Artichoke Reminder

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Master Chef
Sep 4, 2004
Galena, IL
Can't resist mentioning that sometimes simplest is best and most impressive. While bemoaning the lack of great produce this time of year, I found some beautiful globe artichokes. Took home and simply steamed (I know many of you out there will gasp in dismay, but I do this in the microwave oven!!). Served with my favorite easy dipping sauce. Invited a freind over who I thought loved all things artichoke, only to know she'd never had a simple, pull-and-dip, plain artichoke before! Needless to say she loved it -- she'd had them prepared many ways before, just never simply trimmed, steamed, allowed to cool to touch, and pull them apart and eat them. She was quite interested to see the 'choke', watch me trim it out, then to taste the very heart (oh, yummm!). It was such a fun thing to do; something hubby and I do often, but didn't realize some never have tried. Strikes me, too, as being fun for kids.
Wow Claire!!

This is kinda the same conversation i had with Atomic Jed!! I had never and still havent ate an Artichoke! Hahahaha. He was telling me how good it is and how to prepare it and how to eat it!! I could hear his saliva glands working as we spoke HAHAHA:LOL: :LOL: :LOL: SO, IM GONNA TRY IT SOON! THANKS CLAIRE!
Claire said:
Took home and simply steamed (I know many of you out there will gasp in dismay, but I do this in the microwave oven!!).
I will not gasp in dismay. One of the best uses for a microwave (other than reheating leftovers) is for steaming vegetables.

I love artichokes in any way shape and form. I saw some in the supermarket tonight while I was shopping for dinner and decided I must get some soon. I love using my kitchen knives and preparing artichokes is a great way to get some use out of them. Maybe I will make some tomorrow.

Clair, for the benefit of people who have never tried this, what is your method of steaming them in the microwave and what is your favorite easy dipping sauce?
also what is the choke? Is this that soft part that circles the base, kind of where the leaves begin? WE had two the other day, and they didnt seem to have hearts just more flowers. Is that more a question of how ripe they are?
I am guessing those little flowers you are talking about are just the immature leaves. Where they purplish in color? Once you get past those you will be at the choke and heart. The choke sits on top of the heart. the choke is very fibrous. If you try to eat it it will choke you hence the name. Below that is the heart (at the stem end). this is the best part of the vegetable. Cut out the choke and savor the heart :)
OK. First of all, buy an artichoke and trim it. Cut off the stem so it will sit upright, then take a heavy chef's knife and chop an inch or so off the top. Then take scizzors and trim all the pointy ends off of the leaves. This sounds complicated but takes only 2 minutes at the most, but there is a barb and the end of each leaf that will make this no fun if you don't (plus it looks prettier). I have a lemon half on hand, and rub the entire artichoke with it when I'm through trimming. Then place the artichokes on a glass dish that is deep enough to hold a little water (for one artichoke -- two or three people as an appetizer -- a shallow soup/pasta bowl will do, for two or three artichokes, enought for a half dozen people, a glass pie pan will work). Just barely cover the bottom of the dish with water. I take the half lemon I used on the artichoke, and squeeze it into the water. Then cover with clear plastic wrap and nuke. The hard part is how long to nuke it, because microwave ovens vary so much in power, and artichokes vary a lot in size. I think this time I had two huge globe artichokes and did 4 minutes about a half hour before my guest arrived, then two minutes after she got here. You don't want the artichoke to be too hot to grab with your fingers. The test for done-ness is to be able to very easily pull off a leaf.

My favorite dipping sauce is mayo, a bit of honey, some dijon mustard and a dollop of tabasco (I like that bit of vinagery flavor)

You tear off each leaf, dip, and nibble the inside of each leaf (this is why the dip is important) and discard much of it. AS you reach the inside of the artichoke, more and more of each leaf is edible. You will know when you hit the choke ... it looks hairy. At that point you take a little paring knife, cut off the hairy stuff, and cut the bottom into pieces and pass it around (or, if your selfish, squeeze lemon on it, put in the fridge, and make poached eggs and place it between the eggs and the English muffins ...what is it called, folks? Eggs sardu or something like that?).

So now you have no excuse. Buy a real artichoke and go to work!!!!

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