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Monday, April 28, 2014

Spring Vegetables: Artichokes

Here in California we are so lucky to have so many wonderful vegetables available to us almost year round.  And one vegetable that is very distinctly California, especially since 99% of the entire nation's supply is grown here in California, is the artichoke.  I LOVE artichokes.  On a recent trip to Monterey, where I passed through Castroville, the home of artichokes, roadside vegetable stands sell them 7 for $1.  ONE DOLLAR!!   Artichokes are actually the official vegetable of California.  And of course they are a healthy green veggie, but they actually have a specific health property; they can aid in digestion, protect your liver and lowers triglycerides and cholesterol.  A large artichoke is only 25 calories and contains no fat.

Here's how I love to prepare artichokes- I take the time to trim the leaves, cutting all the sharp points off the leaves, I remove some of the tougher outer leaves, but I certainly don't strip it down to the lighter color tender leaves like so many recipes call for.  Then I cut it in half lengthwise, use a small paring knife, cut out all the purple, fuzzy part and then wash it well to get the fuzz out and the leaves clean.  Then I take several pieces of foil, cut large enough to suite the size of the artichoke(s) and set two halves on top.  I liberally squeeze lemon juice, season with a combo of salt, pepper and garlic powder and drizzle with olive oil.  I wrap it up on the foil to be like a pouch.  Then I place it on the grill.  It's the first thing I do before grilling anything else, like chicken or other veggies.  It needs plenty of time, like 20-30 minutes.  I usually move them to not be over a high flame, the could get a burnt, with a gas grill I have it on low.  The only way you  know it's done is to just check them, open up the foil pouch and see if a leaf pulls off easily.  You can eat them with all the delicious sauce that has been created while cooking.  You can also do this same cooking method in an oven if you can't use your grill.

For more about artichokes and more recipes, you can read more on my blog, www.e-mealplanning.com

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