Food Challenge: Artichokes

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Food Challenge:  ArtichokesAfter coming home from the commissary with an armful of fresh artichokes, I saw a terrified look on my very picky husband’s face. He said, “You’re not going to make me eat that are you?” The answer: yes, yes I was.

Now, I like to cook and I have been cooking for years.  Not much in the kitchen intimidates me, but I will admit, I was intimidated.  So, I decided to go with a couple basic recipes that use fresh artichokes, assuming that there are others who are like me thinking, ‘What the heck do I do with this overgrown thistle?’

How to prepare Artichokes

I started by just boiling the artichokes (to do so, I had to watch a how-to video, which I have never needed to do for any other vegetable).  Every source I checked went through the whole process and then warned to remove the fuzzy choke but be careful not destroy the heart. This was difficult since they are right next to each other.  I destroyed two hearts before getting it figured out - which just took a lot of patience and a little practice using a spoon to separate the choke from the rest of the artichoke. Once that massacre was done, I started on my recipes.

With varying degrees of success, I now realize that I was a bit ambitious with my first InDependent food challenge.  I can honestly say that I had never prepared an artichoke before this. After my experiences, I have to say it was just a lot of work for, in my opinion, a small reward – I will just buy the jarred hearts (creepy) or maybe make a large batch at once and freeze them. The summary of my experience with this challenging veggie? Artichokes: they’re intimidating for a reason. However, with a little patience, practice, and a bit of time, they do turn out quite tasty!

Did you take on the artichoke challenge?  Show us what you made!  #IDfoodchallenge

Grilled Artichokes with Herb Butter Dipping Sauce
Grilled Artichokes
with Herb Butter Dipping Sauce

via Big Red Clifford

This is just a basic grilled artichoke recipe with an amazing marinade.  However, instead of using the spicy aioli that they use, I just did a simple herb butter sauce for dipping.  It can be a healthy snack, appetizer, or side dish.  I changed up the marinade just a bit from the original.

  • Boiled artichoke, cut in half
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • Cayenne pepper to taste
  • ½ tablespoon oregano
  • about 1 tablespoon Lawry’s seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic

Spoon or brush the marinade on the cut side of the artichoke.  Turn face down on a flat pan over med-high heat until slightly browned. Add marinade to outside as well.

  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (or seasoning of your choice)

Mix together.  Then dip roasted artichoke leaves and use your teeth to scrape off the meat under the leaf.

Pan Seared Artichoke and Tomato
Pan Seared Artichoke and Tomato Sandwich

InDependent Original

After my husband’s less than enthusiastic response to the artichokes, I decided to spare him from the next recipe and make it for myself for lunch.  I was inspired to try this after finding a picture of the finished product on several blogs that had taken it out of Vegan Yum Yum by Lauren Ulm.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the actual recipe anywhere online so just sort of made something up with what info I could find.  As far as the messiness to deliciousness factor, both were extremely high!

  • whole wheat Kaiser roll
  • about 3 leaves fresh basil
  • ½ teaspoon rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • tomato, sliced
  • handful of baby spinach
  • ¼ c. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic
  • boiled artichoke
  • mozzarella cheese (optional)

In a small saucepan, heat balsamic vinegar for five minutes over medium heat until it reduces by about half and becomes slightly thick.  Set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a medium sized pan over medium heat.  Add rosemary and garlic and sauté for about two minutes. Add tomatoes and artichoke hearts and cook until slightly browned. Add basil and baby spinach and cook until just slightly wilted. Remove from heat.

Put tomato and artichoke mixture on warmed Kaiser roll (I baked mine in the oven for about five minutes until it was slightly crunchy).  Drizzle balsamic reduction over sandwich.  Add mozzarella cheese if desired.  Grab a napkin (or 5) and enjoy!

Artichoke and Watercress Detox Soup
Artichoke and Watercress Detox Soup

via Daily Perricone

For my last recipe, I was intrigued by this soup recipe that I found on Pinterest (seriously, I wouldn’t know what to cook without this site). I noticed that this recipe called for jarred artichoke hearts rather than fresh.  After being terrified of ruining the hearts (again) through my previous preparations I was thrilled to not have to go through that process and yet still make something healthy! I couldn’t find any watercress but used arugula as a sub. In the end it was good, very earthy, but not unexpected for a detox soup.

Serve with salmon the night before an event to reduce fluid retention and brighten your skin.