Fresh Artichoke

Hey, guys, so after preparing, cooking, and subsequently devouring an artichoke, I realized that I could have used it to make a blog post and now I regret eating it in such haste! My initial reaction after finishing would be similar to what I probably thought about my first shrimp. Really good, but a lot of work considering how little meat it had. For those of you who don’t know, an artichoke looks like this:

artichoke

It was 2 for $3 at my local ShopRite and I picked one up based on color, much like I do for other produce. Beware, though, the tips of the leaves have thorns, so don’t do what I did and grab at them like an ogre. Honestly, I don’t know why you’d put them tip out; that’s just setting you up for failure!

When I was ready to eat it, I filled a deep pot with an inch (or a knuckle, to eyeball) of water and boiled it. To prepare these bad boys, I cut off those leaf tips (sweet, sweet revenge). The thorns are allegedly harmless once it’s cooked, but cutting them off makes it easier to work with. Once that’s done, I cut off about 3/4 of an inch off the tip and most of the stem, leaving about an inch of that.

Then I slivered a few cloves of garlic and tucked them under the leaves. Once the water was boiling, I put my vegetable steamer in the pot followed by the artichoke, stem down. Left the fire on high and cooked for about 3o mins*. If you try this, don’t worry that the color is darker, that’s normal! I knew it was done when the outer leaves came off easily.

I personally love dipping sauces, so I made one by melting 1 part butter with 3 parts lemon juice. I read an article that mentioned mayo with balsamic vinegar. If you don’t like dipping sauces, consider slipping some slices of butter with the slivers of garlic before you steam the whole artichoke.

Try it out and tell me how you did!

SITES I USED:
http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/how_to_cook_and_eat_an_artichoke/
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/artichokes/

*Cooking temperature itself isn’t important, it’s about getting food at the correct internal temperature. Click here for a handy chart on food temperatures by FoodSafety.gov. In this case, it doesn’t matter how high the heat is, as long as the center is cooked. Too high of a heat and the outside leaves aren’t going to taste the same as the inside. Too low heat and it’ll take forever, but it’ll get there eventually! Water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit, but food safety temperatures are 165 degrees Fahrenheit at the most.

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