Monday, August 03, 2009

Please. Do it for the artichokes. [RECIPE]


If I ever hear of someone trying to pawn off a "2 minute artichoke" again, I'm going to lose it. Like, I will throw punches and become unfit to be around, kind of lose it. It's not right.

Because, friends, artichokes are delicious green beauties when they are made properly, and that proper-making requires more than two stupid inadequate minutes. And a nice dip. And a good-sized area for fast discards. And absorbent napkins.

And all this artichoke opinion-having came back to me as Bubba and I relived our annual trip to Monterey, CA during our weekend of anniversary celebrating.

We love it there - in Monterey. Because of the beach and the relaxing and the seafood and the wine and, of course, the artichokes.

These are fried artichoke hearts. I dare you to produce a better appetizer.

Never is a trip to Monterey complete (or, really, ever even considered) without a trip out to one of the farms to get a box of freshly picked enormo artichokes.

Yes. That's what I said - a box. We buy a box. A Wet-Loc box that holds 15+ artichokes, depending on whether you buy the enormo ones, which we do.

You could get those little ones, but why?

The big ones are just so, well, BIG.

And then we come home from our lovely little anniversary getaway and gorge ourselves on nightly artichoke feasts. It's poor behavior, but what better way to say, "I really do love you no matter how gross you are.", than to scrape artichoke leaves with your front teeth while butter sauce runs down your arms?

Ah, love. It's a messy and complicated thing.

And I want everyone to have similarly delicious and graceful experiences with their loved ones. But since I've recently come to find that not all people grew up with parents as artichoke-loving as my own and, thus, either don't know how to make an artichoke or *GASP* have never had one - I want to share with you how to make a proper artichoke with the boiling method.

And don't let me hear of you doing otherwise or I will spank your ass. With my foot.

How to make a proper artichoke, already.
Recipe by me. Finny.
Although I'm sure it's vaguely common knowledge.
For some people.

1 artichoke per person, trimmed/stems cut/halved
3-4 cloves of garlic
1 lemon, halved

For the sauce
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1/3 c butter, melted
1/4 c mayo
1-2 T garlic salt
Fresh chopped parsley
Fresh ground pepper

To make
Procure your artichokes by whatever means necessary. If it means taking a weekend trip out of town to buy them fresh from the farm, so be it.

Start a big pot of water to boil - include in said pot: a good amount of kosher salt (I'm sure I use something in the 3+ T category), your halved lemon and your garlic cloves. Cover.

While your water is working on boiling, trim your artichokes. This is where the Art in Artichokes comes from:

1. Trim the stem to about 1/2 inch below the base of the choke. If you want to wear an outfit to match your dinner, go right ahead. I won't, um, judge you or anything.

2. Using a strong serrated knife, cut off the top of the choke at the fattest point on the thing.

3. Admire the thorns. They are massive. Handle carefully.

4. Then take your (sadly - dull) kitchen shears and snip all remaining thorns off the leaves. You don't want to stab yourself in the lip with one of these. It's, um, painful I'VE HEARD.

5. Set your choke flat side down against the cutting board and cut in half across the stem.

6. Throw all your chokes in the boiling water. Cover. Turn heat to medium, or just make sure to keep at a rolling boil.

7. Start the sauce. With your chokes boiling away, gather all your sauce ingredients and get this thing going. It only takes a minute and helps to justify having herbs in a vase on your counter rather than proper flowers like a normal person.

8. Melt your butter in a heat proof bowl like this one that Bubba's had since before our time together. You could call that time, "B.F.", but I don't think he does.

9. Using your smiley face egg whisk, scoop out a solid whiskfull of mayo because you don't want to dirty a spoon for no effin good reason. Also, using this whisk makes you feel ridiculous and that's good. Add it to the butter and whisk to your heart's content.

10. Get out one of those lemon hairnets that you have because you were feeling spendy at the cooking store and shove your half a lemon in there. Squeeze away, right into the bowl.

11. Then, because you still feel retarded for having purchased hairnets for your lemons, photograph the proof that they're a useful kitchen device and post it to the internet.

12. After whisking in your seed and pulp-free lemon juice (so worth it!), chop up some parsley with your proprietary chopping block and knife that you HAD TO HAVE even though you have 60 fucking cutting boards and *censored* knives and put it to some use. Because, really, it does a fine job chopping parsley.

13. Whisk your parsley into the sauce, with some nice fresh ground black pepper and the garlic salt.

14. Allow your smiley egg whisk to enjoy his job well done. Briefly.

15. Chill your dip next to a solitary Diet Coke and your tub Tub while you go back to check on the artichokes.

16. Here's where things get important: You must allow these fuckers to boil until you can super easily pluck off a leaf from the middle of the leaves. Don't go settling for a leaf you can drag off the bottom there, because those cook through faster and, if you do this, you'll be punished by way of tough middle leaves.

And you do not want this! I swear it to you!

Another good indicator that the chokes are done is the smell. Much like baked goods and broccoli, I've found, you know you're done because the kitchen will have a noticeable Waft to it that will smell pleasantly like artichokes. Not that bread smells like artichokes when it's ready, but you know what I mean. Don't get smart.

17. Then, because you're feeling grateful and fancy and flush in the way of artichokes, invite your neighbors over for an artichoke feast to thank them for watching the furry ones while you were off drinking wine in a jacuzzi and misbehaving on the beach with Bubba.

Like hanging out with 9 year olds, we are.

Don't forget the super chilled white wine of some variety you like, your chilled garlic butter dip from the fridge (it'll be a solid mass now, all the better for scooping with your hot artichoke leaf), some generous-sized cloth napkins and your district's newsletter spread out on the table to catch the discards.

Candlelight is optional. I suppose.

Then store the rest of your chokes on a newspaper-lined shelf in the fridge for week long artichoke gorging.

Cheers. And don't make any fucked up artichokes, now. Hear me?


  1. Finny,

    What word could have possibly been *censored* in step 12?

    Just wonderin'!


  2. Wow! Aren't you fancy and all that fun stuff with the artichokes!
    I just clean em up (you know, take off the stabby ends) cut off the stem (like you do) and throw them in water, boil til tender. Then I throw out the artichoke broth, add a splash of apple cider vinegar and some virgins, then steam the artichokes til they take on that cidery aroma, ambiance, whatever you call it. Serve with mayo. And a big bowl for the toss outs and napkins galore.

  3. OH. MY. EFFING. GOD. Artichokes are hands-down my favorite food, EVER. Like this post made me happy in ways that are unimaginable and indescribable. My mom always cooks them for my birthday dinner by boiling the shit out of them, then we dip them in melted butter and a lot of lemon juice. I introduced them to my boyfriend and he couldn't have been more overjoyed. I'm gonna try your dip recipe soon, JOY UPON JOY!!!! *swoons*

  4. OHHHHHH...Nommanommanommanommitynomnomnom.
    (I don't think I've ever SEEN artichokes the size of cantaloupes)--the better to slurp butter sauce with...
    Ummm---Ummm. Thanks for the inspiration!


  5. I come from an artichoke-loving family. My husband, sadly, does not.

    My mother's method, and therefore mine, differs from yours, as almost all artichoke methods are unique. I like hers because it's lazy. There's no trimming. That's right, you just throw the globes right in the water whole and boil the shit out of 'em. Then the sauce she always made was just oil, vinegar, Worceshire (who the fuck is that spelled, anyway?) and salt. I don't know why no mayo, since we all love mayo. But no mayo, ever.

    And by the way, I have never stabbed myself with a thorn. But then, SOME of us are more coordinated than others. Ahem.

  6. OK- I want you to know that I have prepared myself for a beating before posting.

    I hate artichokes. Actually, I really don't like any fruits or veggies. (ducking for cover right now). But yay for you gorging on veggies! :)

  7. Shouldn't he be pointing to his butt?

  8. You have inspired me to attempt these. I have never confronted a fresh artichoke before. Tomorrow night: wild rice burgers and your artichokes, hopefully outside. Thanks for the recipe!

  9. My daughter has discovered she loves artichokes, and once actually growled at me when I tried to sample hers.

    Growled. With bared teeth.

    I'll totally have to make this for her (and me!).

    Thanks Fin!

  10. Oh, and also, fried artichoke hearts are the best thing ever... if you ever find yourself in Boulder, go to The Med (a restaurant downtown) and get theirs, because OMFG.

  11. I went to an Italian restaurant and had stuffed artichokes for the very first time--stuffed with tons of garlic, butter, bread crumbs, parmesan cheese--ohmyfuckinggod it was good. I spent the entire time eating it NOT TALKING to our friends who we went with because who wants to divide their attention when you're eating something that good?

  12. Brooke - I'm ashamed of the number of knives I have. That's censored. For the children, you know.

    Claudia - Cider? YER FANCY.

    Kara - HELL YES. It makes me happy too. To go home and gorge every night for a week. I've eaten way too much of that dip this week.

    Kat - See it and believe it, friend. Nom nom.

    Kris - Yes. SOME people (me - but you knew that) are accident prone even when it pertains to vegetables.

    Sara - No hate here - more for me. :)

    Kelli - Depends on which part of the sign you look at ;)

    Alevin - TELL ME HOW IT GOES!! Good luck!!

    cure - I like your daughter. She sounds fun. When in Boulder, I will go there. It sounds like my kinda place.

    Jen - I would like to go to this place and similarly ignore my dining partners. Sounds gooooooooood.

  13. OMG I love your whisk. It is so adorable I think I need one!

    Andy calls his time before me BS. I'm not sure whether to laugh or take offense?

  14. Mmm. I haven't had an artichoke in years. Many years. (I guess that's what happens when you live in a house wiht picky people.)

  15. Finny,
    I wanted to do it (for the artichokes), I really did, but when I went to the store to get some (artichokes) they were completely out! Apparently everyone else is going to get to do it, but not me :(
    (At least not until I go grocery shopping next week and get there super early to beat all those little old ladies who come into the store at 5:00am sharp and buy all the veggies and the sugar free jelly).

  16. ah, ok so there's the first thing we did wrong the one time we tried to cook an artichoke! we didn't cut anything off! we just boiled it and were wondering why it took so long, and were very disappointed with the result...
    must bookmark this!!!


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Look at you commenting, that's fun.

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