Blue Sky Farm

My blogging posts and photos are part of me . I think of this as a scrapbook of my life. The names have not been changed.. they are real people who have crossed my path along my journey. Some I know intimately, my family and friends. If their names are mentioned it's a sure sign they are special to me and I love them dearly...come along see for yourself, perhaps you know some of them too..

February 17, 2009

Hearts for Good Health

Research has shown that artichokes which is the immature flower of the thistle plant contain a compound that can help prevent certain kinds of cancer and even heal a damage liver. In a study done at the University Hospital of Cleveland an ointment made with the compound "silymarin "
found in artichokes was able to prevent skin cancer in mice.
Silymarin works because of its powerful antioxidants.
One medium cooked artichoke contains more than 6 grams of roughage. Artichokes are a good source of magnesium. They are also a good source of Vitamin C. Folate and Vitamin B.

Getting to the best part....
Preparing a fresh artichoke before eating it:

  • Dirt can get lodged beneath their scaly leaves, so it is important to thoroughly wash them before cooking:

  • Pull off the tough outer, lower petals. With a sharp knife slice off the stem so it is level with the bottom of the artichoke.

  • Stand the artichoke in a large saucepan. Sprinkle salt over the artichoke and toss in a couple garlic cloves, Cover it halfway with water and simmer, covered for 30-40 minutes. Or place on a steaming rack and steam for the same amount of time.

  • To test for doneness, pull on the center petal. If it comes out easily the artichoke is done.

  • To eat the leaves, hold it down by the tip, curved side down, and draw it between your teeth removing the tender flesh. Dipping the petal in melted butter or mayonaise is good too.
  • When the leaves are gone, use a fork or spoon to scoop out the hairy layer, called the "choke." Discard the hairy choke, then eat the best part the heart.
For a good party favorite that is quick & easy try the

Hot Artichoke Cheese Dip

1 (8 ounce) package Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup Sour Cream
1 envelope Italian Salad Dressing
1 1/2 cups chopped cooked artichokes (canned or fresh)
1 (8 ounce) package Shredded Cheddar Cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix cream cheese, sour cream and salad dressing mix with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add artichokes and 1-1/2 cups of the Cheddar cheese; mix well.
Spoon into 9-inch pie plate.
Bake 20 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining Cheddar cheese. Bake an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve as a dip with Crackers. Or pour dip into a hollowed round loaf of french bread and serve with the bread bits you took out of the loaf.
Yield: 32 servings