Artichokes are a fascinating item. They are a member of the Asteraceae family along with thistles, sunflowers, asters, and gerber daisies and it is actually the flower of the plant that you are eating. Since I now live in a zone 8 climate, I can't wait to grow some, they actually get really gorgeous when you let them bloom:
Source: Wikimedia commons.
I have to admit that before today, I'd never had one, other than in dips and canned ones in salads, but as of tonight I am in instant convert. Blatantly ripping off of Ms. T, I used this recipe and roasted some artichokes this very evening. (I put them directly in the oven with the foil on, but I should have put them in a dish because they dripped all over my brand new oven and caused the whole place to be smoky.)
Ugh these granite counter tops are ugly.
The whole meal was very filling, but I have to admit I started with some impressively large artichokes, so you might need more than one per person. Each one of mine was about the size of a softball. Zach described eating them as being "like the crab legs of vegetables." In a way they really are like eating crab legs. Time consuming, messy and they do leave a lot of "bones". But, served with a side of walnut quinoa (recipe follows) and garlic butter to dip, my first artichoke experience won't be my last!
You can really only eat the bottom of each section and then the center. Be sure to cut off more of the tips toward the center than I did, it got a little sharp in there.
Mr. Z chowing down on his artichoke and quinoa.
And now for the Quinoa Recipe, which is very easy and fast becoming my favorite side dish:
1 1/2 c. Quinoa (Red is fine, so is white)
2 c. Broth
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 c. walnuts. chopped
butter or olive oil
Sautee the onion in some butter or olive oil. Near the end add the walnuts and toast them. Turn up the heat and add the broth. Bring it to a boil and add the previously rinsed quinoa. Cook according to package directions, approximately 15 minutes. Serve and Enjoy!