Your Guide To Cooking Artichokes


People in general find artichokes intimidating to cook. For those who don’t know how to cook this immature flower from a cultivated thistle, the process is actually very simple and nothing to be worried about! Moreover, the fact that artichokes tastes deliciously nutty and sweet will be a great motivator for one to learn how to properly cook it.

The very first thing that you need to learn before cooking artichokes is how to select the right ones. The rule of thumb here is to pick artichokes that have tight leaf formation, and preferably the ones that have a deep green hue. Squeeze the artichoke in your hand, the leaves should produce a faint squeaking sound. Artichokes with split and dry-looking leaves are a strict no-no.

These delicious vegetables remains fresh for up to four days when stored in a plastic bag inside the refrigerator. If you want tender artichokes then go for smaller ones. Alternatively, if you prefer to have artichokes with larger hearts then go for plump round ones.

Next, before cooking artichokes it is necessary to prepare it properly. The first thing that you need to do is to wash them with regular tap water. Now, slice the stem off at the base if you intend to have your artichokes stand upright otherwise leave them on and just split it in halves lengthwise. Now remove some of the outer leaves close to the stem just as you would with cabbages to expose the fresh and vibrantly green inner leaves.

Taking a pair of kitchen scissors, snipe off the pointy tips from the leaves so that they would be easier to eat. An interesting tip here is to brush all the sniped edges with the juice of a lemon to prevent it from turning brown but this is option. You can then steam the artichokes in a stainless steel utensil or an enamel pot. Alternatively, you can also boil these prepped artichokes in salted water. Either ways, it would take about 20-25 minutes before you can consume the same.

Artichokes can be eaten whole but for fancy preparations or dishes, only the hearts of artichokes are used. Of course this doesn’t mean that you need to discard the cooked leaves because you can consume them with sauce, mayonnaise or melted butter.

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How To Roast Garlic: An Easy Guide


As an Italian cooking enthusiast, you already know that garlic is a staple of this cuisine. Closely related to onions, garlic is a pungent bulb that adds a distinctive flavor to a variety of dishes. More and more recipes these days call for roasted garlic as an ingredient. Instead of purchasing roasted garlic, try roasting your own and keep it on hand for use in a variety of dishes. Here are some easy tips on how to roast garlic.

Begin by selecting large, firm heads of garlic and cutting off the tops just enough to expose the tops of the cloves inside. Take an old ceramic pan and drizzle one to two tablespoons of olive oil on the bottom and tilt it to thoroughly cover the surface. Place the heads in the pan with cut sides up. The exposed heads need moisture, so drizzle them with olive oil. Sprinkle the heads with salt, preferable a type like Kosher salt or sea salt that has larger flakes as these will adhere better to the cloves. Sprinkle the cloves with pepper and cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil.

Roast the garlic heads in a 375 degree over for 35 to 45 minutes until tender and fragrant. Let the heads cool and take each head and gently squeeze each clove at the bottom to release the garlic. The garlic will be quite mushy. Place the roasted garlicĀ  with a bit of olive oil in a jar and cap tightly.

Roasted garlic has many different uses. At its simplest, you can pop it in your mouth and eat it. You can also mash it and spread it on bread for a tasty treat. Other uses include mixing it into mashed potatoes or into mustard or mayonnaise to make a delicious sandwich topping. Mix into hamburger meat before putting them on the grill or place in soups for great flavor, mix it in butter and gravies, mix it into hummus, sour cream or yogurt to make a more tasty dip. The possibilities are endless.

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