Garden Fresh Artichokes

Colby's First Dau 7945A year ago, my son Colby and I went shopping for our summer garden plants.  I turned my back for a second (it seemed) and as I went to place some herb selections in the cart, a pumpkin and an artichoke plant had been settled in to the cart, with a beaming and a grinning 6 year old standing proudly next to them.  “Mom, I want to grow these this year”. They weren’t on the list, but did make it into the car that morning as I couldn’t say no the passion and conviction he had around pumpkins and artichokes, despite him not having heard of artichokes before that day.

The pumpkin plant prospered and Colby had a field day checking on the progress of his planted seedlings.  What a happy surprise when he realized he had 5 growing pumpkins.  He wanted nothing to do with pruning any of them out so the others could get bigger.  And as usual, I’m happy I went with the Colby flow, as we harvested beautiful, bigger than large bowling ball pumpkins just in time for Halloween.  One of the conscious parenting moments I’ve worked on as a working mom is really picking and choosing my battles with my son.  With anything crafty, creative or outdoorsy he normally convinces me and both of us are delighted with the outcome in most cases.  The seeds from the pumpkins were roasted and toasted and were a delicious fall snack for several weeks.

Colby's First Dau 19647

We also nurtured the artichoke plant, which seemed to be struggling and grew quite slowly despite being fed and watered regularly.  Until this year that is, when I arrived home from work one night and Colby ran up to greet me with a huge smile on his face saying, “Mom, we have artichokes growing”.  We hurried down to the garden and sure as day, we had one good sized artichoke in the center of the plant, surrounded by two younger buds.  Another week passed and there appeared 4 more artichokes.

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It was time to harvest them before they turned to flowers (artichoke flowers are quite lovely in and of themselves).  Years ago one of my college roommates from California had turned me on to artichokes and shared the simplest artichoke recipe for cooking a basic artichoke.  I have used this recipe since and it never fails to deliver to our table a mouth watering artichoke appetizer we can’t get enough of.

We enjoyed them on the terrace al fresco and they were amazing.  I love the inspiration Colby infuses into my life and the passion he exhibits with everything he does.  I doubt I would have planted artichokes and find myself looking forward to an abundance of them from that plant he nurtured along to its bearing fruit age.   I look at that handsome smile as he nibbles on his first home grown artichoke (which he has all to himself of course) which brings pure joy to my heart, much as the freshness of the artichokes brings a savory moment to my taste buds.

Artichokes al fresco    colby & artichokes


Garden Fresh Artichokes

Ingredients:

Artichokes

Olive oil, 1 teaspoon per artichoke

Garlic, minced

Lemon juice, fresh

Lemon slices

White wine

Salt & pepper

Chopped parsley

Melted butter (optional to add chopped chives or herb of your choice)

chives - Copy

Directions:

Using a serrated knife, cut the stem off the artichoke (the artichoke should be flat so it sits level in the pot).  Wash and drain the artichokes.  Cut the pointed tips off the artichoke leaves using kitchen scissors.

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Fill the base of your steamer with enough water to reach the bottom of the steamer basket and bring to a boil.  Place the artichokes in the steamer basket and drizzle with the olive oil.  Rub the garlic over the tops of the artichokes then drizzle with the lemon juice*.  Place lemon slices over the artichokes or around them in the steamer.  Liberally drizzle the white wine over the artichokes.

IMG_1078

Place the steamer basket over the boiling water, turn heat down to medium low, cover and simmer until done (depending on the size of the artichokes, can take 30-60 minutes).  Use kitchen tongs to pull a leave off the base of the artichoke, if the leave pulls out easily, the artichokes are ready to eat.

Plate the artichokes, salt and pepper to taste.  Add fresh parsley if desired and serve with the melted butter.

Artichoke Lentil Burger

* I use fresh lemons and sometimes will replace with orange juice, which makes the artichokes sweeter.  We love lemon and use it quite liberally!  We rarely use butter as the olive oil permeates through the artichoke and moistens the artichoke heart nicely, giving it a butter-like flavor.


Garden Fresh Artichokes (pictureless version)


Ingredients:

Artichokes

Olive oil, 1 teaspoon per artichoke

Garlic, minced

Lemon juice, fresh

Lemon slices

White wine

Salt & pepper

Chopped parsley

Melted butter (optional to add chopped chives or herb of your choice)

Directions:

Using a serrated knife, cut the stem off the artichoke (the artichoke should be flat so it sits level in the pot).  Wash and drain the artichokes.  Cut the pointed tips off the artichoke leaves using kitchen scissors.  Fill the base of your steamer with enough water to reach the bottom of the steamer basket and bring to a boil.  Place the artichokes in the steamer basket and drizzle with the olive oil.  Rub the garlic over the tops of the artichokes then drizzle with the lemon juice*.  Place lemon slices over the artichokes or around them in the steamer.  Liberally drizzle the white wine over the artichokes.  Place the steamer basket over the boiling water, turn heat down to medium low, cover and simmer until done (depending on the size of the artichokes, can take 30-60 minutes).  Use kitchen tongs to pull a leave off the artichoke, if the leave pulls out easily, the artichokes are ready to eat.  Plate the artichokes, salt and pepper to taste.  Add fresh parsley if desired and serve with the melted butter.

* I use fresh lemons and sometimes will replace with orange juice, which makes the artichokes sweeter.  We love lemon and use it quite liberally!

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