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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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Old 01-10-2006, 12:34 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by texasgirl
Well, I guess I will have to try the jarred ones first before I go through all the steps in cooking them. Thanks UR!
The jarred marinated ones taste drastically different from the fresh kind. They are completely different animals in my opinion. Both are delicious though.
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Old 01-10-2006, 01:25 PM   #12
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As has been said, artichoke leaves are

meant to be scraped off using your teeth as the "scraper". What you get in cans and frozen are the hearts, which are tender leaves with the heart. The leaves NEVER get tender. It is better to remove and discard some of the larger and very tough outer leaves.
A nice appetizer plate can be made by cooking an artichoke and removing the leaves and placing them in a "petal" arrangement on a tray. Put a dollop of mayo mixed with horseradish on the leaf and then a tiny salad shrimp.
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Old 01-10-2006, 04:55 PM   #13
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I agree, I don't see how those tough leaves can ever be made tender.

But let me add have tried stuffed artichokes, and find them delightful.
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Old 01-10-2006, 05:13 PM   #14
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I love artichokes and the leaves always stay tough - I just scrape the fleshy portion with my teeth, then remove the choke and eat the heart - and end up with a satisfying mound of discarded leaves at the end.
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Old 01-10-2006, 07:52 PM   #15
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Hi licia,
we are great fans of articholes too. The large ones do have a lot of half eaten leaves, and as yet I've never found a way to make them edible. They seem to just stay tough and stringy. We enjoy the bottom portion of each leaf and the heart, usually we dip in butter or mayo. For eating the whole artichoke we use baby artichokes, cutting off just the tip, cooking in chicken broth and a little lemon, I usually halve them.. When done, I toss them in melted butter, mixed with minced garlic, chopped parsley, salt and pepper. There is no thistle to remove the entire artichoke except for the thorny tip. Cooking time is not great maybe 15 or 20 min. My m-i-l use to make these for every birthday dinner for her boys..You might find some of the outer leaves a little stringy, I just spit em out..But you can also peel off the very first outer layer, the rest will be tender.

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Old 01-10-2006, 08:49 PM   #16
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The first time I cooked dinner for my now Husband (nearly 24 years ago) Artichokes were on the menu. I'm not a huge eater and rarely manage to get to the "choke". Little did I know that he'd never eaten one before so stopped when he got as far in as I did - it wasn't until we dined with his brother's family that they served them and he learned about the heart! Gee he liked them much better then!

I love the things! And I agree that the canned ones are much different animals than fresh. I remember getting 10 for a dollar!


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Old 01-11-2006, 05:38 AM   #17
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Well it sounds like we were not doing anything wrong after all... it was just that Cris was pretty convinced that once he had an artichoke prepared so that the whole thing was soft enough to be eaten before. So I was just curious if there was a way to acheive such a thing.
CJ your baby artichoke recipes sounds delicious!! I have tried them last year to make a sauce/dip type thing with garlic and lemon (delicious on pasta), they are much more manageable than the large versions!!
I can wait for spring to come around... not only artichokes, but also asparguses, strawberries, with all the prices of the produces start to come down!!
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Old 01-11-2006, 05:41 AM   #18
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I know what you mean about awaiting crops in season, Urmaniac.

I can't wait until the end of this month when the Seville oranges appear in our shops. Then I make enough proper orange marmalade to do us for a whole year - and a few jars for friends and family, too.
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Old 01-11-2006, 05:45 AM   #19
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whoa, proper orange marmalade!! yum!! That will sure to drive Paddington bear wild!! Be sure to post us a recipe!!
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Old 01-11-2006, 06:07 AM   #20
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I posted it a while back - I'll find it and 'bump' it up!
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