Goodcookbecky's Blog

Letting the juices of life (or food) drip from my chin!

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Taking the Fear out of Artichokes

For quite a few years I avoided making artichokes myself.  I didn’t know what to do with them.  They seemed prickly and uninviting!  When one of my daughters was born I had a friend visit from Fresno to meet the new baby and she showed me how to make artichokes. They are too good not to eat!  Fresh ones are so much better than the ones in the can and really don’t take much effort to make.

Here is a quick guideline for those of you who also fear the “choke”.

Fill a large pot with about 1 inch of water.  Cut the end of the stem of the artichoke and wash it.  Remove some of the very outer leaves, if you don’t like the sharp ends of the leaf trim them with kitchen shears, or use caution when you handle them.  Trim the leaves that are attached to the stem and clean the stem up a little scraping the outside layer with a knife.   Season the water with fresh lemon juice and garlic seasoning or oregano and a drizzle of olive oil.  Place the artichoke(s) in the water.  Heat to a boil, place a tight fitting lid on the pot and reduce the heat.  Cook the artichokes at a simmer for around 25 minutes.  To check if they are done tug at a leaf near the base of the artichoke it it easily comes off the artichoke is cooked enough to eat.  Remove the artichokes with some tongs and let them drip dry a little before you remove them to a plate.  Many people eat the artichoke with butter or my favorite: mayonnaise.  Do what you like.  There are plenty of recipes out there for dipping sauces, or pasta recipes that use cooked artichokes.  The ideas are limitless.

To eat the artichoke.  Pull away the larger outer leaves, dip the base of the leaf into your dipping sauce and bite down on the leaf, pulling the leaf out of your mouth and scraping the artichoke flesh.  Repeat until you have the purplish tender leaves near the choke.  At this point get a spoon and gently remove the leaves and choke and dispose of them, they are not edible.  The artichoke bottoms (and stem) are really good.  Cut them into smaller portions and dip away.

Here are some pictures to help with the process (I am sorry for the poor quality of pictures, it was night and I was hungry!)

The cooked Artichoke

Leaves that pull away easily

Center purple leaves and choke

Remove the choke with a spoon

Cleaned Artichoke bottom

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Warm Italian-Style Pasta Salad

Italian Pasta Salad

I originally found a recipe in “Taste of Home” Magazine that was an Italian Pasta, but I accidentally heated it up the first time I made and we discovered we loved it that way.  Plus it had grated carrots in the original and we didn’t like it.. so a few changes later it is mine!

Italian Style Pasta Salad
Serves 6

  • 14 1/2    ounces Tomatoes, with garlic and onion — canned
  • 16    ounces    Caesar Dressing — Marie’s is good
  • 2        Onions, Green — thinly sliced
  • 15    ounces    Artichokes, Canned — hearts, cut up
  • 20    ounces    Tortellini pasta, Cheese — refrigerated
  • 1    medium    Green Pepper — chopped
  • 6    ounces    Olives, Ripe — drained, pitted
  • 3    ounces    Pepperoni — sliced, mild
  • 1/2    cup    Cheese, Parmesan — shredded


In a 13x9x2 inch baking dish combine first 7 ingredients.  Add cooked tortellini pasta and toss to coat.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, cover with foil and heat at 325° F for 30 minutes.

Printable Recipe