Check out these wonderful artichokes from our very own front yard veggie patch! This year I have a lot more veggie patch than before, and so in the middle of winter, on a whim, I planted some artichokes. Unbeknownst to me, it looks like I planted two different varieties. See how some are more open and spikey, and the others are more rounded and purpley?
Meow! While I was doing my artichoke photo shoot, little Yummers Potatoes was wondering what I was up to. Yummers loves him some green veggies, so he was probably investigating and trying to decide if he also liked artichokes (answer: not too exciting).
I let a couple of them get really huge and picked the others at a more medium size. I think I still have about 5 little tiny ones out there on the plants, that I'll let grow a bit more. I've never actually been a huge artichoke fan, but this season I discovered about making artichoke hearts, and that has been awesome. Just like I learned from my cookbooks, I shuck off all the tough outer leaves, trim the dark green bits from the base, cut them in half and scoop out the choke... then boil in lemony water for 5-10 minutes. MmMmMm! All the prep takes a while, but as long as you've got some Antiques Roadshow or some French Open to watch, it's not a problem.
Here's what I did with all those artichoke hearts: "Warm Chickpea Salad with Artichokes and Sun-dried Tomatoes" from "Voluptuous Vegan." Wow, what a delicious summery dinner. Chock full of flavor - aside from the obvious ingredients, the salad also had some sauteed garlic and onions and celery, plus a lemony-rosemary-olive oil dressing. It was filling but light, subtle but unusual and interesting flavors. I'll definitely make it again, when I'm in the mood to spend a while preparing artichoke hearts!