Monday, June 13, 2011

Steamed Artichokes

This one is for my friend, Emily E.

My very first experience with artichokes was on my 16th birthday. A really sweet kid in my ward named Kolby took me out on my first date. I think we were on a double date with another kid in our neighborhood and some girl, but I don't remember. I only remember two things from that night - how cool the date was, and these amazing little vegetables called artichokes.

Kolby and his friend set up a grill on this flat, huge rock that jutted out over the Snake River. Next to the grill was a table, complete with gingham tablecloth and candles. I'm sure we had some kind of steak or whatever, but what I remember were the grilled artichokes. Kolby taught me how to eat them - pulling the leaves off, dipping the pulpy part in mayo, and scraping the pulp off the bottom with your teeth. What a revelation.

Ben looooooooooooves when I make artichokes. He made himself really sick a couple of months ago when he ate like five in one sitting. His body isn't used to such fiber-ey goodness. The man doesn't touch vegetables unless I put them on his dinner plate. And then he usually chokes down like two small carrot sticks or whatever to appease me.

There are obviously billions of ways to cook an artichoke, but I like steaming them in my big old steaming basket that I bought to make tamales once. (And the tamales were so hard to make that I haven't made them since!) I saw online once to put a bay leaf and a clove of garlic in the boiling water. Bay leaves and garlic cloves make everything better, in my opinion. I tried it and not only loved the taste it gave the artichokes, but also the lovely smell that wafted through my house while they were cooking.

Steamed Artichokes

1. If the artichokes have little thorns on the ends of the leaves, cut them off with kitchen shears.

2. Slice 3/4 inch - 1 inch off the tip of the artichokes.

3. Pull off the smaller leaves toward the base and on the stem.

4. Cut excess stem, leaving about an inch.

5. Rinse artichokes.

6. In lg. pot, put 2 inches water, one clove garlic, a slice of lemon, and a bay leaf. Insert steaming basket. Add artichokes. Cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 25-45 mins.

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