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Monday, April 18, 2011

adjusting the choke

It has been a while since I have written about an entirely disastrous vegetable event. I wish I could say that I am getting the hang of this whole veggie thing and that I have figured out the art of meal planning, vegetable cooking, and successful experimenting.

But then last night happened.

I got a whole bunch of artichokes in my box, and I love artichokes, dipped in yummy creamy sauces. At least at restaurants, I do.

I have only cooked artichokes one time before, and that time I pureed them into a creamy pasta sauce. Since I felt like I was starting to get into a rut of taking green vegetables, adding cream, and pouring over pasta, I decided not to just make them into the base of a pasta sauce this time. I wanted to cook 'em up and eat them with a dip. And a drink.

So, I read a few articles about how to cook the 'chokes, and a few different dip recipes, until I felt like I knew what I was doing.

One of the important things I read was that when cutting the artichokes, it is very important to put them immediately into water and lemon juice so they don't turn brown. (If you want to sound really fancy, you can call it acidulated water.) I had my pot of lemony water waiting next to me, and I threw them directly in. But, the articles I read didn't mention that the dang things float. And so, the part of the artichoke that was on top of the water floated and turned brown anyway. Even more brown that the rest of the little guys, which turned brownish even under the water.

brown artichoke
Okay, that's really no big deal, right? They still taste the same, and I wasn't serving them to anyone but myself and my husband. As long as they taste good, it's okay if they're a little brown.

But I would like to know how to keep them green. Because I am going to someday master the artichoke and serve it to friends, dammit. And I am not serving them brown vegetables.

Moving on, I tried making a dip that I found online, and which had rave reviews. It contains lots of my favorites... worcestershire sauce (thank goodness for spell check. Except it took me a few tries to get to where spellcheck even had a guess as to what I was writing.), balsamic vinegar, garlic, and more. All in a mayonnaise base. I'm not a big mayo girl, but for artichokes I am willing to go there.

Except. This dip was way way way too strong. It tasted like eating worcestershire sauce and balsamic mixed together. And not much else.

I had such high hopes. I even photographed it, hoping to be able to share the joy with you all.

Any suggestions? I need keeping-artichokes-green help, and dip suggestions. I will sit down and enjoy an artichoke soon. I would just rather not pay $10.95 for it at the nearest restaurant.