Steamed Artichoke Hearts with Lemon Chive Dipping Sauce

The antioxidant capacity for the artichoke is one of the highest reported for vegetables. Good stuff!

When I was a kid artichokes were served with one condiment, and one condiment only: Mayonnaise. Then I became a teenager and was too good for mayo. Mayo was gross. Why did my mom ever feed me mayo?!

On my Weight Watchers stint of 2006, a friend reintroduced me to the allures of artichokes as we were both counting calories and budgets. They were cheap in spring, since California produces about 100% of the US crop of artichokes we could wrangle them at Trader Joe’s for a dollar a piece. My friend would stuff their leaves with copious amounts of garlic, boil them, and then we’d dip them in spiced light butter and “ooh and ahh” like a pair of cooing Gollums. Oh artichokes, we will never be apart again!

Then Julie and Julia came out and I discovered Hollandaise sauce. I had never had Hollandaise sauce before (I’ve also never had eggs benedict. I know this is culinary sacrilege, but poached eggs kinda creep me out) but after seeing Amy Adams dip an olive-y petal into the stuff I vowed to try it. Hollandaise was dreamy and frothy buttery goodness- but oh so, so bad for you. Like someone said, “Hey, let’s take a stick of butter and add more cholesterol to it!”

So now I’ve endeavored to find a new condiment, a new yin to the artichoke yang.

This recipe serves four people. Each person gets their own artichoke- it’s artichoke law, because everyone should have a tender artichoke heart of their very own. I’ve used regular sour cream here. You could theoretically sub in a lower fat sour cream, but don’t. You’re already a hero for not using butter, no need to martyr yourself. When buying artichokes, look for ones with green leaves that are tightly packed and feel heavy. Her majesty Julia Child said, “Very fresh artichokes will talk to you when you squeeze the head- squeaky fresh, in other words.”

  • 4 medium sized artichokes
  • 1 C sour cream
  • 5-7 cloves garlic roughly chopped (be bold! The sour cream will dampen the garlic)
  • 2 TBsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 C chopped chives
  • 1 TBsp champagne or white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper

1. Steam your artichokes until tender. I put mine in a large pot stem side up, add about two inches of lightly salted water at the bottom, and put over medium heat for about 40 minutes, or until you can easily pierce where the stem meets the bloom with a fork. After cooked, set them aside to cool a bit.

2. In a food processor add the lemon juice, chives, vinegar, salt, honey, and pepper. Process and put into a bowl (it will look similar to a pesto). Add the sour cream and stir in. I like portioning the dip into individual little ramekins.

Calories: 198  – Fat : 12 grams –  Carbs: 19.6 – Fiber: 5.2 grams – Protein: 7.2 grams

Note: Calories were calculated assuming everybody eats their entire portion of dipping sauce, which is unlikely. This dip would also make a good condiment to a crudites platter.


Catching this bus…

An empty pan. Ohhhh the possibilities

Tonight I noticed, while sitting on the couch, it was a little too hard to get up. I’m not saying a flopped and strained like a beached whale. I’m just saying it took a little more effort than I know it should.

Somehow that clinched it. I’m back on the wagon.

I know, I know, It’s a lifestyle change. It’s not a diet. It’s a lifestyle change. I know that’s what it’s supposed to be, but for me and millions of other Americans it’s not. It’s a health bus we get on, then fall off. Or get on, decided to get off (y’know, for a rest… to see the country… and eat some greasy Chinese food), then are surprised when we forget to get back on. Let’s not kid ourselves, them’s the statistics.

You can say what we eat or how much we eat is a lifestyle choice, or you can say that it’s a hundred little choices we make every day. Donut or whole wheat toast? Coffee with sugar or Splenda? Cherries or Cheetos? But for me, healthy or not, food is a hobby and a passion. I love to cook. I’d rate myself a solid 7.8 on a ten point foodie spectrum. I love good food, and I resent having to skimp on stuff that makes food good. So I need to find a way to cook healthy food even a foodie can love. Not easy, but I love a good cooking challenge!

I’ve been meaning to start a blog for some time now, so welcome to my life! Follow me if you dare! I anticipate at least a handful of good recipes, a few quick tips diced here and there, and maybe a dash of complaining.