Foodsite Magazine

Artichokes, the Feast vs. Artichoke Hearts, the Ingredient

Artichokes seem complicated to prepare, and this makes many people avoid the fresh ones, artithough their flavor and deliciousness is great! Fresh artichoke eating, not to be confused with artichoke hearts sold frozen or jared, becomes almost a ceremony, though labor-intensive, and a  fun party!

A video, these days, is worth ever-so-many words. Many a would-be fresh artichoke fan never became one because getting the feast ready seemed too complicated. Let this Youtube video from Shadow of Juniper Hill  change this.

Begin by purchasing at least one fresh artichoke for yourself and each guest from a reliable produce vendor. Select ones which are heavy for their size, denoting moisture. Its stem should look robust and not shriveled. If you squeeze a fresh artichoke slightly, there should be a squeaking noise. Store them, sprinkled with water, in a perforated plastic bag in your refrigerator for up to a week.

Cool after steaming. You and guests will then remove the outer petals, one by one, and dip into choices of drawn butter, vinaigrette, or mayo with or without soy sauce or garlic. Each petal is squeezed between the front teeth freeing the delicious petal contents. Discard the sizeable amount of empty petals.

The Dutch brought artichokes to the UK, and they were subsequently carried to Louisiana in the U.S. by French immigrants. Spanish immigrants introduced them to California. Today most artichokes are grown along the northern shore of the Mediterranean and in Monterey County, California.

Artichokes are rich in folate, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese and vitamins B, C and K.


Alternative ways of eating artichokes are to purchase the hearts, found inside the base after petals are removed. They are sold frozen or in jars or cans, marinated in oil and spices or plain, ready to be used as an interesting ingredient. Once opened, marinated artichoke hearts will keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

Try artichoke hearts in the following.

  • Appetizers/canapés
  • Casserole
  • Cheese cake
  • Crostini
  • Dips
  • Egg dishes
  • Grilled
  • Meat accompaniment
  • Pasta
  • Pizza
  • Salad
  • Soups
  • Stir fry
  • Vegetable


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Chocolate as Interesting Spice

Don’t pitch your next empty spice bottle. Instead, fill it with unsweetened, chocolate cocoa chocsouppowder. There’s a world of experimentation out there for this big, yet mellow, tangy, musky, dense flavor of chocolate in more of our dinnertime dishes.

Chocolate had its beginnings with the Aztecs in Mexico around 1544.  Later, a group of Mayans from Guatemala took gifts of chocolate to Spain. In their moles, Mexicans ritually combined bitter chocolate with chiles, onions, garlic, tomato, sesame seeds, almonds, corn tortillas, raisins, clove, cinnamon, coriander, olive oil  and chicken broth.

The New World, however preferred its chocolate in the sweet dessert zone, in candies, cakes, cookies and brownies. Their recipes generally contained melted chocolate or dry cocoa powder with butter, sugar, eggs, flour, a liquid, baking soda  and vanilla, rather than spices.

Chocolate is rich in antioxidants, especially the darker chocolates. White chocolate, which is mostly fat and sugar, is considered least nutritious.   Continue reading

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