Glowing, radiant health is the new black. Our Green Table is serving it up, for the whole body! Healthy recipes and tips, the latest on eco-friendly food and "skin food"products and a head's up on ingredient safety are all woven into family-centered stories and discoveries. Bring informed, aware and empowered looks good on everyone!

Abrazos! xox Penny

Sunday, May 9, 2010

They taught me to eat artichokes

Years ago, sweet daughter Melissa gave me the book "She Taught Me to Eat Artichokes". It is a lovely story about finding treasures and friendship in the heart of something or someone who seems a very unlikely source of tenderness. It is also about taking a little different, less common path. Imagine if the title were, "She Taught Me to Eat Iceberg Lettuce". Nothing too special or interesting there. This book about "artichokes" is no ordinary tale. It shares unique discoveries that have enriched my life.

This Mother's Day, I will be eating an artichoke in honor of the beautiful friendship that I have with my children and my mom. I may be in what is called the "sandwich" of life but I am squeezed between the best people. I am lucky to have two amazing children, Christian and Melissa, and an equally amazing daughter-in-law Reshma and second son Sameer. All four of them have hearts of gold and are encouraging, enthusiastic, creative, playful, generous, kind, compassionate and, as only children can be, lovingly wise friends. And, they are each writing their own beautiful "artichoke" story, one leaf at a time.

                                                               Melissa and Sameer

                                                               Christian and Reshma

My mom is a very special lady and a wonderful, adventurous cook herself. Her cookbook collection runs in the 100's. Don't even try to count the recipes she's clipped. Stacks. I mean stacks. Over these past wild and crazy couple of years, she has shown such strength. I imagine she feels a combination of relief and frustration over my taking a larger role in her "story". She is letting me do so with grace...and just a few "If you'd do it my way, Pensy's". Like she says, once a mom, always a mom.


This bouquet is for all of you...each one of you makes my life better, one sweet artichoke leaf at a time. xoxoxoox

Here is a recipe for Steamed Artichokes. For flavor, use the very best artichokes and sweet butter you can find!

Buy tight, fresh, moist looking artichokes, like the ones in the picture. Don't buy the ones that look dry or have their petals already starting to open up more than the others. Wash and cut off stems at the base. Remove any teeny leaves and any that are discolored. You can also snip off the thorny tips of the petals but I don't.

Place artichokes on a steamer rack in a large saucepan or place directly in pan with about 1/2 inch of water, just enough to come up to the base of the artichoke. I will often add a sprinkle of Herbes de Provence to the water and sometimes a fresh bay leaf. Bring water to a boil, cover pot and reduce heat to a simmer. Steam between 30 and 50 minutes, depending on the size of the artichoke. The way I test for doneness is to pull off a leaf midway up the flower. If it comes off easily and the meat is tender, it is done. Pour water from pot and turn artichokes upside down to let any excess water drain off. You can also turn the heat on again and let them dry a little that way.

To eat, invite me over or melt sweet butter and add a splash of fresh lemon juice. Place artichoke on plate and pull off leaves, one petal at a time and dip meaty part into butter. Scrape off the tender meat at the base of each petal with your front teeth. As you finish the larger petals, you will see smaller ones and then the fuzzy choke. Scrape those inedible petals off and now what you have is the "heart" of the artichoke. Absolutely delectable. Savor every bite and don't run out of butter! 

A special hug to the "grandchildren" Roger and Allie and to all our "babies" (see The Granola Bar page for Stubug, Annie and Lilly) xoxoxoxoxo




  1. Mom, this is my favorite post yet!!!! I love you!

  2. yes, this is so great! I love artichokes ya know. Your pix are really good-love the one of the hearts! love you! xoxxo