So, artichokes were on sale at the supermarket this week. And I haven’t had an artichoke in FOREVER. Three came home with me, nestled in-between my standard grocery fare of apples and pears and chicken breast and milk.
Artichokes are good for all sorts of things, you know. Especially if you have kids. They don’t really LOOK edible so much as they look like little round pissed-off armadillos.
And then there’s the inevitable conversation:
“What do they taste like?”
“They taste like artichokes.”
I tried to come up with something to compare it to, and failed. It tastes like an artichoke.
Artichokes are also good as a vehicle for butter. All of the world’s finest foods are merely settings for butter, bacon, or chocolate, I am convinced. (Seriously, think about it. Escargot? I don’t know who came up with the idea, or why, but it’s good because it’s basically just solid lumps of garlic butter. And all that cholesterol offsets the knowledge that you’re eating snails.)
I was looking forward to the butter, I think. Heck, I may not even LIKE artichokes. But I sure do like butter.
Given that it had been years since I last cooked an artichoke, I looked up the preparation online to refresh my memory. Ah, yes. Cut the stem, trim the top, cut the pokey bits off of the leaves. Right. Steamer insert, 35 minutes, okay, got it. What’s this? The recipe I’d grabbed had a note on the bottom that you could dip the leaves in melted butter or mayonnaise mixed with a bit of balsamic vinegar.
Maybe this is a common thing and I’m just now discovering it like a complete moron, and I’m all “You will NEVER BELIEVE THIS, but just now I picked up a little talking box and spoke with someone on ANOTHER talking box and we WEREN’T EVEN IN THE SAME ROOM!” And here I am, all excited, and you are edging towards the door. That may be, I don’t know. If so, forgive me. I am not up on my artichoke cuisine.
ANYWAY, I made the artichokes and I tried the balsamic mayo thing and it was AMAZING. Once again, the taste of the artichoke itself is almost beside the point. For a nanosecond I wondered if the mayo mixture was healthier than melted butter, and then I slapped myself as I remembered that mayo is not exactly a health food. But, um, that quarter-ounce of balsamic vinegar was really good for me. (Also for Chickadee. Monkey was having none of the alien vegetable or its delicious dipping sauce, however.)
Of course, as I made my way down to the choke on my second one (I was finishing Chickadee’s), I got lazy. Scraping the choke out of the first one had gotten little hairy bits of vegetable matter all over the table. I could probably just turn that baby over and scoop out the GOOD flesh as I went along, leaving the rest on the plate. Right?
Sure. Mostly. Nevermind the big bite of choke I got when I wasn’t paying attention.
I had to brush my teeth twice, just to get all the little nasty fibrous bits out from between my teeth.
Balsamic mayo: Yes!
Hairy teeth: No!