9/23/07

Mmmm Artichokes!

One of my all time favorite foods are artichokes. When they go on sale at the grocery store (which is $1.50 each around here) I get a couple and try to time the preparation of them when none of the kids are here so I don't have to share... LOL. My son doesn't care so much but my youngest daughter (11) adores them too!

Last night the kids were all busy with friends and I was all alone on a Saturday night. It was time for an early dinner and since it was just me I decided to have my artichokes.


Use a scissors to cut off the triangle shaped leaves because frankly? They hurt! The tips of the leaves are sharp and yes, they can puncture your thumb and draw blood! Cut off damaged dry leaves at the bottom, the tips of the triangles, and using a large knife you can sheer off the top of the artichoke too.

Some people only believe in steaming them... me? I go for 'quick' and 'easy' which for me is boiling. I place them in a pan of water that almost covers them, top it with the lid and put it on high. When it comes to a boil I turn the heat down a bit and let them simmer until they are soft. Usually I go do something else and come back to them after about 20-40 minutes when I remember them. *wink* At that point I drain them and lay them upside down on a towel to completely drain the leaves of excess water.

While they finish draining I melt 1/2 stick of real butter and add about 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice to the butter. Pull off the leaves one by one and dip them into the melted butter, scraping the artichoke flesh off the bottom portion of the inside leaf. You don't bite the leaves, you don't chew them. You simply scrape the soft flesh from the base and place the leaf in a discard pile.

When you get to the center of the artichoke you've reached the best part. The heart. There will be a soft center with fine hairs all leaning towards the center. Using your finger or a spoon you can gently push around the edge of the center and pull it out. Do not eat this part as the little hairs are irritating. Discard the hairy center and the remaining heart is yours for the taking. Dipped in butter and finished off in about 4-5 full bites.

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