The Prickliest of the Vegetables, but it’s got Layers, like an Onion… or an Ogre


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.

Steamed Artichokes

Ingredients (comments)

Artichokes (I made enough for everyone to have one… and by ‘everyone’, I mean, everyone living in my house… so, 5)

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)

Bay Leaf

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)

Instructions:

Cut the top half-inch or so of your artichoke off, and cut off the tips of all your leaves.  Cutting off the tips of the leaves is more aesthetic than anything, because the prickly bits stop being prickly once you steam it.  Cut off the stem, and pull off any small or not-nice looking leaves near the stem.  Rub some lemon over all the parts that you cut, to prevent it from turning black at those points during the steaming process.

my pretty artichokes, after they got all cut up. If you want to see the process to get to here, check out the Simply Recipes Site

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. 

herbs and citrus into the steamer basket

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.

stem-side up in the pot... notice that I've changed pots since the last photo... I underestimated the space that 5 artichokes take up

Dipping Sauce

The suggestions for dipping sauces that I came across include the following

Mayonnaise dip

Fruity extra virgin olive oil

Melted butter

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.

It's kind of like chips and dip, only with more fibre...

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17 Comments

  1. I am intrigued by the stuffed artichokes too! Do you think you’ll have the recipe eventually? I will be checking back!

    Love your food buddy explanation. I don’t really have a food buddy, unless you count my mom. I make steamed artichokes all the time, but I’ll have to try your recipe next time–sounds yummy!

  2. TheIdiotSpeaketh

     /  May 18, 2011

    I need a Skittles buddy. Someone I can call up in the middle of the night and confess I fell off the wagon to…… 🙂

    • Midnight snackers anonymous? or just skittles anonymous 🙂

    • Using that logic, I need a Skittles buddy, a Sour Patch Kid buddy, a Swedish Fish buddy, a Slim Jim buddy and a Diet Mountain Dew buddy. More likely, I just need a doctor.

      • lol… or a ‘If you slip into a sugar coma, i’ll call the ambulance’ buddy! Kind of like a blood pact, you will share a bond of love-of-sugar, and be there for each other should the sugar ever overcome you 🙂 I think I might need a sugar-coma-buddy as well!

  3. Your food buddy sounds like my kind of FB…stuffed artichokes are THE best. Your recipe looks tasty too and they came out very pretty.

    PS Still working on my Versatile Blogger post. RL has been busy, to say the least. 🙂

  4. Love this recipe! I’ve steamed artichokes for years but never with as much thought. And yes, I agree, we all need a good food buddy. Most of the time it’s my mom, she taught me how to cook and is amazing. Everyone once in a while I surprise her – like last summer when I grilled Avocados!

    • grilled avocados… that sounds so tasty! I had Avocado Fries in Montreal (battered and fried avocado), they were the most amazing thing, and we ended up going back to that restaurant for lunch for our entire trip.

  5. I gush about food all the time, and Mr B and 90% of my co-workers just tune me out. The other two co-workers gush right bach, though, until we successfully make ourselves desperately hungry before lunchtime comparing lentil soups. Those kinds of friends get you through dinner parties after the souffle falls or dessert burns.

    For stuffed artichokes, check out the two fat ladies’ version. It’s brilliant.

  6. I admit fully to being fairly obsessed with food. Luckily my husband and my best friend suffer from a similar affliction so I am able to talk about it all the time. Can’t beat a guy who loves the food network as much as you do!

    Honestly, though, I am not a lover of artichokes. Not because of their appearance, please, I am just not a fan of the way they taste. I do adore artichoke dip, however, so I wonder if I should try them again in another form. Perhaps the other times they just weren’t prepared properly?

    @koshercorvd, I usually recommend Two Fat Ladies for every recipe. Best cooking show ever.

    • I found that they don’t taste particularly strong… so they really absorbed the lemon flavor from steaming. Artichoke dip, though, is amazing… and I’ve tried doing baked canned artichokes before as well, and was a big fan of that.

  7. Food buddy? I have one but had never labeled the friendship. You’re so right!

    • I only noticed it when i realised that we had carried on a reply-email conversation nearly 10 emails long that had started off about artichokes and ended up on salmon recipes. I couldn’t imagine most of my other friends talking about this, ever.

  8. Those artichokes look fab! I’ve only tried them once, because I find them intimidating. But your recipe may be just the shot of confidence I need to cook up a passle! (mess? bunch? not sure how artichokes are grouped)

    • a spike of artichokes? maybe? I’ve always found the grouping for crows to be terribly ominous – a murder of crows – and I feel like a grouping of artichokes would also be vaguely threatening.
      I was kind of intimidated by cooking artichokes, but it was really easy and required no unusual cooking implements.

  9. Karl Azevedo

     /  November 13, 2012

    Olive oil is great for any recipe but it is also a good source of phytochemicals and vitamins.*

    Our favorite online site
    http://www.melatoninfaq.com/melatonin-for-children/

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