¨ If the artichokes have little thorns on the end of the leaves, cut off the thorned tips of all of the leaves.
¨ Slice about 3/4 inch to an inch off the tip of the artichoke.
¨ Pull off any smaller leaves towards the base.
¨ Cut excess stem, leaving up to an inch on the artichoke.
¨ Rinse artichokes under running cold water.
¨ In a large pot, put a couple inches of water, a clove of garlic, a slice of lemon, and a bay leaf (this adds wonderful flavor to the artichokes). Insert a steaming basket. Add the artichokes. Cover. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 25 to 45 minutes or until the outer leaves can easily be pulled off. Note: artichokes can also be cooked in a pressure cooker (about 15-20 minutes cooking time). Cooking time depends on how large the artichoke is, the larger, the longer it takes to cook.
¨ To serve, transfer to a plate. Pull off an outer petal; dip white fleshy end in melted butter or sauce. Tightly grip the other end of the petal. Place in mouth, dip side down, and pull through teeth to remove soft, pulpy, delicious portion of the petal. Discard remaining petal.