All Artichoked Up

It’s been years since I ruined dinner badly enough to scrap it and order take out. Look, I’m not saying I’ve never had trouble boiling water, and there was that time in college when I set off Eric’s smoke detector, but my cooking mistakes are usually minor, food that’s a touch overdone or needs a bit more salt.  Not a disaster.

My recipe said that if you don’t have a steamer, you can boil artichokes, placed upright and arranged snugly in saucepan with a few inches of water. I think there was a typo, and what it meant was if you don’t have a steamer, don’t even think about boiling artichokes, placed upright and arranged snugly in saucepan with a few inches of water!

First my artichokes turned brown, which was a little odd, and then they spectacularly failed to get soft enough to eat. Then the water turned brown, and somehow began to smell of blanching citrus peels,  while the artichoke leaves were still hard. Also the leaves never opened up and out. I pulled a leaf off to taste, just in case I’d picked up that rare African Brown Artichoke, that looks bizarre and tastes good, but it had the consistency of bark. Bark with the smell of toxic vegetable matter. Sadly, the extremely rare oak-artichoke crossbreed is inedible.

Once it was clear that my artichokes were more science project than delicacy, I thought I’d cut one in half. I tried with a paring knife, an awesome culinary knife and finally a serrated bread knife, which shredded the artichoke, into a mass of unmarinated artichoke heart and tree bark. Some of the leaves managed to be both over- and under-cooked, which defies all logic.

I’d been thwarted by an artichoke.

I decided to be thrifty and not order a pizza, although it was definitely warranted. Stick is awesome, he didn’t complain about the thrown-together replacement dinner, and he even offered to clean up the kitchen. Possible because if I saw the artichoke debris, I would cry.

Stick thought it would be a good idea to put the artichoke bits in the garbage disposal.  Remember that part where none of my knives could cut through the leaves? Yeah, he didn’t remember. Again, the smell of toxic vegetable matter, only this time, it was rising up from the clogged sink.

Good thing we didn’t order in last night, because we’re definitely eating out tonight.

Update 3/31: Any chance I bought Hurley’s cherimoya instead of the artichoke-oak hybrid?

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0 Responses to All Artichoked Up

  1. Allison says:

    Obviously this is the universe conspiring to get married to Stick so you can have a wedding registry and put a steamer on it.

  2. Wabres says:

    By “that time in college” you’re counting in years, right?

  3. Meg says:

    @Allison Nah, it’s becoming more and more acceptable to ask for honeymoon cash instead. I like veggies but I like travel better!

    @Wabres I was thinking of the time we were frying bacon and it set off your smoke alarm and woke Chris up and he was a grumpy butt because I guess people don’t like to wake up that way. Probably 6 or 7 years ago…

  4. Andrea says:

    You can microwave them, you know. Faster and less oak-y that way 😉

  5. Meg says:

    In six months or so, when I feel like giving it another go, I’ll probably try that.

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  8. Stuart says:

    You can boil an artichoke, but you need to do so in a pot full of water (not just a few inches). I’ve done this countless times. Are you sure the recipe wasn’t for, I don’t know, asparagus?

  9. Meg says:

    I’ve never heard of boiling asparagus upright, and they don’t have any outer leaves to strip, so… probably not. Any chance that artichokes COMPLETELY change their texture and consistency as they get ripe?

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