Monday, April 13, 2015

Artichokes are a Taste of Summer

Saying I grew up spoiled by Mom's cooking would be more than an understatement. I took for granted a lot of the foods that she cooked regularly, never bothering to learn how to make them because I knew my craving would be satiated the next time I went to her house.

But now that she's living 1,500 miles away, I'm finally teaching myself some of the techniques I should have been using long ago.

My whole life, artichokes have been one of my favorite foods, and can't remember a summer barbecue at Mom's without one artichoke for every one to two people. I always knew I could count on my artichoke fix the next time I went to Mom's, so I never even bothered to make one myself.

Needless to say, when I bought my first artichoke a couple of weeks ago, I was at first shocked by the cost, then by the amount of prep work they require before you can even start cooking them. First, you have to cut off all those intimidating spikes (you can see above that I left the ones in the middle — they're not quite as dangerous since they're pointing inward!). Then you have to trim and peel the stalk, which is a bit stringy but still tasty once you get toward the middle.

And after all that, your typical large artichoke takes an hour to steam. Seriously! Luckily, my trusty pressure cooker needs just 12 minutes on full blast to do the trick. The heating up and cooling down adds a couple more minutes, but it's still way short of an hour!

I've since honed my artichoke-trimming skills after discovering that Costco carries a pack of four for less than the same price of two at the supermarket. Heck, yeah, I can eat an artichoke each and every day of the week! Especially since I learned over the weekend that artichokes are detoxifying for my liver, woo-hoo! That's gotta help me get those histamines out of my system!

One more thing to note, before you melt a bunch of butter or grab the tub of mayo to go with your artichoke, try eating it alone. It tastes so delicious and already has the texture of butter, so why bother slathering on the fat? At least give it a try!

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