Artichokes 411

Fresh artichokes are so tasty but can be a little intimidating to cook with. Have no fear! The artichoke is easy to prepare as long as you know how to go about it. We are showing you the easiest ways to get an artichoke ready for any cooking method. Steam, boil, grill and getting all the way down to the heart. Included is a recipe for Spinach and Artichoke Dip utilizing the artichoke heart method! What you’ll need

Artichokes

Lemons

Serrated knife

Cutting board

Kitchen Shears

Paring knife

Serrated spoon or regular spoon

Medium bowl

Steam and Boil

First, you need a large bowl of cold water with half a lemon squeezed into it. This will prevent your artichokes from oxidizing and turning brown. Now you begin by clipping off the tips or thorns of the petals. Next, with a serrated knife, cut about 3/4 inch of the top of the artichoke. Cut off excess stem if there is any and discard all scraps. Immediately after cutting, place artichokes in lemon water while cutting the remaining artichokes. Once all artichokes are cut, rinse in cold running water and open up the petals so the water can get through more easily. Now you are ready to steam or boil!

Grill

For grilling, you start by doing the same method as steaming and boiling. Don’t forget your lemon water! After you completed those steps, you cut the artichoke in half lengthwise and scoop out the “choke” on each half with a spoon or serrated spoon. This is the fuzzy and thorny part of the artichoke that will be extremely uncomfortable if you eat it. So don’t leave it in there 😉 Remember to dip your artichokes in the lemon water while handling to prevent from oxidizing. Now you are ready to grill!

Getting To The Heart

First, you begin by preparing your lemon water bowl. Have additional lemon halves ready to squeeze onto artichokes while handling. Rinse under cold running water and open up the petals so the water can get through more easily. With kitchen shears, clip off the thorns of the petals. Now, cut about an inch off the top of the artichoke using a serrated knife. Cut off excess stem if there is any and trim off the green, tough part leaving a pale-green colored stem. Peel about 5 layers of leaves* off the artichoke until you have reached the more delicate leaves that are pale green in color. With a serrated knife, slice off the crown where the white and green part meets. Remove the choke with a spoon and rub with lemon juice. Using a paring knife, trip off any remaining leaves around the edge of the heart. Keep in lemon water until ready to use!

*You can save the leaves, steam and eat them with aioli

Fresh Spinach and Artichoke Dip

1 tsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 C fresh spinach, chopped
1 C chopped fresh artichoke hearts
1 1/4 C plain Greek yogurt (Mother culture)
1 1/2 Tbs mayonnaise
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbs feta cheese
3 Tbs grated fresh parmesan cheese
Salt and black pepper, to taste
How to:

 Preheat oven to 400°. Start by heating olive oil over medium heat in a saute pan and adding garlic. Saute for 1 minute, until fragrant and add in the spinach and artichoke hearts. Saute for 2-3 minutes, until the spinach is wilted. Cool slightly. In a large bowl, mix together spinach, artichoke, greek yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Once well combined, transfer mixture to an ovenproof baking dish or bowl. Spread out evenly and top with feta, parmesan and sprinkle with a little more salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes at 400° and then turn it to broil and cook for another 3-5 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Enjoy with tortilla chips, toasted baguette, crackers or pita chips!

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