Cooking Tips and Questions - Intimidated by artichokes

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01-21-2011, 11:57 PM
It's entirely possible I've never eaten an artichoke in my life, but in my effort to expand my fruit and vegetable repertoire, I bought one and am going to cook it tomorrow. Yikes!

I've watched videos online, looked at websites, and searched past 3FC threads. I'm still kind of puzzled as to the best way for a newbie to approach this veggie.

Got any good artichoke tips to share? I'd love them!

01-22-2011, 12:15 AM
I love artichokes, but I buy artichoke hearts. My one attempt at cooking an artichoke was a disaster.

01-22-2011, 12:19 AM
I've never had the guts to tackle a whole artichoke. I've only ever bought the hearts. I don't eat them on their own but I love adding them to things (like stuffed chicken or pizza).

01-22-2011, 12:27 AM
mmmm i LOVE artichokes so much im excited for you to eat it lol. For me, I boil them about 20min until you can easily pull one of the leaves off. Then you hold the spiky end and dip the other in some low cal margarine or butter and scrape the meat off with your teeth. (I realize as i'm writing this i totally suck at explaining it haha.) The "heart" is the best part take all the fuzzy hair off it first before you eat it. and cut the stem down a little. Good luck!

01-22-2011, 07:19 AM
Another alternative you can dip the artichoke piece in lemon juice and crushed garlic

01-22-2011, 08:49 AM
Trim it with scissors, cut off the bottoms, stand them up in a pot with water to which lemon juice has been added, and steam them. The trick is not to overcook them.

I tried cooking them in a crockpot recently (if you Google, you'll probably find the method described well) but didn't time it right & overcooked them. When they're overcooked, they're not salvageable, unfortunately, just kind of pointless.

01-22-2011, 09:49 AM
Good tips, thanks! The dipping sauce is getting me a little - apparently, the tradition is some sort of mayo- or other cream-based sauce. I might try it sauceless. Since it's my first time eating them, I can't miss what I've never had. But the lemon juice/garlic idea is good, or I might try hummus.

I found another webpage last night, after I posted here. It has good pictures and very descriptive instructions:

One more question as I plan my dinner: How filling is an artichoke? How much other food do you usually eat when you have one?

I'll report back on my success or failure after dinner. :)

01-22-2011, 01:14 PM
Good for you, JenMusic.

Square your shoulders, look straight into the eye of those artichokes, with a calm expression, and plenty of recipes on hand, and you'll find that they'll back down.

If they feel someone is standing up to them, they'll be cowed into submission.

01-22-2011, 02:28 PM
To dip I like plain yogurt mixed with lots of Dijon mustard, or just Dijon on its own, or hot honey mustard. Scissors work well or you can just take a large serrated knife and saw off the top to eliminate the big spikes. Some are bred now to have minimal thorny ends so you may not even have to cut any off. As to the "how filling are they" question, I consider a large artichoke with a low cal dip to be a filling snack or mini meal. More filling than a single serving of let us say broccoli.

01-22-2011, 02:39 PM
Exactly, saef. I shall not be defeated by a tiny vegetable. "Once more into the breach!"

01-22-2011, 04:32 PM
I love artichokes...I use a serrated knife to cut off the top of the artichoke and most of the stem, sprinkle on about 1/2 tsp of kosher salt across the cut top, place in a freezer style ziplock with about 1/4 cup of water, seal almost all the way across (but leave a small hole for steam to escape, and microwave. Small artichokes, about 7 minutes...Large artichokes, about 12 min (until a leaf comes out easily)...but be careful of the steam ~

I just dip the ends of the leaves in tiny bits of kosher salt most of the time, or a bit of Ranch dressing powder mix added to fat free greek yogurt. I've never tried mustard...I may have to try that today - I just picked up some artichokes this morning :)

01-22-2011, 05:52 PM
I am now craving an artichoke....yummm! I've never had one with anything other than butter or plain. Lots of great ideas to try.

01-22-2011, 09:46 PM
Well . . .

I just finished the artichoke. I trimmed the top and the stem, and steamed/boiled it for about 30 minutes (I don't have a steam basket, so I guess the bottom part was boiled while the top was steamed - please be in awe of my cooking skills). I kept checking to see how easily a leaf pulled off, and that's how long it took.

It took me a bit to get the hang of scraping off the leaves. The first few leaves didn't have much "meat" on them, but after a while they started to have a bit more. I used Trader Joe's roasted garlic hummus as a dip and that was delicious. Good choice.

Toward the center, the leaves started to be slightly limp and not really worth working with, I felt. Plus I kept waiting for this infamous "choke" to show up. I ended up getting impatient and pulling off the last layer of leaves and finally found the choke. It came up quite easily - I was surprised how easily it came out.

The heart stumped me a bit, honestly. I couldn't really tell what was edible of what I had left. Everything, even the stem (which I trimmed and peeled)? Just some of it? I ended up eating as much as I could, and got a couple of woody feeling stem pieces, which I didn't eat.

Overall, I'm glad I tried it, but I don't know that I would put it on the regular rotation. It was kind of tasteless, apart from the hummus. :) It was kind of fun to eat. I like excuses for finger food.

I hope this thread helps some other people conquer the artichoke!