What do you do with those giant artichokes on sale at Newflower Market (2 for $4, only one more day!)? Yes, you can cook them in the slow cooker but you gotta cut them in half. Otherwise you’ll be cooking them longer than you can stand it. I use a large (6 quart) oval cooker. Three of these big un’s just fit.
First load up your cooker with:
- ½ cup white vinegar—Whole Foods (WF) 365 organic is the best buy I’ve found
- about 6 cups of water
- some celery leaves if you’ve got ‘em—Finca Pura Vida at Sunset Valley Farmers Market (SVFM) grows gorgeous celery leaves that keep well in the fridge, wrapped in a tea towel and cradled in a plastic bag. OR a stingy to generous pinch of celery seeds, to your taste.
- a strip or two of lemon peel—Central Market usually has the best price on organic lemons, not that they’re a bargain, but right now Sun Harvest has them on sale at $2.97 for a 3# bag. OR if, like me, you bought a likely lifetime supply of lemon oil some years back, just add 12 drops
- 2 cloves
- 3 peppercorns
- as many cloves of fresh garlic as you care for—Hairston Creek Farm at SVFM has it right now. peel them if you can, but don’t frustrate yourself. Very fresh garlic is hard to peel.
- About a tablespoon of kosher salt (I prefer Diamond Crystal) or half that amount of table salt (I go for RealSalt and WF sells it in bulk for the best price.
NOW, trim up and rinse your artichokes. Check http://www.saveur.com/article/Mise%20en%20Place/Trimming-Tips for guidance. Next, stand your globe stem end up and slice it into two equal halves. Just slice right down with a good sharp chef’s knife. It’s easier than it looks. If the baby’s sleeping go ahead and scoop out the choke. Otherwise just remove that part at eatin’ time. Cram the artichokes into your crock stem ends up. Here’s the fun part for Central Texans:
Put the slow cooker outside!
The slow cooker doesn’t warm up the house as much as the pressure cooker (my usual artichoke cooking appliance) or the oven, but why even let that heat in? Turn it on to High and check your chokes in about 8 hours. They’re done when you can easily pull out a leaf, no resistance. Eat ‘em hot or cold and don’t forget to eat the garlic. We don’t fuss ‘em up further with sauces ‘cause they’re already seasoned. And portable!