1 or more artichokes (depending on the size of the steaming basket)
1 clove of garlic
1 lemon slice
1 bay leaf
Slice about 3/4 inch to an inch off the tips of the artichokes and pull off any smaller leaves toward the base and on the stem. Cut excess stem, leaving up to an inch, then rinse the artichokes in running cold water.
In a large pot, put a couple inches of water, a garlic clove, a slice of lemon, and a bay leaf. Insert the steaming basket and add the artichokes, stem side up, and cover. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer, cooking for 25 to 45 minutes until the leaves can be easily pulled off. The larger the artichokes, the longer it takes to cook.
Eat cold or hot, but I think they are much better hot. Serve with a dip, either melted butter or mayonnaise with balsamic vinegar. Pull off the outer petals, one at a time, and dip the white end. Tightly grip the other end of the petal while placing in mouth, dip side down, and pulling through teeth to remove the soft, pulpy, delicious portion of the petal. Discard the remaining petal. Continue until all the petals are removed.
With a spoon, scrape out and discard the inedible fuzzy part covering the artichoke heart. Cut the heart into pieces and dip and eat.
serves 1 or more