Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The mis-understood Artichoke

So both Scott and I have enjoyed artichokes for some time. We normally buy the hearts canned and use them in a variety of dishes. Up until this time our kids kind of shied away from them. Who can blame them, they look funny and have an interesting flavor. Well we were shopping at Macey's today and they had fresh artichokes on special. So we grabbed 4 of them. I did not know first off how our kids would react to them, so I did cook a normal meal of home made chicken potpie. That was a hit, it always is a good stand by. So here is how I prepared our artichokes. I cut off about 1/4 of the top. Then I went around to the leaves and snipped off the very tips. I cut the stem off as close to the vegetable as I could so it would stand up in the pot. One very important part of this is that artichokes discolor very very quickly, so I had to rub each one of them with lemon as soon as I cut them. I am not even joking about this part, they turn brown almost immediatley. So now take a larg soup pot and fill it with about 4-5 inches of water. To this water add a good handful of salt and about 4 lemons cut in half and 2 bay leaves. Now put your trimmed artichokes in so they are standing up. If they float you have to much water. Now cover and simmer for 45 - 60 minutes. Take them out and let them drain upside down, so that no water stays in the leaves. Now comes the good part, and here is why I think introducing artichokes this way work better than in a can. THEY ARE FUN TO EAT!!!!!

The kids looked at Scott and I tearing off the leaves and scraping them against our teeth and they all put the potpie aside and wanted to tear apart an artichoke. So what you so is just start removing leaves from the outside in and dip it in either some melted butter OR a mixture of some very good mayonaise mixed with some balsamic vinegar. OH MY GOSH!!!!! It rocked. The artichokes were good, the balsamic dipping sauce rocked and THE KIDS LOVED THEM!!! COlton ate a whole entire artichoke himself. All the kids, including Mason just chowed them down.

Now if you are thinking of eating artichokes let me tell you, when you get to the "heart" and you will see some "hair" you need to take a spoon and scrape this out. This is not edible and will make you sick. It just comes right out and leaves nothing behind. After removing the "choke" you can now eat the heart, and that is the best part. They are a lot of work if you just want the heart, but if you enjoy the entire process of eating down to the heart it is fun. I learned sometime ago that if new food is fun my kids will eat it. Like the chicken hearts they all at at Tucano's the other night, but that is a different story.

Let me know what you all think.

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