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Publix GreenWise Market Magazine - March 2008

Get to the Heart of the Artichoke

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Get to the Heart of the Artichoke

Get to the heart of the artichoke
March marks the beginning of peak harvest season for artichokes. To prepare these somewhat intimidating vegetables, first wash them in cold water, pull off any loose or discolored petals, then cut the stems close to the base. Cut off about an inch at the top of each artichoke and snip off the sharp petal tips. Brush cut edges with lemon juice. Then steam, covered, for 20 to 25 minutes, until a petal near the center can be easily pulled out. To eat, dip each petal into melted butter or a favorite sauce. Or try these tasty variations:

  • Refrigerate and marinate cooked, halved artichokes (with the fuzzy choke removed) overnight in a mixture of ¾ teaspoon ground ginger and ¼ cup each balsamic vinegar, water, olive oil and soy sauce. Drain and grill about six minutes, then turn and grill until the petals become lightly charred (three to four minutes more).
  • Bake sliced or quartered artichoke hearts in a casserole along with lemon juice, sautéed onions, Italian herbs, fresh sliced tomatoes and mozzarella cheese.

LEARN MORE: Visit the California Artichoke Advisory Board at artichokes.org for nutrition information and more recipes.

Trim, Snip, Dip and Scoop
Wash artichoke; trim stem and remove discolored or loose petals. Cut off 1 inch from the top.

Snip off the sharp petal tips and brush the cut edges with a little lemon juice. Steam as directed, above.

Dip the petal base into a sauce such as herbed light mayo; draw through your teeth, scraping off the flesh.

Remove petals until the fuzzy choke appears at the base. Scoop out the choke and discard. Eat the remaining heart.

St. Paddy's Classic
Corned beef is a March tradition, but did you know that the food's name has nothing to do with corn? It actually refers to the use of salt pellets the size of corn kernels to preserve a relatively tough cut of beef, such as brisket, rump or round. In the days before refrigeration, beef was corned this way to prevent spoilage. Today salt water has replaced the salt pellet "corns," but the food's name still recalls its history.

This St. Paddy's Day, celebrate with a traditional Irish-American one-pot meal of corned beef and cabbage. Place a corned beef brisket into a large pot and cover with about 2 quarts of water. Add an onion, 2 tablespoons of mixed pickling spice and a teaspoon of minced garlic. Simmer for 2 hours. Add organic red potatoes and organic carrots, then simmer for another half hour.

Add a small head of cabbage, cut into wedges, and simmer for about 15 minutes more. When all the veggies are tender, sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley or dried parsley flakes before serving.

Egg-cellent DyesEgg-cellent Dyes
For Easter eggs in a rainbow of delicate hues, concoct natural dyes. Experiment by putting dyestuff (see chart, below) into a saucepan and adding water to completely cover. Try several spoonfuls of spices or a handful or two of other items. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 60 minutes, until you like the color. The liquid dye should be darker than the shade you'd like the eggs to be.

Remove the pan from the heat and strain with cheesecloth or a fine strainer. Add 4 to 6 teaspoons of white vinegar. Place hard-cooked eggs into a small bowl and cover them completely with the strained dye mixture. When the eggs reach the desired soft shade, lift them out and put them on a rack to dry.

LEARN MORE: For decorating ideas visit the American Egg Board at incredibleegg.org and click on For Kids & Family.

QUOTE: "Laughter is brightest in the place where the food is." —Irish proverb
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