pnms-eatingwell-012809 Healthy resolution: Make vegetables more interesting

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Did you make a New Year’s resolution?
I did. It’s going to be an easy one to keep, because it doesn’t involve improving my character, shedding pounds, doing jumping jacks or saving money. None of the seven deadly sins is implicated, with the exception of a bite of gluttony.
The idea for it came to me during dinner on New Year’s Eve when I glanced at my plate, hoping for another forkful of mushroom tart: I could resolve to eat more vegetables. That sounds self-righteously abstemious (isn’t that the point of resolutions?) as opposed to my husband’s yearly resolve to eat more standing rib roast of beef and drink more champagne. (As though we could afford to have a standing rib roast more than once a year!)
What vegetables would I be eating more of, I ruminated – and how much is more? A tablespoon, or a cupful? I was trying to get that resolved when a vision of steamed broccoli appeared before my wondering eyes. And that is when I got my new New Year’s resolution, and it’s the one I’m sticking with: I’ll make vegetables, especially broccoli, more interesting.

SUBHED Parmesan Pan-Roasted Broccoli
This recipe is from “Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics” by Ina Garten, published by Clarkson Potter in 2008.
This recipe of Garten’s changes our old standby broccoli into something very special. Try it; you’ll love it!
4 to 5 pounds broccoli
4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
Good olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons julienned fresh basil leaves (about 12 leaves)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Cut the broccoli florets from the thick stalks, leaving an inch or two of stalk attached to the florets, discarding the rest of the stalks. Cut the larger pieces through the base of the head with a small knife, pulling the florets apart. You should have about 8 cups of florets. Place the broccoli florets on a sheet pan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Toss the garlic on the broccoli and drizzle with 5 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until crisp-tender and the tips of some of the florets are browned.
Remove the broccoli from the oven and immediately toss with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, the lemon zest, lemon juice, pine nuts, Parmesan, and basil. Serve hot.
Serves 6.
SUBHED-Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with Sautéed Broccoli Rabe
This beautiful, aromatic presentation of the healthful broccoli rabe is from Myra Kornfeld’s “The Healthy Hedonist Holidays: A Year of Multicultural Vegetarian-Friendly Feasts,” published by Simon & Schuster in 2007.
MINISUBHED-Roasted Tomatoes
1 pint cherry tomatoes
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 fresh rosemary sprigs
MINISUBHED-Broccoli Rabe
2 bunches broccoli rabe (1 1/2 pounds)
4 whole garlic cloves
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Spread the tomatoes on a small baking dish (8-by-8-inch Pyrex is ideal).
Drizzle the tomatoes with the olive oil, vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, a sprinkling of black pepper, and the sliced garlic. Tuck the rosemary among the tomatoes. Roast, uncovered, 30 minutes, until the tomatoes are shriveled and juicy. Discard the rosemary.
Meanwhile, cut off the hard stems of the broccoli rabe. Blanch the greens in a large pot of boiling salted water until bright green, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove to a bowl filled with cold or ice water to stop the cooking.
Drain the greens and cut them into bite-size pieces.
Smash the whole garlic cloves. Warm the oil with the garlic in a large skillet over medium heat until the garlic is lightly golden, about 2 to 3 minutes. Immediately add the greens and stir to heat through and combine. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Gently stir in the tomatoes. Serve immediately.
Serves 4.
SUBHED-Cauliflower with Olives and Red Pepper
This recipe is from “The Healthy Hedonist Holidays” by Myra Konrnfeld, published by Simon & Schuster in 2007.
1 medium cauliflower (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into medium florets (about 7 cups)
1 red bell pepper, cut into slices 1/2 inch wide and 2 inches long
2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, quartered
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Toss the cauliflower and red pepper in a medium bowl, with just enough oil to coat, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a sprinkling of black pepper.
Spread the vegetables on a parchment-covered baking sheet and roast. After 15 minutes, stir. When the cauliflower starts to turn golden, after another 15 minutes, sprinkle the olives among the vegetables. Return the sheet to the oven and roast an additional 10 minutes or so, until the cauliflower is deeply golden and the olives start to shrivel.
Sprinkle the vegetables with the parsley right before serving. Serve hot.
Serves 4 to 6.
SUBHED-Baked Sweet Potato Fries
Ina Garten’s “Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics,” published by Clarkson Potter in 2008, has this great recipe for making sweet potatoes something special.
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled
2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for sprinkling
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Halve the sweet potatoes lengthwise and cut each half into 3 long spears. Place them on a sheet pan and toss with the olive oil. Spread the potatoes in one layer. Combine the brown sugar, salt, and pepper and sprinkle on the potatoes. Bake for 15 minutes and then turn with a spatula. Bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Sprinkle lightly with salt and serve hot.
Serves 4.