Friday, September 27, 2013


Tonight I harvested an artichoke to steam to share at dinner.  What a wonderful surprise to find we can grow and harvest one of my favorite vegetables here in Wisconsin.  
After noticing artichokes used effectively in many recent articles and books promoting edible landscaping, I picked a plant up when I saw one at a local nursery, not expecting to necessarily be able to harvest anything here Wisconsin.
Afterall, artichokes are known for being grown commercially in Castroville, California for shipment across the country.   Castroville has a cool-summer Mediterranean climate and several microclimates, resulting in mild winters and cool summers.  There is no official wet season or dry season with precipitation dispersed throughout the year with most of it coming from various types of fog.
But to my surprise I recently notice 3 artichokes growing on the plant, so I am looking forward steaming artichokes in the near future.

Years ago we sampled numerous tasty artichoke treats
at the Artichoke Festival held annually in Castroville, CA

Creeping rosemary trails in front of artichoke plant.

3 artichokes growing on our plant
The inspiration for this recipe for stuffed artichokes came from a recipe in La Bonne Cuisine, Cooking New Orleans Style (copyright 1980 by All Saints' Episcopal Church in River Ridge, Louisiana).  This spiral-bound cookbook I received from my sister years ago became so tattered and torn from use, I replaced my original copy with a new edition when I was last in New Orleans.


Steaming a fresh Artichoke is ideal for retaining all the vitamins and nutrients that can be lost by boiling.  Place a steaming basket in a large pot and fill the pot with water until it reaches just under the basket.  Place one layer of rinsed and trimmed Artichokes into the steaming basket with Artichoke stems facing up; cover with lid.  On high heat, bring the water in the steaming pot to a boil. Steam Artichokes until they are tender. Cooking time can vary, depending on the size of the Artichokes. A good approximation is 30 minutes for a Medium-sized Artichoke or 45 minutes for a Jumbo-sized Artichoke.  You will know the Artichokes are cooked when a sharp knife goes through the Artichoke base with ease. If the knife goes through with ease (similar to a baked potato), your Artichoke is perfectly cooked and ready to eat.  ( )


2 artichokes
3/4 t. dried basil, crushed
3/4 t. dried marjoram, crushed
1 1/2 t. dried oregano, crushed
1 1/2 t. salt
pepper, to taste
3/4 c. breadcrumbs
3/4 c. Parmesan Cheese (3 oz.)
cayenne pepper, to taste
4 T. unsalted butter, melted
1 lemon, juice of
1/4 c. olive oil
1 t. garlic powder

Prepare the artichokes and lower them into boiling water for 15 minutes.  Remove and cool.  Open the artichokes and remove the fuzzy chokes and undeveloped inner leaves.  Return the artichokes to the water cooking over medium high heat for 30 minutes or until chokes are fork tender.  Remove the artichokes, drain, and cool.  Prepare a stuffing by adding the seasonings (basil, marjoram, oregano, salt, and pepper) to a mixture of breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese.  Spoon stuffing into each artichoke heart and at the base of each leaf.  Drizzle a mixture of lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic powder over the stuffed artichokes.  Steam, covered in colander over a pot of boiling water for about 20 minutes.  

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