Friday, June 25, 2010

Okie Dokie Artichokie

Artichoke hearts marinated in oil and spices are my favorite pizza topping.  While I'm hardly eating pizza these days, I've been thinking about artichokes.  The other day my husband I started talking about artichokes.  I've never had one, a fresh one that is.  :)  I recently had a similar situation with peaches and pears; shockingly, I'd never eaten one that didn't come from a can.  

But I digress.  We decided we'd try to make artichokes as a healthy appetizer for our meal last night.  Since I'm a newbie to this very brave vegetable (one you see the artichoke heart, you'll realize why I think I was brave), I made idiot-proof instructions.  

Fresh Artichokes for Dummies
2 artichokes
1 egg (enriched with omega-3)
1/4 canola oil
freshly ground pepper
1-2 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
2 garlic cloves, sliced

With a large, sharp knife, cut the stem off the artichokes.  Then, cut the top 1/4 off each artie.  Next, take kitchen shears, and clip the top off of each leaf going around the artichoke.  Now, it turns out there are several schools of thought on how to cook the artie.  Here they are:

Option #1:  In a large saucepan, boil 2-3 cups of water.  Add vegetable steamer.  Place garlic slices in between the leaves of the artichokes.  Grind ample amounts of pepper in the water and on top of the artichokes.  Place artichokes "point down" so the stem is looking at you from the bowl.  Steam for roughly 45 minutes.

Option #2:  In a large microwave-safe caserole dish add 2-3 inches of water.  Place garlic slices in between the leaves of the artichokes.  Grind ample amounts of pepper into the water and on top of the artichokes.  Microwave 5 minutes per artichoke (I microwaved mine for 10 mins, hence yields 2).

While artichokes cook, make the dipping sauce.  Traditionally, these are dipped in either butter or mayonnaise.  I made my paleo mayo and added Balsamic Vinegar to the recipe.  

Dippin' Sauce

1 whole egg (omega-3)
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 c. flaxseed (I didn't have flaxseed so I used canola)
1-2 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar

In a blender or food processor, blend all ingredients for several minutes.  Pour into a small dipping bowl, serve cold.  

Here's the fun part:  Remove the artichoke leaves one at a time.  Dip the "meat" of the leaf into the sauce.  Scrape the leaf against your teeth to remove the flesh from the artie.  Repeat until you are no longer able to find leaves with any flesh on them.  Remove the useless leaves.  You will be left with a creepy hair mess.  This is the artichoke heart.  Scrape out the hairs.  Cut into halves or quarters and dip.  Enjoy!  It feels great to be brave.

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