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Old 01-10-2006, 11:37 AM   #1
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Artichoke question

We have been having difficulties cooking artichokes just right, or wonder just how much of the whole head can be "edible", and I wonder if anyone has a good suggestion....

We usually take off the few outer layers that seem utterly "invincible", then cut off the thorny part and cook in a pressure cooker with evoo, white wine, garlic, flat leaved parsley and salt (traditional artichoke roman style).
We have been continuously extending the cooking time, the last time for almost an hour (which is a LOT with a pressure cooker), but the most of the leaves remain very, very tough, all we can do with them is to scrape off the soft "meaty" inside from each leaves for eating, and discard the tough outside. From what I heard if they are cooked enough the whole leaves should be edible, but this getting to seem impossible, as if we cooked too much longer we are afraid the best part, the heart may melt away.
If we are to eliminate all the tough leaves barely more than the heart will remain, and as there are delicious "inner layer" sticking to the tough leaves, to eliminate all the leaves seems like such a pity.

Is there a trick to soften these leaves, or what we are doing (scraping off the inside from each leaves) is the best that can be done? Any input will be appreciated!!

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Old 01-10-2006, 11:41 AM   #2
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I've never had artichoke. What does it taste like? Is all of what you have to do to it, worth the trouble?
Sorry, didn't mean to hijack your question, I just had to ask.
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Old 01-10-2006, 11:53 AM   #3
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YES!! If they were not so delicious we wouldn't go through such troubles, naturally!! It is difficult to explain how it taste because they are really different from any other vegetables that I know, I only can say tasting is believing!!
Maybe you can find a bottled mini artichokes marinated in evoo (usually imported from Italy), they are already treated so you can eat straight away, good for appetizers, or pizza topping, tossing with pasta or salads, they are also tasty and you can get a good idea how it tastes, but the fresh ones are so much better!! I hope you can find it in shops near you... since you are from Texas, if there is a big H.E.B. (I remember there were some HEBs much bigger and more complete than other regular HEBs, something that could have been called super H.E.B....) they may have it... it is worth a try!!
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Old 01-10-2006, 11:53 AM   #4
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What you described Licia is actually the way it is supposed to be. Most of the leaves will always be too tough to eat. It is just that little bit at the end where it attaches to the heart that is edible. The way you scrape the leaves over your teeth to get the meat is exactly the right way to eat them. It is a lot of work for very little food. Once you get down further then the leaves become much more tender and you can eat the whole thing. The you get to the heart and choke. Remove the choke with a knife and eat the heat. That part makes all the work worth while!
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Old 01-10-2006, 12:00 PM   #5
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Ah, okay GB so you have been enjoying the artichoke just as we do, we are not the only one!! Every time they leave a big mound of discarded "toughies" and seemed to us like a lot of waste, and we were wondering if there were some ways to make them edible... but even if we have to settle for that, they ARE worth the effort!!
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Old 01-10-2006, 12:03 PM   #6
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Depending on the preparation that is how I do it. Other times I will just trim ALL the tough leaves off. It makes the artichoke a lot smaller in the end (looks like just the heart with a few leaves. We enjoy scraping the leaves on our teeth though. It forces us to eat slower which is something we need from time to time
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Old 01-10-2006, 12:05 PM   #7
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I've never used a pressure cooker. I steam them in the microwave. Claire gives some excellent advice here on 4/17:

Artichoke Reminder

and more info here:

Artichokes
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Old 01-10-2006, 12:18 PM   #8
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Thanks for the links Mish, gave me some good ideas for the next experiment with artichokes... (we just used up the frozen batch from the last season, but it will soon be spring for the next fresh arrivals...)
I never thought of using mike but yes, I do indeed steam other veggies in the microwave, I found it very effective. We will give it a try next time!
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Old 01-10-2006, 12:25 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by urmaniac13
YES!! If they were not so delicious we wouldn't go through such troubles, naturally!! It is difficult to explain how it taste because they are really different from any other vegetables that I know, I only can say tasting is believing!!
Maybe you can find a bottled mini artichokes marinated in evoo (usually imported from Italy), they are already treated so you can eat straight away, good for appetizers, or pizza topping, tossing with pasta or salads, they are also tasty and you can get a good idea how it tastes, but the fresh ones are so much better!! I hope you can find it in shops near you... since you are from Texas, if there is a big H.E.B. (I remember there were some HEBs much bigger and more complete than other regular HEBs, something that could have been called super H.E.B....) they may have it... it is worth a try!!
Well, I guess I will have to try the jarred ones first before I go through all the steps in cooking them. Thanks UR!
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Old 01-10-2006, 12:28 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by urmaniac13
Maybe you can find a bottled mini artichokes marinated in evoo (usually imported from Italy)...
They are readily available in the US.
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