Have you ever thought about what it takes to make an artichoke? I had not really either until I had one in my garden. Starting with a tiny plant, over time it grew and grew – until now it is a 6×6 full-scale bush. Near the top of the bush, a pinnacle vegetable that I adore began to emerge. Sometimes nearly growing by an inch through the course of the day, it gradually enlarged until I could no longer deny that it needed to be cut or allow to blossom for the bees.
What is Mindfulness?
Jon Kabat-Zinn who is considered one of the founding researchers on mindfulness defines it as the following:
“Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgementally,” says Kabat-Zinn. “And then I sometimes add, in the service of self-understanding and wisdom.
I have seen that for some people incorporating this can be difficult as the definition can feel a little distant to their everyday experience. One day while eating a whole steamed artichoke, it occurred to me that it might be the perfect food for the development of awareness of eating
3 Mindful Eating Techniques
Eat with your non-dominant hand
This lets you shift gears when eating.
Set a timer for 20 minutes and be sure to take the whole time to do this.
Artichokes are particularly good for this as they take time to eat.
Write a letter of gratitude to all the people who brought your favorite food to the table from farmer to transport agency to market.
Pat yourself on the back if you picked it from your garden!
Gardens can prepare us for seasonal changes
So this morning, I gathered my scissors and courage and proceeded to the plant to remove said artichoke. For many years, artichokes have been my favorite food and I had learned to think of them as a delicacy. Though in today’s markets, you can easily obtain a 16 oz can of them with ease. Living more seasonally with my garden this year has reminded me of the effort that plants take to offer food to us.
Fresh herbs from the garden
This year, I have also had many fresh herbs growing in the garden. Finding them go to see has brought me the reminder that summer is coming (kind of like winter in GOT) but it is Phoenix and summer is a proper season here that can leave a person frazzled and pushed to maximum irritability.
This recipe uses an idea that came through as I was cooking the hearts and one that I have not done before. If you place fresh herbs in the boiling water that you are going to steam the artichokes in… a beautiful flavor emerges. One can truly engage in a mindful journey eating an artichoke. I have found that introducing a steamed artichoke to a meal can slow down even the fastest of eaters. I made a vegan roasted garlic aioli with this. Recipe to come for that.
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Steaming fresh artichokes in water that is infused with fresh herbs is great option to add flavor and preserve the delicate components to the artichoke.
2 tbsp fresh herbs (thyme, oregano, dill, basil could all work)
Determine fresh herbs in the garden that would give complementary flavor. Consider using thyme, rosemary or sage. Bring 8 cups of water to boil in pan that can handle a steamer or is double boiler with steamer insert.
Once water is boiling, add the artichoke and cover tightly.
Cook for 30 minutes with boiling water. Check for doneness around 25 minutes by pulling leaf off with hand protection (its hot! ) I use tongs. If the leaf come gently, it is done.
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Could you use any combination of herbs for this? Also, wondering if what type of yogurt you used?
I prefer to use only a combination of 2-3 herbs. I find that after that the flavors are too overpowering. This was made with an almond-based plant yogurt.
Dr. Siri Chand