Monday, May 16, 2011

Just Say No to Eating Animals Monday: Volume 23 I’ve got my Vegetarian Card Back!

All of my life, I’ve been called a finicky eater.  I still can’t imagine that there are that many people in America that just eat stuff that doesn’t taste good to them by choice.  My mother used to say I didn’t like vegetables.  She was wrong.  As an adult, I’ve been able to remind her of just how wrong she was.  I just didn’t like many vegetables.  Ironically, I happened to only like some of the powerhouses in the vegetable world.  I always loved fresh cabbage, roasted sweet potatoes (completely unadorned), fresh string beans, and collard greens.  If that was all I ate now, I would undoubtedly live well pass, I’d say 200 years old with the energy and vigor of a 17 year old kid.

My dislike for a larger number of vegetables sparked a battle of wills even when I was 9. My mother made me sit at the table all day at my Aunt Helen’s house because I hated peas.  Sitting at the table wasn’t that bad because my sister turned the channels and I watched everything from that table including Under Dog, Day of Our Life, The Doctors, Another World, and Super Friends.

Even as an adult, one of the biggest disagreements my husband and I have ever had is over a certain nearby Middle Eastern restaurant where I don’t love the food, like he does.  I’ve always found this one odd because, we don’t eat the same things at that restaurant.  He’s eating animals and I’m not. 

So it is with great joy that I can drop my long running line about one of the kings in the vegetarian diet.  I no longer hate broccoli.   For years, I’ve told people not to tell because the Vegetarian Purist Police would take away my membership if they knew how much I despised broccoli and tofu (yep, there will be a future recipe featuring tofu as well). In fact, I love broccoli, as long as it’s prepared in the manner I describe below.  I could eat it all day.  I could eat it alone, the entire head of broccoli.  Who needs anything else if they can eat broccoli prepared this way.  It also satisfies the requirements of many in being easy and fast (no really, it is).

Oven Roasted Broccoli w/ Preserved Meyer Lemon


1 large head broccoli (about 1 3/4 pounds) 
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon table salt
½ teaspoon sugar
2 wedges of Preserved Meyer Lemon

Place oven rack in its lowest position; place a large rimmed baking sheet, covered with foil, on rack, and pre-heat oven to 500 degrees.

 Cut broccoli at juncture of florets and stems; remove outer peel from stalk (if you don’t do this it will be tough).   Cut stalks into 2 inch pieces that are no more than ½ inch thick (it’s easier for chewing this way)
Place broccoli in large bowl; toss with oil.   Add salt, sugar, and pepper to taste and toss to combine.
Take hot baking sheet out of oven. Place broccoli on baking sheet and place florets and stems flat-side down.   
Roast until stalks are caramelized and florets are browned about 10 minutes. Chop wedges of preserved lemon (rind and all).  Toss with broccoli and serve.   If you have any left it is equally delicious cold or as an addition the next morning to farm eggs for an omelet.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Starting Seeds: The Urban Edition

I’ve been a bit busy recently. In addition to being the best wife, daughter, sister, and lawyer that I can be, I’m a student in the University of Illinois Master Gardener program. This entails real quizzes, assignments, and even a final exam. I’ve been tested on everything from soil to parasitic wasps, with not so minor detours into stormwater runoff and vermiculture.
Here’s the irony… I’m way behind in my vegetable gardening for the year. I suspect I will do like many home gardeners, both urban and rural, and buy plants. Most of my tender and warm-loving crops, like watermelon, cucumbers, okra, and runner beans don’t require transplanting, so as soon as I’m done with this final exam, I’m getting those crops into the Earthboxes – especially given this week’s forecast of warm days and well-above-freezing nights.
One of the things that is of particular interest to me is urban vegetable gardening. But I’m interested in a subset of urban vegetable gardening, specifically those with very little, if any, land. The lack of land is one aspect of urban dwelling that knows no socio-economic boundaries.
Continue reading over at The Local Beet...

Monday, May 2, 2011

Just Say No to Eating Animals Monday, Volume 22: Just Bubble, No Squeak a Royal Dish

Many of you know that I live with folks from across the pond, namely my husband and Mum-in-Law.

So in honor of all the upcoming weddings this summer, here’s a dish that’s easy, and more importantly, will leave you no bigger than the Duchess of Cambridge (that seems to be of major importance to many brides-to-be).

Bubble and Squeak is a traditional Monday dish, fancy that, served in the UK.  It was originally left over cabbage and potatoes, or other vegetables, from Sunday Roast (think the American idea of Sunday Dinner) along with a meat, frequently sausages, bangers.  This humble dish, is such a part of the national fabric it actually did appear at the reception after the royal wedding!

Just Bubble, No Squeak

1 large head of Cabbage, approximately 2 lbs.
2 cloves of garlic
1 large onion
1 T. grapeseed oil

Roughly chop cabbage and onion.  Finely chop garlic.

Heat oil in pan until it glistens.  Add the garlic and stir until lightly golden and fragrant, approximately 1 minute.

Add cabbage and onion.  Cook until wilted and tender, approximately 4-5 minutes over medium high heat.