The first tomato and some ‘chokes

I’ve seen tomatoes at the farmers’ market for almost two months now, and I’ve avoided them like the plague (if only I were so good at avoiding the regular daycare plagues courtesy of Sir).  Sure, they’re locally grown, but most of the very early ones grew in tunnels or hothouses, and they lack that perfectly ripe, hot summer weather tomato taste that makes a REAL tomato.

My waiting paid off last week when my MIL presented our first garden tomato of 2012.  In our eagerness to dig in, I neglected to take a picture before slicing it, but rest assured that it was big and beautiful.

We enjoyed it pure and simple, with some salt and a drizzle of olive oil.  It served as the perfect addition to our meal of quinoa salad and . . .

. . . garden-grown artichokes!

Growing artichokes in our zone requires some special tricks, but Matthew managed for the second year in a row.  I didn’t write much about them last year because most of the harvest came in right around the time Gabriel arrived.

We enjoy them steamed and dipped in a olive oil and butter sauce.

Artichokes with dipping sauce

Recipe by Melissa

Whole, fresh artichokes
1 T. olive oil
1 T. butter
1/2 t. lemon juice
salt to taste

Cut stems off of artichokes (if not already removed) to leave a flat base.  Place artichokes on the bottom of a pot, standing upright.  It helps to choose a pot where you can pack the ‘chokes tightly so they stay upright.

Add water to cover the bottom of the pan, place a lid on the pan, and steam the artichokes until tender, 15-30 minutes, depending on size and freshness.  They are ready to eat when you can easily pull out on of the leaves and/or when you can easily insert a fork in the base.

While they steam, melt the butter and combine with olive oil, lemon juice and salt to make a dipping sauce.

Serve  artichokes whole with dipping sauce.  To eat, pull off outer leaves, dip in sauce, and then scrape the flesh at the inner base of the leaf with your teeth.  As you get closer to the heart, there will be more tender, edible flesh on the leaves.

Once near the heart, use scissors to snip off the top, pointed portion of the remaining leaves.  Dip and enjoy!


  1. I recently fell in LOVE with artichokes but have never tried to make themselves. Thanks for posting this recipe. =) May have to give them a try this weekend with the family!

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