Sunday, July 3, 2011

Taking Back the Artichoke

I struggle with my weight. I mean, I really struggle. I struggle too much, one (anyone) might say. I once told someone that if I had taken all the time I had spent worried about my weight, I could have cured cancer. (Put in there my mother, grandmother, aunt, cousins, we could have all cured AIDS and another couple of fatal diseases)
But the reality is I am a petite person who can’t eat as much as everyone else or I will be obese.

So, I struggle.

The best “diet” book I’ve ever reading is The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite by David Kessler.

What he says is that part of the problem with the American Diet is that we’ve taken foods and turned them into unrecognizable substances that create abnormal dopamine responses in our brains which leads to addiction.

I read the book a couple of years ago, so I’m not sure if he used this example, but one that would fit would be Spinach Artichoke Dip.

I don’t mean to diss on Spinach Artichoke Dip. Don’t get me wrong, I love it. I could eat it, and eat it, and eat it. It’s so good. But it’s also fairly bad for you. Of course, it’s fine in moderation. But when one struggles with eating in moderation, spinach artichoke dip becomes a thousand calorie affair.

Spinach Artichoke Dip takes two healthy vegetables and devolves them into a high calorie, fat filled, mind blowing for some, indulgence. (Google the words "artichoke" and "recipe" and you'll only find the fat filled dips)

So today, I am taking back the artichoke. One reason I write is because artichokes are everywhere in the grocery store right now. I’m a little too lazy to cook an actual artichoke, but a lot of people enjoy the process.

Some people like artichokes in their salad, or marinated in balsamic vinegar. I can tolerate eating them like that, but I usually skip over them at the salad bar.

My first exposure to baked artichokes was in Israel during Passover at my boyfriend’s parent’s house. The food was delicious and I had never tasted artichokes that were so good without hot cheese. I asked my boyfriend’s mother how to make them. She told me and I replicated them tonight. They did not taste as good as hers, but they were yummy nonetheless because they are warm (like the dip), and have a fantastic texture.

Baked Artichokes


17 ounces of dry artichoke hearts (2 cans)

¼ cup olive oil

2 tablespoons paprika

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, combine the olive oil, paprika, salt and pepper. Stir.

Pour the mixture onto the artichokes (which should be in a separate bowl. All of the artichoke hearts should have some paprika on them.

Bake for 20 minutes. Pour into serving dish including any of the mixture that is left in the pan.

Serve. Side dish for 4.


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