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VOTE and then enjoy an artichoke

Do you remember your first artichoke?

I do!

artichokes

I was about 10 years old. There was an Italian family who lived across the street, three doors down from us. The family consisted of a very handsome dad, a seriously gorgeous mom, and an only child daughter who was a year or two older than me. I idealized the girl. She was pretty and nice and very well-mannered. Their home was calm and quiet and they were polite.

At my house, we were loud and there was always at least one of the four of us kids crying, screaming, yelling, or getting in trouble at any given moment of any given day.

Their family and home were like a perfect rose among a bunch of thorns. They only lived in our neighborhood for a year or two. No wonder with all that crying, yelling, and screaming going on!

Anyhow, one summer afternoon, the girl invited me to have dinner at her house. I was so excited. I remember being on my very best behavior and minding my manners. When the mom brought dinner to the table, there were the strangest looking, yet somehow intriguing, green thorny-looking things on one of the platters.

All three of them could see by the perplexed look on my face, that I had never seen an artichoke before. Of course, they were very kind and helpful in teaching me how to pull off one leaf at a time, dip it in the melted butter and scrape it with my teeth. I remember that when I had finished all the leaves, the mom expertly cut out the artichoke heart for me. I was hooked, I was enamored, I was in love with artichokes!

artie

We lived a block away from the intersection of Chaparral and Pima, just down from Scottsdale Community College. A year or two after my introduction to the artichoke, Artie the Artichoke was adopted as SCC’s mascot to express a difference of opinion between the students and the administration concerning budget priorities. I remember that even as an 11 or 12-year-old, I felt a special kinship with those students and was thrilled by their mascot choice.

Strange what you cling to as a kid!

bouquet garni

I use bouquet garni for my steamed artichokes. You may recall that we made bouquet garni at last winter’s craft party. If you don’t have any one hand, just throw in a few sprigs of fresh parsley instead.

artichoke

Steamed Artichokes with Lemon-Thyme Butter and Chipotle-Garlic Mayonnaise

1 bouquet garni or 6 sprigs of fresh parsley
4 garlic cloves, peeled
2 bay leaves
2 lemons, cut in half, divided
1/2 cup white wine
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups water
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 whole artichokes

flavors

Put the bouquet garni, peeled garlic, bay leaves, 3 of the lemon halves, wine, olive oil, and water in a large pot and bring to a simmer. Season the liquid with salt and pepper. While the pot is coming to a simmer prep the artichokes.

trim bottom

Wash artichokes under cold water. Using a large chef’s knife, cut off the stems close to the base. Pull off the lower petals that are small and tough.

cut off top

Cut off the top inch of the artichoke.

cut off tips

Use scissors to trim the thorny tips of the petals and rub all the cut areas with the remaining half a lemon, then drop the lemon half in the pot.

rub with lemon

Place the artichokes in the simmering liquid, bottom ends up. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes.

steamed

The artichokes are done when a paring knife is inserted into the base and there is no resistance.

artichoke

To eat, pull off a leaf, dip it in lemon-thyme butter or chipotle-garlic mayonnaise and scrape the meat off the tender end with your front teeth. When you reach the center cone of purple prickly leaves, remove it. This is the inedible choke that sits on top of the heart.

Now, scrape away the thistle fuzz covering the artichoke heart. The heart is the meatiest part of the artichoke. Use a fork and knife to cut it into bite-sized pieces and dip it in the butter or mayonnaise.

Serves 4

Lemon-Thyme Butter

Place 1 stick of butter in a microwave-safe bowl, add 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves and cook on high until melted. Add 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir and serve.

Chipotle- Garlic Mayonnaise

In a small bowl, mix together 1 cup prepared mayonnaise and 1 minced garlic clove and 1 finely minced chipotle pepper with adobo sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Stir and serve.


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4 comments

1 Bonnie { 11.04.14 at 9:24 AM }

My grandmother introduced me to artichokes in the early ’60s! She served them with Miracle Whip and to this day, that remains my favorite dipping sauce! Try it, you might like it!!

2 Linda Hopkins { 11.04.14 at 9:51 AM }

Bonnie, I will try it! I happen to be a MW lover. I can not and will not eat a Thanksgiving leftover turkey sandwich without MW!

3 sloane { 11.04.14 at 1:26 PM }

Don’t you remember when there was a guy down the street that made the mascot for SCC AND he was making a life size artichoke in his driveway?

4 Linda Hopkins { 11.04.14 at 2:11 PM }

No! How do I not have the slightest memory of that? Your childhood remembrances are so much better than mine… always have been! The “artichoke family” was the Granary’s I think. xoxo

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