Stuffed artichokes are one of the comfort foods of my childhood. Many people are put off by fresh artichokes because they've never cooked them before. The first picture shows my finished artichoke. It is WAY overstuffed. I'm not used to making one at a time and I got carried away with the amount of stuffing. The stuffing is seasoned breadcrumbs and some Parmesan cheese. Romano cheese works well also. The artichokes of my childhood used Progresso seasoned breadcrumbs and tasted great. For this one here, I started with plain white breadcrumbs and added some basil, oregano, thyme, Romano cheese and salt.
Start out by washing the artichoke. Cut the stem off and save it. Then, holding it by the bottom, turn it over and bang it on the top of counter or table. This will open it up a bit and make it easier to stuff. You can take a scissors and cut the points off of the leaves, but I only do this if I'm serving them to company. Hold out each leaf as you put stuffing in. After you've stuffed them, put them into a pot that they fit snugly in and add an inch of water. Pour some olive oil into them and throw in the stems that you cut off into the pot also. I love to eat the stems, so don't throw them away until you've tried them. You'll need to cook (actually steam) them covered at a low boil for about an hour or until a leaf that you remove is tender. Replenish the water as it boils away.
To eat the artichoke. Remove each leaf and scrape the breadcrumbs as well as the bit of artichoke with your teeth. No silverware is required. Use your hands. When you get to the point that the artichokes looks like this picture, you still have the best part left, the heart. Pull off what's left. It will look like the next picture.
Underneath it may look like the picture at the top of the post. Scoop out the choke that you see and discard the it leaving just the bottom, also called the heart. It tastes delicious and if you saved a little of the stuffing from the leaves as you ate them, you can put some stuffing in it and eat it. It's my favorite part. The heart is the reward you get for scraping all those leaves.
Finally, I have one last tip. When you finish eating an artichoke, you will have a pile of leaves. Do not put them down a garbage disposal. They are rather fibrous and may upset the disposal an/or plumbing. It's better, for environment to compost them anyway.