The very first artichoke is ready to harvest from a plant in my garden. It is the only survivor of an entire packet of seeds that I started three years ago, so a celebration is in order! My daughter has asked to eat the little darling steamed with butter sauce.
My artichoke is purple, about the size of an elongated baseball and has very sharp thorns on the tip of each petal. Three others came in our produce box last Thursday, giving me four, which is enough for everyone. The box artichokes are about the same size as mine, green and thornless. Instructions for steaming artichokes are on p. 72 of Deborah Madison's Vegetable Literacy. This pasta recipe, called Cauliflower with Saffron, Pepper Flakes, Plenty of Parsly, and Pasta, is on p. 144.
The artichokes were delicious, not exactly what my daughter remembered, but still fun. Just like my mother and my good friend Jill, she likes to dip each petal in butter and scrape the soft part off with her teeth. I enjoy them this way too, though in my youth it was too inefficient, I refused to eat artichokes at all.
The pasta was tasty. I was hoping that the one vegetable averse member of our family would not notice the cauliflower, since it blends in so nicely with pasta, but that did not happen. He left each and every piece at the bottom of his bowl.