Monday, June 22, 2009

Artichokes - A Super Food

We went over to whole foods last week and perusing the the produce section, I noticed these babies. I had artichoke growing up quite often, with a little side of butter [[I think everyone else used mayo, but that was too disgusting for me to try-- gobs of mayo in your mouth? yuck!]].

Uncooked artichoke.

This weekend I also built a light box. The photo above was taken in it while the photo below was taken in my kitchen. I'm constantly in awe of what our little camera is able to accomplish and that light box is down right beautiful. It's sitting in our living room next to the bookshelf and our stacked bikes and Andrew's tower of magic. Our living room has turned into more of a study/work studio. We're so hip. Sort of.

As pretty as it looks raw, I had to figure how to actually prepare it. I read a lot of online tutorials before trying to cook these and they all came to the same points:
  • Trim the spikes off of the leaves-- or pedals I suppose, it is a flower
  • Cut the top off about an inch
  • Cut the stem so it can stand up straight
  • Rinse and clean them well
  • Steam them, OR bring about 4 inches of water to a boil and place artichokes inside stands up so that no water will get trapped in the leaves, cover -- leave for about an hour
  • Throw one clove of garlic in with the bowling water to add a garlic-y flavor to them-- it's delicious
These were all great and very helpful points. My artichokes were not fully cooked after an hour, but I suppose it would have worked better if I had a steamer. This tutorial was really helpful, with great photos, and it also has pressure cooker instructions.

Artichoke with smoked paprika vegenaise and melted earth balance

I served it with a side of vegenaise [[mixed with a little smoked paprika and lemon]] and some melted earth balance. Andrew had never had artichokes this way, so I thought I'd offer up bother dipping options.

If you're worried about eating these covered in fat, don't. Artichokes increase your body's production of bile, which helps the digestion of lipids. Also, they rule with a whopping 10.3 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein, and 0 grams of fat per serving. PLUS, they're a super food complete with antioxidants. You rock artichokes.

Anyway, this was just a little post to offer up some help with artichokes. They're a strange and elusive plant, at least to me, but they're one of my favorites.

Aaand, it was also to show off my cool, new light box. Enjoy. :)

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