There is an ancient Aegean legend about a vegetable (which is really a flower), that the Greeks and Romans thought of as an aphrodisiac. Written by poet Quintus Horatius Flaccus this legend tells the story of the flower’s origin.
One day Zeus, the Olympian god, saw a beautiful young woman. This woman Cynara was not afraid, and Zeus seduced her. Zeus cared for her and offered to make her a goddess so that she would be close to him when his wife Hera was away.
1 cup fresh basil
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 a lemon, freshly squeezed
1 teaspoon Himalayan Salt
2 cups raw sunflower seeds
pinch black pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 a lemon, freshly squeezed
1 teaspoon Himalayan salt
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
24 ounces frozen artichoke hearts, thawed or bottled in water (brine)
4 large ripe tomatoes
1/4 cup minced fresh basil
1 1/2 cups pitted raw olive, can be sundried
1 red bell pepper, diced
Step one – Soak 1 1/2 cups of raw sunflower seeds overnight or in the morning before breakfast in pure water. If using frozen artichoke hearts place them in the refrigerator to thaw.
Step two – Combine the oil and spices of layer two in a bowl and mix. Cut off the bottom of the artichoke and place in a food processor. Gently tear apart leaves of remaining artichoke and gently mix with the oil and marinate for one hour.
Step three – In the food processor with the artichoke stems place layer one’s basil, olive oil, lemon and salt. Pulse to chop. Drain the water off the sunflower seeds and place them with black pepper and cayenne in the food processor and pulse until evenly combined. Place the mixture on the bottom of a casserole dish.
Step four – Evenly spread the marinated artichoke hearts over the sunflower mixture.
Step five – Layer the tomatoes over the artichokes, completely covering them.
Step six – Scatter the basil over the tomatoes.
Step seven – In the food processor mix layer five ingredients and mix until evenly chopped. Spread evenly over the basil.
This recipe is adapted from Angela Elliot. Thank You.
Cynara agreed but soon found that she was homesick. She snuck back to the mortal world to visit her mother. When Zeus found out, he transformed and hurled her back to earth for ungoddess-like behavior.
She was transformed into the Cynara scolymus, what we know today as the artichoke plant.
Women were not allowed to eat artichokes because they were thought to have aphrodisiacal properties. This may have had something to do with Dr. Bartolomeo Boldo’s “Book of Nature” written in 1576.
He wrote that one of the artichokes virtues was “provoking Venus of both men and women; for women making them more desirable.”
Norma Jean, a.k.a. Marilyn Monroe, once Hollywood’s leading sex symbol, is said to have been the first Artichoke Queen in Castroville California’s artichoke festival. The town proclaims itself the “Artichoke Center of the World.”
The most desirable part of the artichoke is the heart which is protected by the choke which one does not want to eat. The overlapping leafs are sweet and tender at the base but the tip of the leaf is not to be eaten.
The artichoke is very high in vitamin C, folic acid and biotin. It also is a good source of niacin, riboflavin, vitamin A and potassium. The globe artichoke has only 60 fat-free calories and 4.2 grams of protein.
Science has shown that artichoke extract helps the liver. One of the long time folk medicine cures for treating many liver diseases has been the artichoke.
The globe artichoke is the unopened flower bud. If the bud is not eaten it blooms into a violet color and the blossom can measure up to seven inches across.
There are many varieties of artichokes but only 40 types are commercially grown in France, Italy, Spain and California.
The difference in artichoke sizes are not a sign of age, but rather a sign of where the buds grow on the stalk. Large entrée size artichokes grow on the center stalk, smaller ones grow on side branches and baby artichokes grow at the base.
Baby artichokes are completely edible when properly trimmed. They are often bottled, marinated and frozen for use in recipes.
For more tips about living a balanced life, or read more from Nadhirrah visit Summer Bear at www.summerbear.org.