I'm really excited about artichokes. I had a single leaf back in July, and since then, I've made them three times. I think they're a lot of fun to eat, and I like that if you put the effort in, you're rewarded when you get to the amazing center (artichoke hearts! Who knew I would like this stuff?)
This is my favorite recipe that I've found, and I like that you don't need a dipping sauce. I made this once before with my friend Ken, and they turned out so phenomenal that we were all in shock. This time they were still great, but because we were rushing to get to the movie, we did not put the effort in that I did the first time.
So first you have to wash the artichokes, and then cut the tops of the leaves. Using kitchen scissors (or if you're like me and don't have any, regular scissors) you trim the tops of the leaves. I trim from the bottom up until I can't get my scissors between the leaves anymore, because they are so tightly packed. This makes them look nice! (and keeps you from getting stabbed by the pointy ends, which I've done)
Then you cut them in half and dig out the fuzzy inside bits with a spoon, then place them in a bowl filled with water and some lemon juice because they really do start browning RIGHT away.
Mix together the garlic, basil leaves, olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl. The recipe says mix until it becomes a paste, but the first time I made this I had to add a much higher quantity of everything BUT the olive oil to get it to thicken. This time I didn't do this, and I think the end result was less fantastic. Then you smother the chokes with the "paste," shoving bits of garlicy goodness down into the leaves. The more flavor you can infuse these with, the better!
Then you're supposed to put the chokes in a baking dish and add 1/2 cup of chicken stock. I went to the cupboard, and sure enough, I didn't have any chicken stock. So I did what any hungry person would do at this late stage in the process:
I handed Jeremy a can of Wegman's condensed chicken noodle soup and a strainer.
Using our makeshift chicken stock we baked the artichokes for 50 minutes (they weren't quite tender enough at 45 minutes). I really enjoyed them, because I think artichokes have a great taste on their own. Not sure how Jeremy felt about them. He's never had them before, and it took several demonstrations to show him how to eat them, but once he got the hang of it he finished his portion quickly.
I'm still infatuated with artichokes, so I'll be making them again soon. Next time I do though I'll make a few changes to improve the results:
- more lemon
- more garlic
- less olive oil (to make more of a paste than a runny liquid)
- use actual chicken stock instead of MacGyvering some out of condensed soup
- I'll use fresher artichokes (these were a week or two old)
All in all, I would give these a B or a B+, but the recipe itself I would give an A because I know that if we weren't rushed and actually had the ingredients they would have tasted phenomenal.