A Is For Artichokes
Artichokes are one of those foods that I can recognize and have tried at restaurants, but actually know very little about. Whenever shopping in the produce section, I always glance at these odd looking greens and murmur to myself something along the lines of “I think that thing is an artichoke…” and I will usually follow that statement with something about how I will one day attempt to use this funny vegetable in a dish… Well folks, today is the day that I will fulfill that half hearted dream!! In honor of starting this challenge off right, I decided to finally purchase an artichoke and to see how it tastes first hand.
|My new artichoke!|
The only time I can recall actually eating this ingredient, was in a dip from Apple Bees. It was pretty good, so I think I might try and make a dip out of this little guy. The problem is… Every recipe that I found seemed SUPER unhealthy, and nobody ever included the nutritional facts… As amazing as some of those dips may have sounded, I think I might have to try and make my own healthy master piece to enjoy. So… here… we… go!!
And I’m back. After doing some research about this oddity and getting some hands on experience, the most critical point that I took away from the experience is that it is more trouble than what it’s worth. If I ever do decide to try again, I will be sure to just buy a bag of artichoke hearts. From my understanding, an artichoke is essentially an over sized thistle flower that is still in its bud form. The good stuff, the artichoke heart, is located underneath this undeveloped flower. Cooking it wasn’t too big of a deal, but getting to the good part was a bit of a pain and there wasn’t a whole lot there to really enjoy. I have read online that you can eat the leaves, but all you are really doing is nibbling on the part of the heart that is attached to the leaf when you pull it away from the plant. If you do plan on using it, I would recommend just cutting the leaves off, taking the choke out and using only the heart.
I wasn’t too fond of my dip that I made from the artichoke, thankfully I made it at my aunt’s house. They loved my dip, so it was a win-win in my book. I could post the recipe, but I really didn’t think it was blog worthy. I ended up roasting the artichoke, a red onion and 7 cloves of garlic until they were nice and soft. I then tossed the veggies in a blender with some Greek yogurt, 4 oz of low fat cream cheese, some feta and parmesan cheese and blended it all up. It wouldn’t blend very well at first, so I added in a splash of water and some milk. It helped get things moving… but then it was pretty soupy. So I threw it back into the oven and let it thicken up some. The oven idea worked great, it turned out rich and creamy after about 10 minutes of baking.
If I want a healthy dip, I’m just going to grab some spinach and skip out on the artichoke. I’m glad I finally gave it a shot, but I don’t plan on cooking with them again anytime soon! The ingredient of the day, for tomorrow, will be Basil! Check back here tomorrow to see what you have been missing out on.