Loccoli, we all like broccoli

Me, sighing, as I take a bite of spinach: I just love vegetables.
Merrie, sighing, in response: I just love sugar.

Okay, so Lauren at Pretending to Farm told me recently she’s awash with broccoli down in Arizona. So let’s talk broccoli.

Bush the elder banned it from the White House. One in six children think it’s a baby tree (and hey, you can blow up balloons with your ear; who knew?). In fact, it’s an edible flower, chock full o’ vitamin C, iron, vitamin A, potassium, magnesium, zinc, and other cancer-fighting good stuff. Guess that’s why this guy feels strongly enough about the vegetable to join anti-porn demonstrations and a beam-me-up UFO convention…dressed as broccoli.

But, um, whaddya’ do with it?

Two nights ago, we did what we’ve been doing with all foods in my cooktop-free world: we roasted it. Just cut it small, placed it in a pan, drizzled it with olive oil, and then sprinkled parmesan cheese on it. Not so much that it was coated in cheese; just enough that some stuck to the bottom of the pan. The flavor gets absorbed as it cooks, I think. You’ll want to place it in a preheated 400 degree oven (that’s my default roasting temperature these days) for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, just until you see a tiny bit of brown.


Okay, so that doesn’t look beautiful, but we all ate it pretty happily. And Merrie? My 5-year old? Loved the stuff. Loved it! She liked it so much that she was crushed when dear Mr. Cleaner Plate Club accidentally threw out the leftovers that she’d hoped to take to school for lunch (I love you honey, I do. But please, please next time your 5-year old is excited to bring broccoli to school for lunch? PLEASE don’t send it into the waste bin).

There’s endless variations on this concept. Kai mentioned in a previous comment that she likes it roasted with lemon and garlic. Teri’s kitchen does the parmesan thing, but adds garlic and marjoram to hers. And, ooh, here’s a teriyaki version that I might try. And, oh, hey, here’s a different Asian-inspired version. If you want to get all sophisticated with the stuff, you can try making an infused oil version, courtesy of this blogger, who’s dedicated enough to dream about broccoli at the gym. I mean, this gal is serious.

Me? Not quite as serious. But I like my broccoli. I like even better that my family likes their broccoli.

And, since it’s been a while, why not close with a few haiku on the subject?

Oh, great green flower:
My kid eats you with gusto!
For you? Gratitude.

Really, broccoli:
What did H.W. know?
You’re tasty, cooked right.

(Let’s blame Barbara Bush,
Modern Marie Antoinette.
Cook more, Babs. Talk less).

A sprinkle of cheese,
A drizzle of olive oil…
Booyah! That ain’t bad!

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11 Responses to “Loccoli, we all like broccoli”

  1. 1 villiers April 27, 2007 at 4:11 pm

    Creamy peanut sauce
    Embraces the broccoli
    With coconut love.

    Here’s what we had last night–it requires a cooktop, but maybe you can file it away. Oh yeah, and maybe all that coconut milk and peanut butter isn’t exactly the healthiest combination, but you only live once!

    Stir fry 1 T Thai red curry paste in oil for 1 minute. Add some cubed chicken and fry until cooked through. Add 1 can coconut milk, 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter, and 2 T soy sauce. Stir until the peanut butter blends with the coconut milk; bring to a boil. Add some chopped broccoli and simmer until the broccoli is cooked.

  2. 2 ExPat Chef April 27, 2007 at 8:23 pm

    I had a harder time selling broccoli to the Toddler One, so I switched up to broccolini. More tender and sweet, this one scores well with all of us. Kiddo will even it steamed, no sauce or anything. I will try the roasted trick, if it ever shows up at the farmers markets. Weather has not been kind this year.

  3. 3 Andrea April 28, 2007 at 1:38 am

    Here’s my favorite way to do broccoli:

    I preheat the oven broiler.
    Then I melt some butter and stir in some minced garlic, and I brush the garlic butter onto the broccoli, which I’ve laid out in a single layer on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.
    I broil it for 5-8 minutes, and while it’s broiling, I make another round of garlic butter, only this time I add brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, and some red pepper flakes. I brush this mixture onto the broccoli, return to the broiler, and broil for 5-8 more minutes, moving the broccoli around with a spatula a couple of times so it doesn’t burn.
    It’s done when the broccoli is slightly brown and withery.
    My dad, who is a sworn broccoli hater, took a second helping when I made it for him a few weeks ago.

  4. 4 pamelotta April 28, 2007 at 3:38 am

    It appears you are reading minds again. I have an all day meeting tomorrow and I just told my husband tonight that I would prepare some broccoli for him to roast tomorrow for the kids (along with leftover pizza. Gotta balance it all out somehow!) I said I’d cut it up and set out all the ingredients and write down all the times and temps and all he would have to do is turn on the oven and put it in. Then I got home and read your post and there it is, complete with pictures.

    I’ll let you know how my family likes it. We’ve got kids ages 1, 3, 5, and 8. If this works, I will fix it every night!

  5. 5 Meredith April 28, 2007 at 1:42 pm

    We are lucky in that our kids LOVE broccoli. I love it, too. Minimalists (read: time crunched)that we are, we eat it steamed. Plain. Boring, I know. But sometimes we “fancy” it up by mixing it into a pot of Annie’s shells n’ cheese.

    Your roasted parm broccoli and Andrea’s recipe sound yummy! Must give both recipes a whirl.

  6. 6 Niki April 28, 2007 at 2:30 pm

    I make a szechuan brocoli – and also green beans. Saute in sesame oil, garlic, salt and red pepper flakes. The heat is a bit much for the boy, so I keep some flakeless to the side. It’s good both straight from the pan and room temperature as a side at a picnic.

  7. 7 pnuts mama April 28, 2007 at 9:26 pm

    we do the same as meredith- we steam it in the microwave in a veggie steamer (kinda looks like a salad spinner) for about 3-4 minutes and it’s heaven.

    if i have a ton of it i whip it up w/ some pasta and grilled chicken and olive oil, garlic and romano cheese. mmm.

    ps bought asparagus yesterday- roasting this evening!

  8. 8 pamelotta April 30, 2007 at 4:49 pm

    Loved the broccoli. All kids loved it. It’s officially a hit. I need to find a supplier!

  9. 9 Kai May 1, 2007 at 2:46 pm

    I made the Asian-inspired version you linked to and it was YUMMY! Thanks for inspiring us all to eat more broccoli!

  10. 10 cleanerplateclub May 1, 2007 at 2:46 pm

    Villiers – nice one! And you even captured that Japanesy-ancient-haiku feel. And your recipe? We’re tryin’ it. Someday. When we can ever sautee again.

    And all those other suggestions? Expect to see them soon. Unless they require a cooktop. In which case, expect to see them “someday.”

    As for steaming, I discovered the BEST THING EVER RECENTLY. Which is that our rice cooker – which is truly one of the best things I own, as it makes a perfect pot of rice every single time, and never ever burns – has an attachment that allows veggies to steam easily as the rice is cooking. I’m telling you, it’s genius. You minimalists would LOVE IT. I’m going to do a post on my rice cooker soon. Because it rocks my world.

    Pamelotta – I am so glad it was a hit. I have to say, I was nervous. NERVOUS. When I read that your husband was preparing it for dinner? Oh, my. The pressure. So relieved the family liked it!

  11. 11 Lauren Dillon May 4, 2007 at 8:34 pm

    Oh, I am so-to-the-tearing-up here. A blog post for medium ol’ me. I’m touched; I’m verklempt; I’m gassy from eating so much broccoli. It’s almost gone (the broccoli not the gas) but the cauliflower is coming soon followed by pounds and pounds and did-I-say-pounds of zucchini. Rev up the recipes, dear one. The garden is a veritable cornocopia (SP?) of vegetables waiting for you to tell me what to do with them.

    Thanks for the post, oh cool one.


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