Say Okie-Doke to Artichokes!

The cost of buying fruits and vegetables can empty out your wallet mighty fast. But you’ll always save big bucks if you stick to buying produce that’s in season. That’s great news, because this month, artichokes are at the peak of freshness. Sure they’re funny looking, but artichokes offer amazing health benefits. They’re loaded with luteolin, which helps battle cancer and heart disease. They’re also full of fiber, which aids digestion.

But whatever you do, don’t wipe out the healthy benefits by dipping your ’chokes in melted butter. Try this colorful Gazpacho Dip instead. It comes from the California Artichoke Board, and it’s packed with plenty of life-prolonging ingredients:

½ lb. ripe tomatoes, chopped and seeded
1½ tbsp. tomato paste
2 tsp. red wine vinegar
2 tsp. fresh lime juice
1½ tsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. finely chopped shallots
¼ cup chopped sweet green pepper
2 tsp.  chopped fresh dill
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp. red pepper sauce
4 medium fresh artichokes, boiled

In a blender or food processor, whirl the tomatoes, tomato paste, vinegar, lime juice, and oil until blended. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Stir in the shallots, sweet pepper, dill, black pepper, and pepper sauce. Cover and chill. To serve, pull the petals from the artichokes one at a time, dip into the gazpacho, and scrape off the tender part with your teeth. (Yield: 4 servings.)