OK, on to the actual recipe. For me, baby artichokes are a bit more work than full sized ones because I like to trim them and skin the stems rather than just chopping them off in the larger variety. Of course, you don't have to do it this way, but I like to eat the whole stem with the heart (of the baby artichoke) and if I don't cut off the outer layer it just isn't tasty.
First, I break off the outer leaves until I see a light yellow and a white color around the base of the leaves. Then, I take my paring knife and skin the stem, chopping off the very end, until it is that nice shade of light green. Then I throw them all in a steaming basket above a large pot of water and boil them until the leaves come off easily. For these, it took about 40 minutes. I also added a few cloves of garlic to the water (which I will discuss later) but you could also add lemon slices to infuse a bit of flavor into the artichokes.
When they were finished, I took a few out and started breaking them apart to give to my hungry children. They were probably a tad overdone as you can see how dark they became, but nevertheless a fantastic treat.
Most of the time, the outer leaves are fairly inedible, providing very little 'meat' that would normally be scraped off with one's teeth. I had to peel off quite a few of them to get to the nice yellow leaves that are tender enough for Piper to eat. Heidi actually eats the whole leaf, no matter what kind you put in front of her.
Now, you may be wondering if we just eat these fabulous vegetables plain or if I make some sort of mind altering sauce to dip them in. It's the latter. And here is how I do it.
First, I fill the bottom part of the bowl with fresh lemon juice. Ultimately, the sauce is all up 'to taste' so you can always add more throughout the process or less the next time you do it. Then I add some sprinkles of Bragg's Amino Acids, generally enough to change the color of the lemon. (To see my post on Bragg's, click here.)
In the above photo, I added a clove of the boiled garlic to the lemon and Bragg's.
After I added the luscious clove of garlic to the lemon and Bragg's, I added about a tablespoon of butter.
Then I pop it into the microwave for 30 seconds if the butter is ice cold, maybe 25 seconds if it is room temperature, depending on your microwave. Then you'll want to check it to see if all the butter has melted or if it needs a bit more time.
At last! The sauce is complete! Be careful, it will be hot, but it will provide the most delicious dipping sauce for your artichokes you have ever tasted! Generally speaking, I like to use this sauce on any vegetable I eat, though I do not always use the butter (and of course I don't always have garlic).
Heidi enjoyed dipping her entire leaf into the sauce and sucking it all off before gobbling the whole thing.
Try it, love it, use it on everything for the rest of your life! :)