Mean, Green, Eating Machine


Author: Codi Hale

As I drove back down the coast this weekend, I stopped by the side of the road at a fruit and vegetable stand. I loaded up on locally grown and ridiculously cheap greens, which was awesome; but even more so, I bought some artichokes. You know, those funky leafy tear-drop shaped things you scrape with your teeth and (let’s be honest) use as an excuse to eat butter? Well, those are what inspires my blog post today!

First off, not many people know how to cook an artichoke to begin with so let’s learn the basics.

How to Cook an Artichoke

[taken from simplyrecipes.com]

1. [OPTIONAL] If the artichokes have little thorns on the end of the leaves, take a kitchen scissors and cut of the thorned tips of all of the leaves. This step is mostly for aesthetics as the thorns soften with cooking and pose no threat to the person eating the artichoke.

2. Slice about 3/4 inch to an inch off the tip of the artichoke.

3. Pull off any smaller leaves towards the base and on the stem.

4. Cut excess stem, leaving up to an inch on the artichoke. The stems tend to be more bitter than the rest of the artichoke, but some people like to eat them. Alternatively you can cut off the stems and peel the outside layers which is more fibrous and bitter and cook the stems along with the artichokes.

5. Rinse the artichokes in running cold water.

6. In a large pot, put a couple inches of water, a clove of garlic, a slice of lemon, and a bay leaf (this adds wonderful flavor to the artichokes). Insert a steaming basket. Add the artichokes. Cover. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 25 to 45 minutes or until the outer leaves can easily be pulled off. Note: artichokes can also be cooked in a pressure cooker (about 15-20 minutes cooking time). Cooking time depends on how large the artichoke is, the larger, the longer it takes to cook.

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Growing up, one of my favorite restaurants carried this delectable appetizer platter that included stuffed artichokes. Now, this is (sadly) not that exact recipe; but it looks good nonetheless! Try these Parmesan and Bread Crumb Stuffed Artichokes.

[taken form Martha Stewart, via yummly.com]

  • 5 large globe artichokes
  • 2 lemons, cut in half
  • 4 large onions, (2 1/2 pounds), sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch wedges
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup nicoise olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 6 anchovy fillets, minced to a paste (1 tablespoon)
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup Homemade Chicken Stock, or canned low-sodium chicken broth, skimmed of fat
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan, cheese
  1. Trim artichokes; snap off tough outer leaves. Cut off about top third of artichoke. Snip any leaf tips remaining below the cut with scissors. Trim stem so artichoke will stand upright. Trim base. Spread leaves open to gain easier access to choke. Using a melon baller, scoop out choke. Squeeze some lemon juice directly onto heart; squeeze juice from lemons into bowl of ice water; add lemon halves and artichoke while preparing the rest.
  2. In a 12-inch saute pan, cook onions and garlic in oil over medium heat, until tender and lightly caramelized, about 1 hour; let cool. Take two-thirds of onions, and coarsely chop; place in a bowl, and add breadcrumbs, olives, parsley, anchovies, and thyme. Season with salt and pepper; mix well.
  3. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Drain artichokes upside down on a paper towel; gently open leaves. Fill centers of artichokes with mixture; place small amounts in crevices of leaves. Place a string around outside of artichoke; tie snugly. Repeat with remaining artichokes.

Strew remaining onions on bottom of large Dutch oven. Fit in artichokes; add stock to bottom of pan. Sprinkle each artichoke with Parmesan. Cover; bake 30 minutes. Uncover; bake until golden and crusty on top and hearts are tender when pierced, about 10 minutes.

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Also a classic appetizer, this Spinach Artichoke dip is a crowd pleaser. Fantastic when served with artisan bread, multi-grain crackers or even pita chips.

[taken from saveur.com]

  • 5 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 10 oz. baby spinach
  • 1 lb. thawed frozen artichoke hearts
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 cup grated parmesan
  • 2⁄3 cup grated mozzarella
  • 1⁄3 cup cream cheese
  • 1⁄4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1⁄4 cup sour cream
  • 1⁄4 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 1⁄4 tsp. dried mustard powder
  • 1⁄4 tsp. Tabasco
  • 1⁄8 tsp. grated nutmeg
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Heat oven to 375°. Heat 1 tbsp. of the oil and 1 tbsp. of the butter in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Add spinach; cook, stirring, until wilted, about 3 minutes. Transfer spinach to a colander; let cool briefly. (Wipe out and reserve skillet.) Squeeze excess liquid from spinach and roughly chop; transfer to a bowl.

2. Return skillet to medium-high heat and heat 3 tbsp. of the oil. Add artichoke hearts; cook, stirring, until browned, about 12 minutes. Transfer to bowl of spinach.

3. Wipe out skillet; place over medium heat; add remaining 1 tbsp. of the oil and remaining 1 tbsp. of the butter and heat. Add onions; cook until soft, about 8 minutes. Add garlic; cook for 2 minutes more.

4. Transfer onion mixture to a food processor along with 3⁄4 cup of the parmesan, mozzarella, cream cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon zest, mustard powder, Tabasco, and nutmeg. Process until smooth.

5. Fold cheese mixture into spinach and artichokes, season with salt and pepper to taste, and transfer to a greased baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining 1⁄4 cup of parmesan; bake until golden brown and bubbling, about 30 minutes.

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For all you artichoke lovers out there, we know the big secret about these guys; we know where the good stuff is. Right in the heart! The tender and extraordinarily unique flavor of the middle of the artichoke is amazing, and goes great with other dishes or even by themselves.

NOTE: This recipe calls for canned, jarred or frozen artichoke hearts but I challenge you to take it fresh from the source with your very own hands!

Marinated Artichoke Hearts 

[taken from saveur.com]

1  9-oz. box frozen artichoke hearts,
thawed
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1. Rinse artichoke hearts under cold water. Combine artichokes, oil, salt, thyme, oregano, and chile flakes in a 1-qt. saucepan set over medium-low heat. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the flavors meld, 10 minutes.

2. Let cool to room temperature and stir in lemon juice. Serve or refrigerate in a covered container for up to 1 week.

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Lastly, let’s test a recipe that includes artichoke flavor as the main component of the dish. This Chicken Artichoke Pasta looks like a good place to start.

[taken from tasteofhome.com]

  • 6 ounces uncooked fettuccine
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
  • 3 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can (14 ounces) water-packed artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained and halved
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup white wine or additional reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon shredded Parmesan cheese
  1. Cook fettuccine according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, cook chicken in 2 teaspoons oil over medium heat until no longer pink. Remove and keep warm.
  2. In the same skillet, cook and stir broccoli in remaining oil for 2 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms, tomatoes and garlic; cook 2 minutes longer. Add the artichokes, salt and oregano; heat through.
  3. Combine the flour with broth and wine or additional broth until smooth; stir into the pan. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Add parsley and reserved chicken.
  4. Drain fettuccine; add to chicken mixture and toss to coat. Sprinkle with cheese.

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Have a great week guys!

Remember:  “Health and cheerfulness naturally beget each other.”  – J. Addison