Saturday, May 26, 2012

Beyond Broccoli: The Artichoke

I have been dragging my feet on starting a new series about all of the amazing and delicious varieties of vegetables available across the globe and am finally doing so. I started this blog to try my best to share simple and healthy meals and snacks with all of you and thought it would be worth focusing on all types of produce so that maybe you can discover a new favorite of your own. I suppose the idea stemmed from being quizzically asked over and over again by grocery store cashiers what the name of the vegetable was that I was buying and what on Earth I did with it. 

We all get in the habit of cooking what we know, what we find familiar and the easiest to prepare. Especially when the days are long and our lives are hectic. We all know that vegetables are essential to a healthy diet but most people don't get a wide variety of produce simply because they don't know what to do with the stuff.  I am guilty myself of grabbing a bunch of broccoli and some carrots at the store when I am short on time because quite simply, they are easy to prepare and my kids will eat them.

I am a serious veggie lover from way back and will buy up sacks of vegetables simply because they are in season and more importantly because they look pretty, interesting and because I love to try new things. That's how I discovered I loved Bok Choy. I never had the vegetable in my child hood so it was unfamiliar to me but one day, many many moons ago I warily picked a bright and crisp looking bunch of Bok Choy up at the grocery and it has since been my very favorite vegetable.

Artichokes are another one of my favorite veggies and I thought I'd start out the "Beyond Broccoli"  series with these gems. I was introduced to them many years ago and only had them steamed and then dipped in a cayenne-mayonnaise concoction or in melted garlic butter for a long time. I have since discovered that are freaking  amazing roasted or grilled and that there are healthier options for condiments and toppings to go with them. One of the very first recipes I posted here on Simply Healthy Family was for   'Lemon @rtichoke Chicken over Brown Rice'    I tell you that it was one of my first posts as a disclaimer because while the recipe is wonderful, the picture and post..... not so much.     Live and learn.    I recommend you give this recipe a go.

Le Artichoke
isn't she beautiful?

Artichokes are available all year on the West Coast, but they peak from March to May and again in October. Originating in the Mediterranean, an overwhelming majority of artichokes grown in the United States are from California. The plants are actually the buds of thistles, which are in the sunflower family.

Here are some artichoke recipes worth trying.

Grilled Artichokes with Garlic and Cheese

recipe source

Italian Stuffed Artichoke

recipe source

Healthy Artichoke Marsala

recipe source

In the future, I will be posting my own recipes but I hope you visit these lovely sites for now and most especially, Give A New Veggie A Try!

Have you tried a new vegetable recently 
or prepared an old favorite a new way?

Please do share!

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