This is the perfect season for eating artichokes. When I did my grocery shopping last weekend, Fresh Direct had given 4 stars to the artichokes because their rating system shows they were at their best. Artichokes are a great food, not high in calories and really easy to make. Many people do a lot to prepare artichokes before cooking them, but I cook them very simply and do not use a lot of prep work. The best part of the artichoke in my opinion is the heart. If you do not know how to eat an artichoke, I will show you here. First, before beginning to cook the artichokes, cut the bottom of the stem off. Fill a pot with water and place artichokes in the pot, and put the heat on medium high to high depending on your stove. In order to give the artichokes a little more flavor, I sprinkled garlic powder, onion flakes, and pepper into the water on top of the artichokes. The artichokes cooked on high for about an hour. The artichokes are done when you pull a leaf from the center and it easily comes off. Here are the artichokes in the pot after they were cooked. You can see they have turned a darker color green.
Here is the whole artichoke. You can see onion flakes on the leaves. For dipping, I simply melted a teaspoon of smart balance in the microwave for about 10 seconds and dipped the leaves into the melted butter. Smart Balance has a great taste and says gluten free right on the container. Once you eat all of the leaves, you will get to the heart which looks like this. The purple thorny part that is coming out of the top is not edible, and will hurt if you try to eat it. Simply take a fork or knife and clean out the center of the heart until the inside is completely hollowed out like this. This part is completely edible and really delicious. Along with the artichoke, I served baby carrots and asparagus. For the carrots, I simply sprayed a tin with cooking spray and put in a bag of baby carrots along with a cleaned bunch of organic baby carrots. I sprinkled these with salt and pepper and a little bit of agave. Then roasted them for about 45 minutes at 350 in the oven. These were delicious. For the asparagus I simply sprayed a pan with cooking spray and sprinkled them with salt, pepper, and garlic. These cooked for about 15 minutes at the same time as the carrots. Besides being gluten free, this meal is great for people who are vegetarian. Also, for those meat eaters, the artichoke as a main course makes this vegetarian meal really a meaty choice. Please try this in your kitchen and let me know what you think.