Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Meat Is Murder, So Pass Me the Artichoke
PETA stopped in town today during a 10-city tour to promote World Vegetarian Week (May 19-25). Two PETA interns, doused with fake blood and packaged like meat, lay in the hot Memphis sun to illustrate their "Meat Is Murder" campaign.
The demo was scheduled during the work day, but lucky for me, my editor sent me over to take some pictures for our newspaper. So I was working, but I still got to see the demonstration.
When I got home, I tried something completely new to me — Steamed Whole Artichoke:
I've had plenty of those marinated baby artichokes, but until tonight, I'd never actually cooked or eaten a whole artichoke. I was inspired by an artichoke article and recipe spread in the latest Vegetarian Times. On the side is Orange-Jalepeno Dipping Sauce, also from that Veg Times article.
The tender steamed artichoke was delicious, but man, it was a lot of work. For those who don't know (because I didn't), you only get a tiny bit of artichoke "meat" on the end of each leaf, which you scrape off with your teeth. Then, buried deep in the center under some spiky tentacle things, is the tasty, tiny heart. I accidentally tried to eat the spiky parts, but quickly realized that was a bad idea. Oops!
On the side, I made the Chickpea-Quinoa Pilaf from the Veganomicon:
Spiced with cumin, coriander, and tomato paste, this was one of the best quinoa dishes I've ever had. I think I like the combo of quinoa and chickpeas even more than I like quinoa and black beans. And that's saying a lot ... because I love black beans and quinoa.
How to Steam an Artichoke
1) Rinse the artichoke to remove dirt or nastiness.
2) Cut the tough stem and then trim the pointy tips from each leaf with scissors.
3) Rub a lemon half over the cut leaf ends to prevent browning.
4) Put about two inches of water in a large pot. Toss in one garlic clove and a bay leaf. Squeeze the rest of the lemon into the water.
5) Place artichoke top down in a steamer basket. Place the basket in the pot and cover.
6) Bring to a boil and then lower heat to a simmer. Steam 40-50 minutes or until bottom leaves fall off easily.