I am so lucky to have found a food buddy. If you have one, or want one, you know what this is. If you don’t, then you might just not be ‘food buddy material’. A FB is someone you can email or phone or randomly interrupt the flow of conversation with, in order to say something like, “I made a soufflé! It was awesome!”, and who will give you an excited response to that statement. For example… I emailed M, my FB, and, when thinking of things to add into the ‘things that are new with me’ part of the email, added “Oh! And I made artichokes for the first time this weekend, and they were tasty!”
If I had sent this random tidbit to almost any of my other friends, it is likely that they either would have made a general statement about their dislike of artichokes, or would have completely tuned out that one part of my email, and pretended it doesn’t exist at all.
M’s response to my email was this, and only this: “Stuffed Artichokes?!!!”
Well, no… but this did lead to me explaining my recipe and dip, and then asking for her explanation of how one stuffs a tiny porcupine-like vegetable thing, her explaining that it’s less of a hollow-out, and more of a stuff-things in amongst the spiky leaf things, and then both of us moving on to recipes we were planning to send each other that we had previously discussed.
See… Food Buddy. My other friends like to eat the food (though perhaps not the vegetables that look like green alien porcupines), but they don’t like to talk about it nearly as much as I do. That’s what a food buddy is for.
I know, all you non food-obsessed people are reading this in bafflement, wondering why on earth this type of conversation could possibly be interesting. All you food obsessed people are thinking of the people in your group of friends/family who would qualify as FBs. Oooor, you’re thinking, “Stuffed Artichokes?!!!”
Well, I don’t have the stuffed artichoke recipe yet, but I am going to give you the steamed artichoke recipe, though I use the term recipe loosely… there are alot of variables that you can make your own, and I mixed and matched through a few recipes to get my final recipe. I jumbled together both my dipping sauce and my artichokes from a recipe on the food network site and one on Simply Recipes. The Simply Recipes site gives great pictures of the steps to preparing and eating the artichoke as well, for those of you (like me) who had never eaten a steamed artichoke before. That site also shows you what the ‘choke’ looks like, and shows you how to eat the bit of the artichoke under the choke, which is very tasty.
1 lemon and 1 lime, sliced thin (or enough sliced citrus to coat the bottom of your steamer basket)
Fresh Herbs (I scattered whole mint, basil and parsley leaves on the bottom of my steamer basket, but that’s because we had those on-hand. Tarragon, Sage, thyme… anything that smells nice will work)
1 clove garlic, sliced thin (I’ll admit, I forgot this… but it would definitely add to the flavour of the artichoke, so add it, but if you forget, don’t stress, it’ll still taste good)
Put your bay leaf into the bottom of a pot and put in your steamer basket. Check to ensure that all your artichokes will fit into the steamer basket when it is in a pot that size. If not, shift to a wider based pot. Line your steamer basket with slices of your citrus fruit, garlic and the herbs you’ve chosen.
Place your artichokes stem-side up in the pot, and heat on the stove. At this point, it really depends on the size of your artichoke. Mine were tiny, a bit bigger than my fist, and at the half-hour mark, they were very definitely ready to eat. It could be more or less time for yours, depending on variables. You know they’re done when the base can be readily pierced by a knife, and the outer leaves can be easily removed.
The suggestions for dipping sauces that I came across include the following
Fruity extra virgin olive oil
I went with a version of a mayonnaise dip, and it is even less recipe-like than the previous. The quantity I made lasted for 5 artichokes worth of dipping, just to give you an idea.
The measuring spoon I used was a tablespoon. As in, the standard type of spoon used for eating soup or rice or whatever at the table, heaping.
2 spoons mayonnaise
2 spoons sour cream
About a spoonful (or 5 or 6 leaves, if it’s a big-leafed herb) of each of each type of fresh herb used in the steamer basket, chopped fine.
The zest of one lemon
A dash of balsamic vinegar
This dip was very tasty, though I found it kind of overwhelmed the taste of the artichoke. The artichoke itself had a great lemony flavour to it, though, being fairly small, didn’t have a whole lot of edible flesh on it. I have a feeling that this recipe might become a snack-with-movie type of thing at my house.