Friday, March 12, 2010

Steamed Artichokes

Steamed artichokes are one of my favorite foods, and I am proud to say that my daughter loves them too. It always cracks me up when other kids come over for dinner, if we are having them, and have never seen them before and don’t know what to do with them. OK, is this weird? I love them so much, I even taught my dachshund to eat them! And I kid you not, he would carefully close his mouth around the leaf and bite down, as gentle as you please, while I pulled the leaf out – and he actually got the meat each time! Nobody believes me, but really, I did!

Now my 5-year old loves them as much as I do (I think), only she refuses to have mayonnaise or melted butter to dip them into - she likes them Absolutely Plain…Which brings me to a related topic, something I am NOT actually serving in my home, but something that WAS served to my mother and her sister, growing up in California with parents who were Light Years ahead of their time, at least in terms of Health Trends: the Mono Meal.

Most people have never heard of the Mono Meal, in fact there is not even a listing in Wikipedia for it, though you can search related topics such as frutarianism and raw foodism. But even when I was little, a trip to my grandparents’ frequently consisted of at least one Mono Meal. Very simply, it means that for each meal, you consume only ONE food, always a fruit or vegetable. For example, for lunch we are having oranges! As many as you can eat, but ONLY ORANGES. And for dinner, for example, we might be having artichokes – what, hungry, you say? Great, you can have AS MANY AS YOU LIKE. 3? 6? Even 10! BUT NOTHING ELSE.

In my grandmother’s honor, I even use her steamer to cook my artichokes. I recently got a cool little insert for steaming them, but it only does one at a time, and I am so used to cramming up to 3 in the little fold-out/expanding-petal steamer inside the tall pot I have been using for years, that I just kept the new one in the box. (And when I say “new” of course I mean from Thrift Town for 1.99, originally from 1980 - which is Really Pushing the vintage envelope for me!)

Steamed Artichokes

• wash artichokes
• trim pointy tips of leaves with scissors
• slice off entire top about ¼ inch from top
• set in steaming basket over 1 cup or so of water
• steam on high for 30 min, then check every 5 min
• done when leaves pull off easily but do not fall off (total between 30 – 60 min)
• carefully bite off just the meat at the wide end of each leaf – after dipping in melted butter, mayonnaise or sauce of your choice
• to eat the heart, remove all pointy bits (the choke) with knife or spoon, then cut up and dip into mayonnaise or melted butter. DIVINE!

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