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How to prepare an artichoke

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The last time I had fresh artichokes was the first time I visited Joyce in San Jose three years ago. Having the ones pickled in bottles at home is nice, but of course that is just the heart of the artichoke and one doesn't get to enjoy all of the globe.
    I thought these facts about the artichoke from whatscookingamerica are quite interesting. I didn't know that artichokes are the oldest foods known to humans, and that Marilyn Monroe was the first official California Artichoke Queen in 1949.
    I wouldn't know where to begin preparing an artichoke and documented the process when Joyce was doing it. It wasn't as intimidating as I had thought. 
Preparing and eating an artichoke
Top row: Trim the stalk; cut off a little of the top to expose the leaves; rub lemon juice on the cut side to prevent browning.
Second row: Trim the tip of the leaves; the trimmed leaves; cut the artichoke in half lengthwise.
Third row: The pretty cross-section; remove the choke (the "beard"); the prepared artichoke halves are ready to tbe cooked.
Bottom row: Arrange the halves in a steamer and cook for 10-20 minutes depending on size; to serve pour a little melted butter in the centre, pull off a leaf/petal and dip the bottom (the inside soft surface) in the butter; place leaf against bottom teeth, butter side down, and pull against teeth to remove the pulp.
Not shown: I was too busy eating the the heart of the artichoke after all the leaves are enjoyed to take a picture.
    Grilled artichokes are also delicious. They're steamed for about five minutes less and then put on the barbecue to get those pretty grill marks and smoky taste. But getting the outdoor grill going was too much work for just the small family (plus sister/sister-in-law/aunt!). We did have dinner outdoors that night because it was a little warmer than usual, but while everyone else was in shorts, I was in my jeans and had to put on a light jacket. What a wuss!

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