Friday, January 27, 2012

RECIPE: Steamed Artichokes

I had never had a fresh artichoke until I moved to Northern California. Since the Artichoke Capital of the World in just a couple of hours away, I thought it was high time to give them a chance. So, I bought two. I looked at them, intimidated to the max. I had NO idea what to do with them, so I did some research. I ended up boiling them for what seemed like an eternity and they were very good. One night I wanted to have artichokes with dinner, but everything else was going to be ready in 30 minutes, so waiting for the water to boil, then boil them for 45 minutes or so just wasn't an option. I found directions on how to microwave them in 20 minutes. THAT would fit the timeframe for dinner, so I gave that a try. They aren't very pretty after cooking them this way, but they sure do taste great AND it saves a LOT of time!
2 large artichokes
1 lime
(See? super easy!!)
1. Cut the ends of the leaves off. then trim the top section off as shown in the photos below.
2. Trim the top section off as shown in the photos below.
 3. Cut the stem to approximately 1".
 4. Spread leaves and wash thoroughly.

 5. Place in microwaveable dish (with a lid) and put approximately 1" water in the dish along with a sliced lime.
 6. Cook in microwave for 20 minutes, then remove. Be careful when removing them from the dish as they will be watery and VERY hot!
I generally serve them with paleo mayonnaise for dipping, or sometimes herb mayo - Pesto and paleo mayo makes for a flavorful, yummy dip! (We use that on most vegetables including broccoli, asparagus, and even on salads!)

Artichokes are an excellent source of potassium, magnesium, vitamin C, dietary fiber and protein?
A medium sized steamed artichoke is only about 60 calories! The following information is from a recent news letter from Ocean Mist:

Potassium is a mineral that’s vital to maintaining normal heart rhythm, fluid balance, and muscle and nerve function. One medium Artichoke provides more than 400 milligrams of potassium, about as much as a small banana. There is strong evidence that a diet rich in potassium is linked to reduced risk of stroke. Potassium also blunts the effects of salt on blood pressure.
Magnesium is used in building bones, manufacturing proteins, releasing energy from muscle storage and regulating our body temperature. Many adults – especially women – aren’t getting enough of this mineral and Artichokes are a good source.
Vitamin C
Artichokes are an excellent source of vitamin C, a water-soluble vitamin that functions as a potent antioxidant. Vitamin C is vital for a healthy immune system and is important in forming collagen, a protein that gives structure to our bones, cartilage, muscle and blood vessels. Vitamin C also aids in the absorption of iron.
Dietary Fiber
Artichokes are fiber rich! Found only in plant foods, fiber helps maintain a healthy digestive system, lowers blood cholesterol, reduces the risk of heart disease and may prevent certain types of cancer. Fiber also works to keep blood-sugar levels stable, which is especially important for people with diabetes. It can also help us feel full, aiding in weight control.
With no fat, cholesterol or trans fat, Artichokes are a healthful source of protein. One medium Artichoke provides four grams of protein!

For more nutritional information about Artichokes, visit Ocean Mist

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