Adventures in Artichokes

Today’s food story is from an inspiring foodie, Daniel of Needless Pounds. Daniel is an educator from central AR, sharing adventures from his weight loss journey from 448 to 191 lbs … That’s not a typo, my friend, that’s over 250 lbs & he’s my new hero! As you can imagine, transforming your life takes a spirit of flexibility, change & the desire to try new things. I hope you enjoy Daniel’s artichoke story and that you’ll stop by his site and become completely encouraged and energized. 

Collage of Weight Loss Progress - Daniel from Needless Pounds

Collage of Weight Loss Progress – Daniel from Needless Pounds

I’ve become complacent in my exploration of vegetables. There are the simple ones I like, and I tend to buy them each and every time. Carrots, broccoli, green beans, lettuce, and tomatoes find their way into my basket regularly. For my birthday, a very dear friend sent me a $30 gift card to Whole Foods. I decided to use that gift card to branch out into vegetables heretofore unknown to me.

I whipped out my trusty iPhone while waiting in line and pulled up a list of vegetables in season in April. Pretty high on the list was “Artichokes.” Now, I’ve heard of Spinach Artichoke Dip, and I’ve even seen canned “Artichoke Hearts,” but I had no idea what an artichoke was, what it tasted like, how it was served, or even (it turns out) how you’re supposed to eat one. Perfect! And it starts with A, so we could have a little alliterative fun with it, too.

Off to Whole Foods I went, looking for artichokes. When I found them, they reminded me a bit of large pine cones. Also, the blood-sucking plant from Little Shop of Horrors, Audrey II.

Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors - Image courtesy of Needless Pounds

Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors – Image courtesy of Needless Pounds

I had searched the web for artichoke recipes, and I decided on a simple grilled artichoke recipe from Eating Well. Basically, you trim the pointy bits, cut off part of the stem, boil them for 10-15 minutes in water spiked with lemon juice, allow them to cool, cut them in half, scoop out the entrails, brush them with oil, hit them with salt and pepper, and grill them for 5 minutes on each side. So, that’s what I did.

Boiling Artichokes

Boiling Artichokes – Needless Pounds

Artichokes to Cool & Slice

Cool & Slice – Needless Pounds

Grilling Artichokes

Grilling Artichokes – Needless Pounds

Plated Artichoke

Plated Artichoke – Needless Pounds

Now, the challenging part that I didn’t anticipate was having to learn how to actually eat these things. My first reaction was to cut it up with a knife and fork. For the stem, that worked beautifully. The stem was very tasty! For the leaves, I couldn’t cut it with a knife, so I tried to pluck one off and chew it up. Although it was very tasty, it was also very fibrous, and I had to spit it out.

Perhaps I hadn’t peeled it? I didn’t recall reading in the directions about peeling it. I tried eating it from the inside out. While the first few petals on the inside were tender, they quickly grew fibrous. To the Internet!

Interesting to say the least, and educational at best. In the end, I served my artichoke with some baked chicken for lunch. I wasn’t sure if it was a starchy or non-starchy vegetable, so I erred on the side of caution and didn’t eat rice with it. I later found out that it’s a non-starchy vegetable, so I’ll have brown rice with it next time.

Daniel - Needless Pounds

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What do you think?

  1. What an incredible weight loss! Congratulations! You look fantastic! Thanks for introducing a new way to cook artichokes. I’ve always steamed them and it takes an hour. Love the idea of boiling them for 15 minutes. they look delicious!
    mjskit recently posted … Green Beans and Potatoes with Deconstructed PestoMy Profile

  2. Wow, inspiring story! And I remember the first time I was served a whole artichoke – I didn’t know how to eat it either! Good post – thanks.
    john recently posted … Beer BreadMy Profile

  3. Rock on dude! Fabulous story and thanks for the great info on artichokes!!
    Kalamity Kelli recently posted … Gluten Free Cinnamon RollsMy Profile

  4. what a cool and helpful post!

  5. What an amazing story of will power and weight loss. Well done Daniel !
    David Prosser recently posted … Blink and you’ve missed it. Another week gone,My Profile

  6. I had a similarly perplexing, though in actuality much more disastrous, encounter with a whole artichoke. It took over an hour for me to get it in the oven, baked for just as long, and then I also had NO idea how to make it. In the end I decided it was not the veggie for me — I’ll stick with the yummy hearts ;)
    Jess S. recently posted … Slow-Cooker Pulled Chicken & Smoky Pulled Chicken TacosMy Profile

  7. Amazing indeed! It’s great to meet you Daniel!
    minnie recently posted … Recycled bottle tops to seal open plastic packetsMy Profile

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