Fitness Minutes: (19,022)
352 10/1/13 12:34 P
artichokes are my favorite. And, a healthy indulgence
I steam them whole. A pressure cooker makes it faster. I serve with some light mayo w/ a bit of curry powder & salt. I love them enough to eat them plain
You can also buy them canned (great on pizza and in pastas and salads). There are also marinated artichokes sold in jars. Very expensive, lots of fat, and not usually good quality oils so I pass on these or make my own from canned.
I also really like fennel. I buy a bulb in the winter when I'm tired of what's available for fresh veggies. I slice it really thin and put it in a green salad. A bulb lasts us for almost a week of green salads and makes it more interesting.
Artichokes: I just trim the end of the stem off (just the tip of the stem), wash them thoroughly and place them, still wet, in aluminum foil. Bake at about 400 degrees until done (leaves will easily come off when pulled). After they are done, you have to kind of scrape the meat off of the leaves with your teeth. When you get done with the leaves, you eat the heart (which is the part attached to the stem, just underneath a sort of grainy layer that doesn't taste very good and which needs scraped off). The stem is also edible, if a bit woody. I like to dip my artichokes in warm lemon juice with just a little butter (I actually use Brummel and Brown, which is a kind of margarine made with yogurt instead of real butter) in it. Way back when I was a kid, we used to dip our artichokes in mayonnaise, but I've given up this habit in favor of the healthier lemon juice. Artichokes are very nice tasting. They can cause some people to end up with gas.
Instead of baking, you can also boil them. Add a touch of lemon juice to the water to prevent browning. You have to kind of weigh them down or they will float. I use a steamer basket, placed upside down over them, to accomplish this task. They smell a bit while they are boiling. It's not unpleasant (to me at least), but you can tell/smell that you are cooking artichokes.
Fennel can be used in salads, especially good when lightly roasted. It has a kind of licorice flavor - not my favourite, but it's nice occasionally for something different.
Celery root is nice, it does taste rather like celery. I don't often use it on its own, but will use it with other root vegetables. So, perhaps a soup with potatoes and celery root. Or a baked assorted roots including potatoes, celery root, parsnips, carrots, etc. Can also be used to vary the roots in a gratin or similar dishes. Best used with potatoes and milder flavored roots, because I think by itself the flavour might be a bit strong. Maybe try mashed rutabaga, potato and celery root? Lots of possibilities. Very tough, a bit of a hassle to defur and cut.
Artichokes I don't know much about, a bit expensive for me to use often. I love artichoke hearts in various pasta dishes. Wonderful flavor, strange rush of sweetness after you eat them. Lots of Italian recipes that use them well. I would keep it simple with them - pair with other vegetables such as tomatoes but just drizzle some oil and don't use sauce - let the artichokes be the star.
Only tried the full artichoke once. Seems like a lot of work. But kind of fun. You have to scrape the meat off the leaves with your teeth.
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