heat until melted or microwave uncovered in 1-cup glass measuring cup until hot and bubbly, about 45 seconds. Mix with 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel, 2 tablespoons lemon juice and, if desired, 1 tablespoon snipped chives.
Pluck leaves one at a time. Dip base of leaf into a sauce or lemon butter. Turn leaf meaty side down and draw between teeth, scraping off meaty portion. Discard leaf on plate.
When all outer leaves have been removed, a center cone of small light-colored leaves covering the fuzzy center choke will be exposed.
Pull or cut off cone of leaves. Slice off fuzzy choke with knife and fork; discard. Cut the remaining "heart", the prize section and use for this YUMMY SPINACH ARTICHOKE DIP!
YUMMY SPINACH ARTICHOKE DIP
original recipe from Charlie, my friend
4 artichoke hearts, cut up in small pieces
10 oz fresh spinach or 1 pkg frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 clove of garlic, pressed
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayo
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Stir ingredients together and place in a baking dish. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Or you can place all ingredients together in a dip-sized crockpot and slow-cook it.
Serve with celery sticks, chips, crackers, or toasted bread...