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.