This week Matt Swaim of the Sonrise Morning Show, Sacred Heart Radio, and I chatted about artichokes. Part of the thistle family, an appropriate passage can be found in Gen 3:18 “Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field.”
In Bible times, the tender leaf and young, undeveloped stalk were eaten, as well as the “head” which is what we eat today. When we were in Italy, whole baby artichokes were everywhere on menus. I especially liked them grilled. Now in Bible days, they were probably grilled over an open fire.
Good for you!
Artichokes contain protein, fiber, potassium, iron and calcium. Plus they contain more antioxidants than red wine and chocolate! In a study done by the United States Department of Agriculture, artichokes rank as the number one vegetable in antioxidant count.
To cook, trim the little thorny tops off the leaves, then slice about an inch off the top of the artichoke and cut excess stem off. I like to cook them in water that has with some lemon and garlic and bay. Just make sure the artichoke stays under the water and you can do that by placing a saucer on top. Bring the water to a boil, lower the heat and cook until done – 30-45 minutes.
What about the “choke” that’s inside way down in the artichoke?
It’s the inedible fuzzy part that covers the delicious artichoke heart. Just scrape that out, and then you’ll see the “heart”, which you can cut up and enjoy.
LEMON BACON ARTICHOKE DIP FOR SUPERBOWL
No worries about preparing fresh artichokes. This recipe uses jarred! Make ahead and bake just before serving.
My friend, Carol, brought this to a party – it was everyone’s fave! Here’s my slight adaptation. This is sooo good.
6 thick bacon slices, chopped and sautéed – save 1 scant tablespoon drippings in pan – drain bacon on pepper towels
14 oz can water packed artichoke hearts, drained and chopped coarsely
1 teaspoon minced garlic or 2 cloves, minced
1 pound cream cheese, either reduced fat or regular
1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon each onion salt or onion powder and salt
Pepper to taste
2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 375. Spray a 2 quart baking dish.
Add artichokes and garlic to drippings and cook about a minute. Don’t let garlic burn. Meanwhile, beat cream cheese, sour cream and seasonings until smooth. Beat in lemon juice. Fold in artichoke mixture and HALF the bacon. Spoon into baking dish and sprinkle with rest of bacon and Parmesan cheese. Bake, uncovered, 25 minutes or so until golden brown on top. Serve with favorite dippers.
Triple Cheese Artichoke Dip
OK this is incredible and amazingly easy to make.
- 1 cup shredded extra sharp or regular Cheddar cheese
- 1 cup shredded Jarlsberg or Swiss cheese
- 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup real mayonnaise
- 1 small onion, finely chopped, a nice 1/2 cup or to taste
- 1 clove garlic, minced, a good teaspoon or so
- 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained, coarsely chopped
- 10-inch round of rye or sourdough bread
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the cheeses, mayonnaise, onion, garlic and artichokes, mix well. Slice off the top 1-inch of the loaf of bread. Pull the bread from the inside, leaving a sturdy 3/4-inch shell. Spoon the cheese mixture into the bread, and put the bread top back on. Wrap the loaf in foil, place on a baking sheet. Bake 75 minutes, or until hot and cheese has melted. Serve with additional cubed bread or crackers. Serves 6-8.