Another Month = Another Challenge!
This month I took on artichoke. This one was a real curve ball for me as the only time I have ever really used them was from a jar! A 100g serve of Artichokes from a jar contains 320mg of sodium whereas steaming them fresh (without salt) gives 60mg of sodium. Depending on your total diet though this may not be a significant issue – it’s unlikely we are going to be adding a significant number of artichokes to our diet! However, if you consider that the National Health and Medical Research Centre suggests we limit salt to 4g/day (1600mg sodium) and the Heart Foundation says 6g/day (2300mg sodium) and the average Australian consumes 8 or 9 times this amount, I think we should be mindful of what salt we add to our diet by using processed foods vs naturally occurring salt.
Now, I’ll jump off my nutritional science podium and chat to you about the main things I learnt during my challenge.
1) Preparing an artichoke is a bit perplexing but you can find awesome infographics on pinterest to help you!
Source of Image: http://illustratedbites.wordpress.com/2012/10/15/prickly-treat/
2) Talking about artichokes was a wonderful language building exercise for my toddler. We looked at pictures of them on the internet and talked about what they may feel like before we went to the shops to choose some to cook. My daughter was quite the sight walking around the green grocers with her “choke fwowers”. I figured that they did look like flowers and some multi-syllable words are still a bit tricky. (The artichoke is actually the flower bud harvested before the flower blooms). The preparatory talks about artichokes, built some excitement about going to the shops. As you may have seen in my previous post about vegetable exposures away from mealtimes, I did creatively use going to get the artichokes as a “bribe” to get her off the Peppa Pig coin operated ride and into the green grocer.
3) I made an Artichoke, Lemon & Tomato cob loaf with my steamed artichoke hearts that was really yummy and simple. Lemon is in season now & so very fragrant in this bread. I loved it served with some good quality butter, fresh ham & a side salad. The loaf is big enough for a light lunch for 2 adults & 2 kids.
Artichoke, Lemon & Tomato Cob Loaf
1 Artichoke Heart
1 Tomato, Roughly Chopped
Zest from 1/2 Lemon
1/4 cup Parmesan, Finely Grated
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 1/2 cup Self Raising Flour
Ground Black Pepper, To Taste
To prepare the artichokes, I trimmed it as per the above infographic. Instead of putting them in the pot with salted water, I used a bamboo steamer and no salt – this worked well and in 20mins I had lovely steamed artichokes. I tried one with a lemon & pepper yoghurt dipping sauce, which was OK. I didn’t actually try to get my daughter to try the artichoke like this. Scraping the flesh away from the leaves with your teeth is interesting but a bit of work for the limited fleshy artichoke that you get.
On my remaining artichoke, I cut away the hard leaves & was left with the heart. I roughly chopped up the heart & yielded about 1/4 cup of chopped pieces. To the bowl I added the remaining ingredients. My toddler did some stirring & kneading of the bread with me. We put it on a dusted baking tray in the preheated (180oC) oven for about 30mins (until it sounds hollow when you tap on the bottom of the loaf).
Do you have a favorite artichoke recipe?