Thursday, September 5, 2013

Eat Your Greens: Crave-able Broccoli

I love broccoli. So do my kids (thank goodness). But even when you love it, plain steamed broccoli every night can get a little bit dull. And it's especially boring (though convenient) if you microwave it thanks to today's modern steam-in bags, or even in a pot. This way is a little more delicious, it's easy, plus it makes you feel like you REALLY know how to work in a kitchen ;)

This recipe is adapted from a Rachael Ray recipe I saw on her show years ago, as I sat at a cafe table in a student lounge as a fourth year college student. Tired and hungry, as I was pregnant with my eldest, I made sure I made good mental notes as I watched. I went home that evening and tried it out. I would have ate the entire thing myself probably had my husband not been there. Over the years I've tweaked it slightly but the basic recipe is still a favorite around here.

You'll need:
1 large head of fresh broccoli
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3-4 cloves minced garlic (1 1/2-2 teaspoons if you chose the pre-minced variety)
Salt & Pepper to taste

Wash and cut broccoli into 1/4-1/2 inch (at the stem) pieces - I always cut the bottom inch to two inches of the stem off as they tend to be dry and a bit tough to chew. Coat broccoli (I use my hands for this part), leaf to stem, with about 1 1/2 tablespoons of your olive oil. Rub minced garlic over broccoli (again, I use my hands), focusing mostly on the leafy part, but making sure to get some on the stems as well. I always use more garlic rather than less, but if you prefer, use less. Don't be fooled by the strong smell, it doesn't taste nearly as strong on the broccoli as it smells. Place broccoli on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Drizzle with remaining olive oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Bake in oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 30-35 minutes, or until leaves start to brown around the edges.

This broccoli turns out slightly crunchy on the tops with a much richer flavor than traditional steamed broccoli.

What variations do you make to traditional favorites to add some spice to your home-cooking??