Consider serving your family steamed artichokes tonight. They are simple to prepare, and kids seem to really love them. Maybe because they look like a pretty flower, or maybe because kids love watching you scoop out the prickly choke after they’ve gnawed on all the yummy leaves.
To prepare: cut the stem down to about 1/2″ and pull off all of the small leaves around the base. Then take a very sharp serrated knife and and cut about 1″ off the top, cutting off a lot of the pointy leaf tips. Use a kitchen scissors to snip off any remaining pointy tips. Rinse well and put into a steam basket in a large pan.Fill with water up to below the basket. Sprinkle some salt over the artichokes and bring to a boil. Turn to “low” and simmer 30 minutes. Meantime, take a small chunk of butter and melt in a little bowl for dipping. Or another good lower calorie dip: mix a little curry powder into some low-fat mayo. Let artichokes cool for 5-10 minutes and then carefully pull off the leaves. When you start getting to the flimsy, prickly ones inside, give them a yank and toss. Then take a tablespoon and carefully scrape the choke from the heart. Trim the sides and bottom of the heart so it looks appetizing, then slice into a several pieces. To eat the leaves, just scrape off the “meat” at the bottom of the leaf with your teeth, then toss the tough remainder. Artichokes are really fun to eat, and I swear that even picky kids have been known to eat them at my house, much to their mothers’ disbelief and pleasure!