1 cup of mayonnaise ( homemade or store bought)
1/2 a vanilla bean (slice the vanilla bean lengthways - open up the flesh and scrape out the tasty beans - don't throw out the flesh but place it inside a jar of sugar to infuse it.)
Mix together the mayonnaise and the vanilla - let it sit in the fridge.
Cooking the Artichokes
If the artichokes have little thorns on the ends of their leaves, take kitchen scissors and cut off the tips. This step is mostly for aesthetics as the thorns soften with cooking and pose no threat to the person eating the artichoke. But snipping them off will make the artichokes easier to handle.
Slice about 3/4 inch to an inch off the tip of the artichoke. A serrated bread knife works great for this.
Cut off excess stem, leaving up to an inch on the artichoke. The stems can be more bitter than the rest of the artichoke, but some people like to eat them. The inner cores of the stems taste like the heart.
Rinse the artichokes in running cold water. While you rinse them, open up the leaves a little so that the water gets inside more easily.
In a large pot, put a couple inches of water, the garlic, a slice of lemon, and a bay leaf (this adds wonderful flavor to the artichokes). Insert a steaming basket.
Place artichokes on top of the steaming basket. Cover the pot. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer.
Cook for 25 to 35 minutes or longer, until the outer leaves can easily be pulled off.
Artichokes may be eaten cold or hot, but I think they are much better hot. They are served with a dip, either melted butter or mayonnaise. My favourite dip is 1 cup mayo with 1/2 a vanilla bean mixed in.