Last month, I posted an in-depth retrospective overview of my personal favorite records from the 1990s entitled "Back to the '90s - Pt. 1 (Long Live Rock)." I prefaced the feature by clearly articulating my disdain for the era — a period that I refer to as the decade of doom, death, destruction and despair. Yet despite my personal anxieties, I felt that many of my readers would get a kick out of an ongoing '90s flashback-type series. However, my girlfriend Michelle (who actually liked the '90s) thought that it would be an epic fail. Hence, I smelled a challenge. It was a simple wager. Had the initial '90s installment totally blown up, we would have enjoyed several posts throughout the summer regarding the music, books, movies, people and events that made the decade memorable. But if it tanked, I promised readers compelling and riveting exposés on other such fascinating topics as, oh say, artichokes.
My debut '90s post was not an epic fail. However, it did fall short of "blowing up." As a result, (as promised) after considerable research, I'm proud to present to you, my in-depth, behind-the-scenes, undercover report — ARTICHOKES: The Naked Truth Revealed!
Thanks to Wikipedia, I got the
real lowdown on the artichoke:
In the US, large globe artichokes are most frequently prepared for cooking by removing all but 5–10 millimeters (0.2–0.4 in) or so of the stem, and (optionally) cutting away about a quarter of each scale with scissors. This removes the thorns on some varieties that can interfere with handling the leaves when eating. Then, the artichoke is boiled or steamed until tender. The core of the stem, which tastes like the artichoke heart, is edible once the stem's fibrous exterior has been removed...
Artichokes can also be made into an herbal tea. It affords some of the qualities of the whole vegetable, acting as a diuretic and improving liver function. Artichoke tea is produced as a commercial product in the Da Lat region of Vietnam.
Artichoke is the primary flavor of the 33-proof (16.5%-alcohol) Italian liqueur Cynar produced exclusively by the Campari Group. It can be served over ice as an aperitif or as a cocktail mixed with orange juice, especially popular in Switzerland. It is also used to make a 'Cin Cyn', a slightly less-bitter version of the Negroni cocktail, by substituting Cynar in place of Campari.
The total antioxidant capacity of artichoke flower heads is one of the highest reported for vegetables. Cynarin, an active chemical constituent in Cynara, causes an increased bile flow. The majority of the cynarin found in artichoke is located in the pulp of the leaves, though dried leaves and stems of artichoke also contain it. It inhibits taste receptors, making water (and other foods and drinks) seem sweet.
I hope that everyone has enjoyed this informative, life-changing, up-close and personal look at the artichoke as much as I've enjoyed bringing it to you. COMING SOON TO MY BLOG... OVEN MITTS: Friend or Foe?
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