Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Ode to Broccoli

Broccoli is a vegetable that is a go-to for us. For some reason my mother was able to convince me that the "little trees" were yummy, so it's a vegetable I've always eaten. It's also one of the veggies she always made from fresh... so... I'm just saying that might have had something to do with it. Fresh is best! One of the best ways to incorporate veggies into your diet is a side dish at dinner. I know...duh! Seems so simple but many nights I completely forget to plan a vegetable.

So here my best Broccoli advice! It is good prepared several different ways: steamed, sauteed, roasted, and for some people raw. I don't like raw broccoli but that's just me. When I cook it I cut into the smallest pieces possible so I can take small bites of it along with something else on my plate that is not a vegetable. Actually I do this with all my veggies. They hide better that way.

Salt & Fresh cracked Pepper or Montreal Steak Seasoning - a little trick I learned from Rachael Ray.
Steamer basket

Prepare the saucepan with about an inch or so of water. Once the water is simmering place the steamer basket inside and drop in your broccoli pieces. Cook to your preferred doneness. This is a point of contention at our house as my hub likes his broccoli bright green with a little crunch and I like mine slightly less bright and softer. We're working on a happy medium, but I keep telling myself that less cooked is better for you. Anyway, 5-7 minutes should do the trick. Add a little S & P and you're good to go. Or you might try Montreal steak seasoning. I know it sounds weird but it's a little spicy and quite delish! Also try to forgo the butter. It really doesn't need it.

Oil - I usually use Olive oil
S&P or Montreal Steak Seasoning
Sautee pan

Heat a bit of oil in a sautee pan, try not to use too much just enough to not burn your broccoli. Start with about a teaspoon or so and work from there. Toss in your broccoli, and season. Cook till it looks right. If you're not sure you can always pull a piece out and taste along the way. I'm not a huge fan of sauteed broccoli. I think it tastes funny but Josh likes it! Go figure.

Recently I have discovered roasted broccoli.  Mmmm! So good! Nutty and delicious and everyone agrees on it. Not as quick and easy as the other methods but worth a little extra time and prep. I found a great recipe for roasted cauliflower in Bob Harpers book "Skinny Rules." I thought it worth a try since I only knew one way to cook cauliflower before that and it included a lot of butter. Which may make a delicious post one day. Anyway, I decided to try this same method on broccoli and it was just as yummy.

Olive Oil
Sheet tray

First step is to boil a large pot of water and preheat the oven to 450. Once you've got your broccoli all cut up and rinsed drop it in and boil for 3 minutes. Avoid the temptation to cook it longer. It'll work I promise! Now drain it and pat dry. Place in a pan. I use a sheet tray but you could use any glass baking dish. I also line it with foil so as not to dirty it. Fewer dishes? Yes please! Once you've got it all in the pan drizzle with olive oil and season. Now get in there and toss to coat all the broccoli. If it's too hot use tongs. Roast in the oven for 12 minutes.

It almost seems silly to write an entire post about how to cook broccoli but I think learning to prepare veggies the way you like them is important. Keep trying till you find a way you love it. You'll eat more that way.

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