Homegrown artichokes and homemade mayonnaise

artichoke head on

Look what’s growing in our garden! This year we planted some artichokes just to see how they would grow for us. We are big eaters of the “thorny thistle of bliss” as I like to think of it. We usually have them at least once per week. Unless they are $4.00 a piece that is.  There is no way that the space of our smallish garden will keep us supplied but the thought of eating a home grown artichoke was just too tempting – so we planted two and one survived which we will share once it is ready to harvest. The ants have eaten the other- hope they enjoyed it. 🙂

artichoke side view

To cook and eat an artichoke is an adventure. I think the first person to try it must have been quite determined and madly starving to boot.

First of all- trim the bottom and any tough outer leaves until you see a bit of white around the bottom edges of the heart. Trim the thorny tips from the tops of the leaves so you don’t get stuck by them. Rub the cut edges with a slice of lemon. Fit a pot with a steamer basket and fill it with water to just under the bottom edge of the steamer. Add a couple of garlic cloves- no need to peel them and a bay leaf and a couple of peppercorns- you can also add that slice of lemon you used to stop the artichoke from turning brown- waste not want not you know. You can scoop the choke out (the choke is the unbloomed thistle leaves ) over the heart either before steaming or after cooking during the eating process. The artichokes will take less time to steam if you remove the choke before cooking and the eating is less messy if you do too- but it’s up to you- some people think they are more flavourful if steamed with the choke.  To remove it before cooking I find that a serrated edge grapefruit spoon or a mellon baller makes the job easy. Just spread the leaves open a bit and scoop the fluffy choke out- rub the cup left where the heart is with a bit of lemon.

Get the water boiling under the steamer and add the artichokes to the basket- steam until tender -you’ll have to check them- they are done when an outer leaf pulls easily or you can check the bottom thickest part for tenderness with the tip of a paring knife- it should insert fairly easily but not be mushy.  Remove the basket and drain a bit before serving.  We like them with chile and garlic flavoured mayonnaise. I made some homemade mayo- it is so easy and good- give it a try!


Homemade Mayonnaise 

  • 1 egg and two yolks of an impeccably fresh and clean eggs*
  • 1/3 teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • juice of one juicy lemon
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • about 1-3/4 cups of canola or other neutral oil
  • about 1/4 cup of best quality olive oil
  • herbs, salt and pepper or spices to taste

mayo ingredients

* If you are immune sensitive or uncomfortable using raw eggs-you can coddle the eggs by immersing them in boiling hot water for about a minute before using, try pasteurized egg product (not I- I say) or skip this recipe altogether.

The food processor works great for this. Put the eggs into the bowl fitted with the metal blade. Process for a minute then with the machine running add the mustard powder, the 3/4 teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon each of the lemon juice and the cider vinegar. Slowly start to add about half of the olive oil in a very thin, slow stream – followed by about half of the neutral oil do not stop until a  thick mayonnaise is formed. Add a bit more lemon juice to thin it out a bit and then add the rest of the oil in the same manner. Taste and correct the flavour with more lemon juice, vinegar, salt or pepper. Add chopped fresh herbs if desired- or chiles -whatever you like. This will keep for a few days in the fridge- not as long as commercial but then it only has what you put in it- no commercial fillers or cheap oils.  😉

Have a happy day 🙂

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