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Artichoke flesh is nutty, verdant, and a little sweet — with a flavour reminiscent of fresh corn.
You can boil, grill, braise, or stuff and bake artichokes. But my favorite way to cook artichokes, and the easiest way to cook them, is to steam them. The artichokes are done when a knife is inserted into the base and there is no resistance.
Whole steamed artichokes are a finger food. After cooking, You peel off a petal, then scrape off the tender portion at the tip with your teeth. Dip the ends of the leaves in lemon juice and melted butter if desired. The outermost layers tend to be the toughest, and the leaves get softer as you get closer to the center.
Be careful when you reach the purple leaves at the very center — they tend to be prickly, so use a kitchen towel to discard them. When you reach the choke (the fuzzy bit), scrape it off with a spoon or carefully slice it off, and discard. All that’s left now is the heart.
The heart is completely edible and amazingly delicious. The other parts of the artichoke -- the actual leaves, the hairy stuff at the bottom, the stem, etc. - are not eaten. The fuzzy choke is too fibrous to eat in regular artichokes, but edible in baby artichokes.
Artichokes may be eaten cold or hot, but I think they are much better hot. They are served with a dip, either melted butter or mayonnaise.
They can also be barbecued or grilled: cut in half lengthwise, remove the choke, brush with olive oil and grill for 30 minutes, until tender.
A good guide on cleaning and trimming artichokes is at https://www.finecooking.com/article/how-to-clean-and-trim-artichokes-for-recipes
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Beets are a nutrient dense food filled with natural sugars and have a very intense earthy flavor. The trick to successfully cooking beets is to soften them while also concentrating their sweet flavor.
Toss the baby beets with olive oil, rosemary or thyme sprigs, salt and pepper and spread them on a roasting pan or cover them in a foil packet. Roast at 375 for about 30 minutes turning them twice until they are tender. Remove skin while warm, and cut in half. Toss with vinegar or lime juice, and additional salt and pepper if needed and serve.
To maximize their nutrition and flavor steam the baby beets. Fill the bottom of the steamer with 2 inches of water and bring to a rapid boil. Add beets, cover, and steam for 15 minutes.
In salads, beets are best served chilled. Beets pair well with salty and sweet ingredients, so combining them with feta or goat cheese, berries, apples and oranges works well. Adding a nut or seed such as pumpkin seeds or walnuts works great to add some crunchy texture to the salad.
Pickled beets can be made with cooked or raw beets. They both work great! I like both but find the raw beets to result in a slightly crisper texture.
Boiling beets is likely the fastest method for cooking. In this method, it is best to leave them whole so they maintain more of their color.
Fresh beets can be eaten raw too. They work best in this way thinly sliced or grated on a salad or even as an ingredient on a veggie sandwich. Beets definitely taste different raw than when cooked. More earthy with some sweetness and a crisper texture. Wash and peel skin before using.