Monday, February 18, 2008

Broccoli Week

Thanks for your patience! Everything is back up and normal now. And for all that, I am calling broccoli week a resounding success!

The first thing I learned about broccoli, on day one of the week, was that it tends to make me gag a little (just a little though). Why then do I call broccoli week a success? Well, because, by the end of the week, I determined ways to make broccoli entirely edible. I've effectively transformed something un-liked to something reasonably tolerated. I'm slowly but surely gaining dominion over my taste buds. This, my friends, is what vegetablesarefriends is all about!

Helping broccoli's cause was the fact that the cafeteria does not know how to cook it at all. My first encounters with the substance (as in the hands of mass cooking it ceases to be what I can in good conscience term a "vegetable") were there, and as such I started the week with very low expectations. The broccoli cheese soup was viscous and far closer to a solid than any soup should feel comfortable being. My new rule on cafeteria soups is that if my spoon can rest on the skim on top for five minutes without sinking, I should probably avoid it. I also tried the cafeteria's steamed, seasoned broccoli with equally off-putting results. I was despondent, but luckily had the sage words of my broccoli-eating friends to assure me that broccoli in the world outside the cafeteria is significantly more palatable.

So began the transformation! I made the casserole suggested in the comments, and it was well received. At this point, I was still not entirely won over to broccoli yet, but I did find it went down much easier. I also made some broccoli cornbread, which was again tasty. Cheese and broccoli, as everyone kept saying, do go well together. I had intended to make a broccoli recipe I saw in the NY Times food section earlier in the week, but couldn't get all of the ingredients. But really, I feel like the intent alone should count for something.

I tried steamed broccoli again and outside the cafeteria and it was light years ahead of what I had previously consumed. I also gave raw broccoli a go, which, given the right dip, wasn't bad at all either. In fact, I think I prefer it possibly to cooked stuff. Next time I'm at a party or reception with a veggie tray and dip, I shall experiment further.

So ends another fun, veggie-filled week. Perhaps I'll buy some more broccoli soon and blend it with bell peppers for a mean stir fry! But for now, I'm looking to the future:

Next week: green beans!


Melody said...

FYI Trader Joe's sells packages of green beans that you can microwave and drain real fast and taste amazing with a little butter melted over them.

Susan Thompson said...

I'm not much of a green bean eater, but the thin-sliced green beans go well with slivered almonds. And I bet flavored almonds would be even better than plain, along with a little melted butter.

And then there's that green bean casserole that everyone eats at Thanksgiving. The one with the crunchy onion topping that is made by French's or Durkee. I assume you can get a recipe for that since everyone in the country has had it at one time or another, but if you don't have the recipe, let me know and I'll hunt it down.

Susan T.

Baryka said...

Susan, you're amazing! :) I'm so proud of you that you aren't giving up! So... I have no recipe or suggestion for you since I don't like cooking as you know. But because I'd like to help, I'll ask Jirka if he doesn't have any good ideas ;) Looking forward to the beans news.

Melissa K. said...

Broccoli is best when you take a slice of cheese and melt it over the top like a nice sauce (cut it into little pieces, add a bit of milk so it doesn't burn, and microwave until it's smooth and creamy).

I don't have any tips for you re: green beans (besides Green Bean Casserole, which is food of the Gods), but try soy beans sometime. You can find bags of them in the frozen foods section--you should try making them as Edamame, which is super super delicious.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad that you've realized how much the form and cooking style affects the taste -- and that veggie appreciation (like opera and poety?) takes some time and effort.

Green bean casserole, yes!
Some chinese restaurants do a nice job with a green-bean stir fry. I think it even has a name.
Don't try the canned version, but 3-bean salad can be very good.
Newman's balsemic dressing is really good.


megan said...

I know I told you this in person, but my favorite green beans are the kind out of the can. Man, I could eat those things forever...My favorite brand is the one with the green label (I'm not sure of the exact name), but pretty much all of the companies add a bunch of sodium to the beans, so they can't possibly be bad. You might experiment with the different cuts of canned green beans as well--French style might suit your pseudo-European ways.