Monday, January 17, 2011

Artichokes with garlic butter

I want to tell you a story.  This is a story about a boy, a girl, and artichokes.

Way back in the day when Jon and I were just roommates, we used to hang out in front of the TV on Sunday nights, eating our dinner.  Since we were just friends we didn't always eat the same thing.  One of these Sundays Jon decided to buy, steam and eat some artichokes.  When he returned from the store I looked at his purchase with uncertainty.  He had a bag with this green, sharp plant.  I asked him what it was and he announced that they were artichokes.  I asked him what an artichoke was (English is my second language, leave me alone).  He explained that it was a cactus.  Then I asked him what he intended to do with this 'cactus.'  And he told me that he was going to eat it.  I was outraged.

An hour or so later Jon steamed his artichoke, melted the butter, and set up the whole weird scene on the coffee table in front of him.  We turned on the Simpsons.  I sat there, staring at Jon, wondering what he was going to do with the cactus.  That's when Jon ripped off a leaf, dipped it in the butter, and bit off the end.


I stopped watching TV and watched this weird American creature eating a cactus.

Jon continued, eating a little more of the cactus as the leaves got closer to the middle (or the heart) of the artichoke.

Freakin' weirdo.

But he had my interest.  I didn't eat the artichoke then nor the second time he had one.  But by the time we decided to start dating, I decided to give the cactus a try.

Boy, am I glad I did!  They are amazing!

Since then we've altered the recipe a bit (we added garlic to the butter) and perfected our cooking methods.  But the cactus (I can never remember to say artichoke) is still among our favorite, easy and somewhat healthy meals (hey, at least it's a vegetable).

I'm going to start by saying that if you are interested in being around people later on or have any intention of being intimate with your partner, do not make this.  However, if you plan to keep vampires away, by all means, make this.


These are artichokes.


Hello, gorgeous.  I love thee.

This is my husband, cutting the stems off the artichokes.


Hello, handsome.

Now that we've all met, let's get right into it.

What you'll need
  • 4 artichokes
  • Garlic (however much you want)
  • Butter (however much you want, usually about 1/2 cup)
Start by cleaning up the artichokes.  Cut off the stems (shown above), remove a couple of the outside leaves,


and cut off the top.


Rinse the artichokes.


Then stick them in a rather large pot of boiling water to steam (you'll need a steamer insert) for about 45 minutes to an hour.


While these are steaming, you can prepare the butter and garlic.  This is a tough one.  Chop or press the garlic and put in a large amount of butter.


Phew.  That was hard.  I think I need a break.  And a glass of wine.

If you're like me and the sight of 1/2 cup of butter makes you have images of your husband dying a terrible death by high cholesterol, you can substitute regular butter with the 65% vegetable oil, heart-healthy stuff.  We actually prefer it because it's saltier. And we love salt.

To finish, just zap the whole thing in the microwave at 50% power level for about 1 minute.  I'd save this part until the artichokes are almost ready.


Now check the artichokes.


You'll know they're ready when you can easily insert the tip of a sharp knife into the heart (where you cut off the stem) of the artichoke.  It should feel super soft.  These are perfect.

Grab the artichokes and the butter and set up shop in front of the TV (not much has changed).


Now I'll teach you about eating an artichoke.

Rip off the leaf and dip it in the garlic butter.


Insert the end of the leaf into mouth.


Then use your teeth to scrape the soft part of the leaf (only eat as far as the soft part goes), then throw out the rest.


Repeat.

When you get toward the end,


be careful not to eat any of the spiky stuff.  Remove the rest of the leaves and use a spoon to clean up the heart.


Use the spoon to make a circle around the edges.


Throw out all the spiky, icky stuff.


This is the best part.  Cut this up into pieces, dip into lots of butter and enjoy.


The end result should look something like this.


And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you eat a cactus.

11 comments:

  1. I love artichokes. Lovely photos!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I LOVE artichokes! The worst part about them is that they take so long to steam.

    You know the only thing that makes the garlic butter even better? Lemon juice. SO GOOD.

    I have a sudden urge to go buy some artichokes.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Love it! I steam my artichokes in the microwave for about 10 minutes so that I can enjoy it sooner! I grew up dipping mine in mayo. I'm going to have to try this garlic butter next time.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love love love artichokes, but haven't ever thought to make them myself. It seems ridiculously easy, and there's nothing better than garlic and butter. Yum!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I am impressed. I love artichokes in restaurants but am super scared of them in my kitchen. Thanks for providing the step by step!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Omygoodness, thanku for this!! Totally had me giggling. I never, ever tried a cactus. They were always a lil on the weirdo side of the vegtable family, but thanks to u, I am SO going to try one!! You're awesome:)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks for joining Mailbox Monday- I'm a confirmed email subscriber and GFC follower!

    www.mamalovesherbargains.com

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hmmm, it looks good when you put it like that! And I KNOW how you feel being past the due date, but I hope that Peanut comes SOON!!! I can't wait to see pictures of her!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I love artichokes! Your blog is lovely, and I really enjoyed reading your love story over on Katie's blog!

    Liesl :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Omygoodness, thanku for this!! Totally had me giggling. I never, ever tried a cactus. They were always a lil on the weirdo side of the vegtable family, but thanks to u, I am SO going to try one!! You're awesome:)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Love it! I steam my artichokes in the microwave for about 10 minutes so that I can enjoy it sooner! I grew up dipping mine in mayo. I'm going to have to try this garlic butter next time.

    ReplyDelete

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