In Praised of Roasted Broccoli

roasted broccoli
roasted broccoli

My kids were never that into broccoli—that is, until I made roasted broccoli. I wouldn’t say they beg me to make it on a regular basis, but they will actually eat a delicious serving of tender, roasted broccoli. I try to buy broccoli at our local farmer’s market, because it really does taste better than your average bunch of grocery store broccoli. After reading Tamar Adler’s An Everlasting Meal, I started getting into the habit of roasting a big bunch of broccoli during the weekend. Roasting broccoli is the easiest thing ever: chop broccoli into bite-sized pieces (kids can help with this), line a sheet pan with parchment paper, toss the broccoli with olive oil and salt and pepper (and any other seasonings of your choice), and roast in a 425˚F oven for about 25 minutes. Broccoli can go from perfectly roasted to burnt in a matter of minutes, so I tend to keep an eye on it: opening the oven and stirring the broccoli ever few minutes. Once the broccoli has cooled, it will keep in the fridge for about a week. It’s super convenient to quickly heat it up as a side dish or toss it into salads or soups. The best thing about buying broccoli and immediately roasting it is that you tend to eat it before it languishes in the back of crisper drawer and becomes sad, forgotten, stinky, half rotten broccoli (we’ve all been there).

Lily chopping broccoli
Lily chopping broccoli

6 Nov 2012: Tuna Pasta Salad

lunch on 6 November 2012
lunch on 6 November 2012
lunch on 6 November 2012

Yesterday, it was a hot day on the Central Coast. A go to the beach just to stick your feet in the cold ocean I don’t want to turn on the oven type of day. Last night’s dinner was tuna pasta salad with broccoli and edamame. That’s it. No sides. It was all I could muster in the heat (we don’t have air conditioning). Iain said, “Dinner is kind of small tonight.” To which I replied: “See that big bowl of pasta salad? Just help yourself to some more.” Today’s lunch is—surprise—left over tuna pasta salad. On the side: pretzel fish and Crispix cereal (my kids are fascinated by its similarity to Chex), grapes and persimmon slices.

Cooking Tip: Heat Wave Tuna Pasta Salad

  • 12 oz. pasta
  • 12 oz. tuna (2 cans)
  • a small head of broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1.5 –2 cups frozen edamame
  • dressing of your choice

Boil the pasta in well salted water and add the broccoli in the last 5 minutes of cooking. Add the edamame in the last 2 minutes of cooking. When pasta is cooked, drain and toss with tuna and dressing. The dressing can be almost anything. I used a combination of plain Greek yogurt (about 1/2 a cup), mayo (2 heaping tablespoons) and balsamic vinaigrette (2–3 tablespoons). I sprinkled on a salt-free spice mix (Bragg Organic Sprinkle). You could add just about anything to this salad to liven it up: cherry tomatoes, olives, capers, scallions, garlic, etc. But, in a heat wave, one gets lazy.

 

21 Sept 2012: Tuna Melt of Awesomeness

lunch on 21 Sept 2012
lunch on 21 Sept 2012
lunch on 21 Sept 2012

Yesterday’s Veggie-laden Tuna Salad of Awesomeness is back: this time in the guise of a tuna melt. I think a tuna melt is comfort food perfection. A normal person might make a tuna melt on an english muffin or a nice crusty piece of bread. Unfortunately, on Thursday I found myself out of bread. No loaves, no skinny breads, no english muffins, no biscuits. Nothing. My saving grace: a batch of no-knead whole wheat olive oil dough in the fridge. Have you tried no-knead bread? It’s amazing stuff. When my good friend, the talented and amazing Jason O’Malley told me about Healthy Bread in Five Minutes A Day, it changed my life. Now, I almost always have some bread dough on hand for pizzas, flatbread, rolls, mini tuna melts, whatever. For the tuna melt, I simple pinched off a small piece of dough, flattened it into a circle, spread on the tuna salad, topped with shredded cheddar and baked at 450 for about 15 minutes. On the side is some steamed broccoli I prepped for dinner and a fruit course of grapes and nectarines. All produce is from the farmers market, so it’s especially delicious. The broccoli tasted amazing without even a sprinkling of salt.