STEAMING ARTICHOKES: This technique, we found, yields a more intensely flavored vegetable. Fill a large pot, fitted with a steamer insert, with 3" of water. Bring the water to a boil over high heat, place the artichokes in the steamer, cover, and cook until tender, about 30-40 minutes. Test for doneness by carefully plucking a large, outer leaf from the artichoke. If it pulls out easily, the artichoke is done.
BOILING ARTICHOKES: If you prefer your artichokes boiled, put them in a large pot of salted water to cover, and weigh them down with a heavy heat-proof plate so that they remain submerged. Bring water to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer artichokes over medium-high heat until tender, about 30-40 minutes. Some cooks add lemon, milk, or even flour to the water to prevent them from blackening. In our experience, they'll turn olive drab no matter what you do—which we don't mind at all.