Vegetables Every Day

Vegetables Every Day
Carrot Tarator with Beets

Sunday, July 3, 2011

When life gives you lemons, make salad

Sorry to leave my faithful readers (both of you) hanging for the continuation of the side salad saga: Creations from Citrus. Our lemon tree is full (again) of nicely ripe lemons, so lemons are used pretty liberally right now at my house. It would be a huge adjustment for me to have to cook without having a tree to pluck lemons whenever I need. Almost as bad as not having an herb garden. 

I have published some of my citrus-based side salads before, like Mediterranean Couscous Salad, Vegetable Rice Salad, Greek Salad, and Corn and Bean Salad. Interesting tidbit: lemon juice based dressings are common in Middle Eastern food, because they historically don’t drink alcohol… so no wine, no vinegar, no vinaigrette based dressings.

In general, the dressings are 4 parts olive oil to 3 parts lemon (or lime) juice plus herbs. Personally, I like lemons and the acid bite, so I typically do more like a 1:1 ratio. And if you are using Meyer lemons, I would reverse the ratio, 3:4 (more lemon juice) because they just are not as sour.  Lemons pair wonderfully with many different herbs (basil, parsley, thyme, dill, oregano, mint) and will keep them from turning brown.

Beet salads just have a spectacular color, especially if you use red beets. It is a bit of a pain to cook them, I try to do ahead if I’m baking something else, just refrigerate after they have cooled, and they will hold for a day or so.

Beet and Orange Salad

Serves 4

1 pound gold and/or red beets
2 oranges
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ a small red onion (or sweet white onion) thinly sliced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2-4 tablespoons chopped herbs, such as mint, dill, parley, or basil
Salt, Pepper
1 oz goat cheese

Cook the beets: Scrub and trim the beets. Halve if large. Put in a shallow glass baking dish, add a ½ inch of water and a drizzle of olive oil. Cover and cook for about 45 minutes in a 400F oven or until they are tender. Drain. When they are cool enough to handle, peel. (note – you can also peel them first then roast).

Prepare the oranges (start when the beets come out of the oven): Zest one of the oranges, put zest into bowl large enough to make the salad. Section the oranges by first cutting the peel off the top and bottom, then down the sides to expose the sections. With a small knife, cut out each section and put into the bowl. Catch the juice in the same bowl, and when the sections are out, squeeze any remaining juice from the membranes into the bowl. Add the lemon juice and onion slices plus a bit of salt to the oranges and let sit for 10 minutes.

Add the beets, olive oil, herbs and freshly ground pepper; stir to combine. Taste and add more salt or lemon juice if needed. Serve with goat cheese crumbles on top.

Have a happy and safe 4th of July!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Salad Days

The phrase was coined in Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra in 1606. In the speech at the end of Act One in which Cleopatra is regretting her youthful dalliances with Julius Caesar she says: "...My salad days, / When I was green in judgment, cold in blood… “ (thank you Wikipedia).

I had to look this up, because I always though it referred to days of being young and poor. Which never made sense, because I really never associated salads with being poor. But well, I was wrong. Which can be even more dangerous than not knowing.

Anyway, salad days at my house started Memorial Day weekend. I eat salads all year, but generally a main dish type salad for lunch (which is a topic for another day). I am talking about side salads: potato salad, chicken salad, green bean salad, bean and corn salad, couscous salad… those kind of salads. Salads that are convenient to take to the park for a concert on the lawn. Or the beach should the sun come out.

I also realized that I pretty much just use 3 different dressings for these kind salads: creamy dressing, lemon (or other citrus) & olive oil, or vinegar & olive oil. Various herbs or spices added as desired.

Creamy dressing is just a variant on mayonnaise. If I were the type to make homemade mayonnaise, I would just use that.  But raw eggs still scare me... and even if I'm OK with them, I'm not comfortable about serving them to guests.  So this is what I use:  A small spoonful of mayonnaise, a big spoonful of plain (preferably 2% Greek) yogurt, and a forkful of Dijon mustard. Maybe add some pepper. Mix together with the mustard fork. That’s it. How much depends on how much you need. Doing 1 egg salad sandwich, it will be a small spoon. Doing potato salad for a crowd? BIG spoon.

So a couple of notes on the yogurt. For the yogurt haters out there, you won’t know it’s there. At least nobody has mentioned that my potato salad tastes different than mom’s, and I use at least half yogurt, she uses all mayonnaise. However, one problem with using “normal” (not Greek) yogurt, is that you can get some water separating off. It’s ok at first, but in a day its really noticeable. This is not a problem with Greek yogurt, or plain yogurt that you have strained some water off of by putting in a strainer lined with a coffee filter or double thickness cheese cloth (which is how Greek yogurt is made). And last, the ratio between mayonnaise and yogurt is not that critical. If you are watching calories and/or sodium, use more yogurt. If you not sure about the whole yogurt thing, start with more mayonnaise (and gradually increase the yorgurt…)

Chicken Salad

This works with left-over roasted chicken (or turkey), or with chicken breasts simmered in chicken broth. I usually use grapes in the summer and apples in the winter (leave the skins on the apples) -- red apples look nicest.

About 4 servings

2 cups cooked chicken (2 - 3 half breasts)
1 cup seedless grapes or 1 - 2 apples, chopped
1/2 cup walnuts
2 ribs celery, sliced (optional)
1-2 green onions, thinly sliced

½ cup Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
salt (to taste -- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon)
pepper (to taste -- not too much)

Shred or cube chicken. Mix in fruits and vegetables. Mix remaining ingredients in small bowl. Pour dressing over chicken mixture, stir to combine. Serve chilled.

Potato Salad Like Moms

Serves 8 normal people, or 6 Normans.

8 medium potatoes, ~3 pounds (I like red potatoes for this, russets will work too)
5 hard-boiled eggs
½ onion, minced
Salt, Pepper

7 ounces Greek yogurt (1 container)
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Parsley, paprika as garnish

Boil the potatoes whole, with the skins on. Cook until just tender, which will be 15 – 25 minutes after they come to a boil. Remove from the water, and let cool. Peel the potatoes. If they are thin skinned, ok to not peel completely.

Make the dressing and set aside. Peel the eggs, set aside the prettiest one.

Make the salad in layers: Slice 2 potatoes into a large bowl, add one chopped hard-boiled egg, sprinkle with some onion, a little salt, and some pepper. Repeat until all of the potatoes are used.

Add part of the dressing. Stir to mix. Add a bit more, until its right (this will vary depending on what kind of potatoes, how warm they are, and how much dressing you like… Mom does not like too much dressing!)

Gently smooth the top, and put slices from the last egg on top, along with some parsley and paprika to garnish.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

You don’t know what you don’t know

This is an important lesson I learned from engineering project planning. You made plans based on what you knew, did risk assessments on things that might go wrong (based on past history), but the really bad problems were things that came out of the blue – things you didn’t know.

I was reminded of this lesson this week, during our session with Ethan’s personal trainer (also known as the treat lady). She figured out that Ethan is a bit territorial about the new rug in the front room (which after all, we did get for him as an alternative to scratching up the floor). And this leads to undesirable behavior when someone, even nice like the treat lady, walks near the rug. I got that he was territorial about the kitchen… but a rug?

One of the things that I don’t know (believe or not, there are a lot of things I don't know), and I don’t think is generally known (at least based on a few web searches), are levels of pesticides (and fungicides, herbicides, etc) in our dairy and meat products. Or for that matter, processed food. There is lots of publicity about pesticide levels in fruits and vegetables (the dirty dozen, the clean fifteen…), but is this the most important thing spend the extra money (and often time) to get organic?

Here is how I try to decide:
1. If organic is easily available, for a small premium (like 20%), just get the organic.
2. If you eat a lot of it, get organic
3. If there are other benefits (like less antibiotic resistant bacteria, or better-for-you fats) get organic.
4. Where the non-organic choice is GMO (i.e. corn, soy products)

I also just try to avoid produce that has been imported (since it typically has a higher level of pesticides/other chemicals), and don’t buy any food from China (organic or not – their food system is just too corrupt to trust), and farmed fish (with some exceptions for US-farmed trout). And skip “organic” salmon. This is another way to say “farmed” salmon. Go for wild. Also remember that “natural” on a package of food is a marketing term, not an indication of what’s in the package. As far as processed food (and that includes the food from restaurants): best bet is to keep minimize how much you are eating. Because even “organic” can be full of sugars, overly processed ingredients, and bad fats.

We eat a lot of apples and banana’s, they are easy to get organic, that’s easy. As far as vegetables, I try to get as much as possible at the farmers market, from suppliers that are organic or that don’t use pesticides. I get organic corn chips. We eat enough oats that people might think we have a horse, so it falls into the organic list – if I happen to be at Trader Joes. Otherwise, I get Quaker at Safeway. Trader Joes carries a lot of organic products at reasonable prices, and Safeway is getting better (even have organic chicken now).

I really try to get pastured and/or organic meat, dairy and eggs. The data on pesticide levels is scant. There is some data on beef (which shows pesticides detected in a fair number of samples… mostly in the fat). But there are lots of other benefits, like higher omega-6 fats and less saturated fat, less antibiotic residue, and less bacteria (especially the nasty antibiotic resistant strains). Plus, the chicken and beef factories are fed with (government subsidized) genetically modified corn and soy. Organic meat is hard to find and more expensive. Milk and eggs are easy, just expensive – but we eat a lot of yogurt. And I don’t necessary cook my eggs until they are well done. I think meat raised out of doors, in a pasture tastes better, and is better for you.

Right now, there seems to be an explosion of conditions like autism, fatigue syndrome, ADHD, gluten intolerance, some types of cancer, asthma, and other autoimmune diseases that scientists don’t know why are increasing. And we also don’t know what low levels of a bunch of different chemicals (some known to be highly toxic in high levels) are doing to our bodies.

So, I make the effort.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Roasted vegetables

Most of the time, I don’t use recipes. I have some basic techniques, some favorite combinations. It allows me to use what looks good at the farmers market. Or what Roy got last week at the farmers market and we need to eat before it goes bad. Plus it’s faster to cook when you make it up as you go along. How do you do this?

I figure there are only 5 ways to cook vegetables:
1. Sauté
2. Roast
3. Grill
4. Steam
5. Boil

I covered sautéing in March. Now on to roasting. I have to say that I have been roasting a lot of vegetables lately, as it takes the chill out of the kitchen. May is not warm in San Diego.. not cold enough to run heaters. It’s not like I live in Boulder. I’m not whining, anyway I know nobody feels sorry for me.  Like sautéing, you can cook pretty much any vegetable. With one or two exceptions, you do it the same way, the only variable is the time. 

Roasted Vegetables

Preheat oven 425F, convection if you have it. Get out a large sheet pan (or 2) and cover with parchment paper. Prepare the vegetables: Peel if needed, cut in equal size pieces. Put in a pile on the parchment paper. Pour on a tablespoon or so of olive oil, toss with your hands to get an even coating. Spread in a single layer, try to keep pieces from touching. Bake, tossing/turning every 10 minutes or so. When they are done, with nice brown spots, sprinkle on some salt, maybe a squeeze of lemon juice. Toss again, and eat.   And bonus, the sheet pan does not even need to be washed!

What vegetables? My favorite favorite way to eat cauliflower is roasted. Other options include asparagus, broccoli, beets, carrots, green beans, onions, potatoes (i.e. oven fries.. white or sweet) snap peas, summer squash, turnips winter squash.. you get the idea. The list of what you could not do this way is likely shorter. Not sure that you would want to cook spinach this way, but Kale is wonderful (like popcorn). (If you haven’t looked at the last post, please note that Kale is the oven temperature exception – only use 350F). 

The other variable is how big a piece of vegetable to use. Green beans, baby carrots, asparagus, snap peas should be left whole (trim ends as needed). Broccoli and cauliflower should be broken into florets, around 1 or 1 ½ inches. Beets I peel and generally do about a ½ inch dice. Potatoes (not peeled if thin skinned) are often cut into thick (1/3 of an inch) slices, or small ones are quartered. The only important thing is to get them about the same size. Smaller pieces will cook faster, timing is a little more critical.

So, how long? We know the smart ass answer is until they are done, but here are some guidelines: tender vegetables (asparagus, green beans, etc.), or vegetables in smaller pieces (beets) about 15 minutes total. Snap peas maybe even less. Cauliflower is about 25 minutes. Potatoes are maybe 35 minutes, maybe 45 if the pieces are big. Sweet potatoes cook faster.  Mileage will vary – convection ovens will be a little faster. Bigger pieces will take longer. I think that the amount of oil used makes a difference too (burn brown faster with less oil, cook faster with more oil). Just watch them, after a few times, you get the hang of it.

Add on’s:  If desired, spices or herbs can be used at either the start or the end. Chile powder and cumin mixed with the oil. Add some sliced onions, or garlic (which does tend to get on the burnt side if not frequently tossed…), red pepper flakes. Or some parm cheese grated over top when it’s done. Here’s a surefire to make you love broccoli (and I think a little crispy bacon could replace the ham power at the end, the bacon fat the duck fat if you don’t happen to have it laying around). But usually, I just use salt. And when I have them, lemon juice.

How much? For the 2 of us, one sheet pan full is usually enough.. guessing about a pound (yes, really). Sometimes I cook more, because roasted vegetables are great leftover and put into salads. Clean-up is so easy, I will cook them just for me. Sometimes I roast to put them into pasta (2 pans of vegetables to ½ pound of pasta is about right). This week I did a salad with barley and roasted beets, onions, red peppers, carrots, and walnuts. And a lemon-herb vinaigrette. It used up a random assortment of vegetables, and kept us well fed all week…

Sunday, May 8, 2011

What I avoid

I do have a list of foods that I avoid (not to be confused with chemical additives to food that I avoid… a post for another day). One of the categories of food I avoid is processed meat. Deli turkey. Pastrami. Hot Dogs. Bologna. Like trans fats, it seems that studies done on heart disease shows a link with high consumption of processed meat, but not meat in general. The scientists don’t know exactly why (seems the more they study, the more they don’t know). In addition, this week in USA Today there was a story how anyone over 50 (LIKE that’s old or something) should not eat deli meat unless it’s heated to over 150F, because of a risk of listeria (a type of food poisoning more commonly associated with raw milk), especially fatal to the elderly and pregnant.  Just one more little piece of data to help just walk by the deli counter when shopping.

As a side note, I do eat bacon, salami, and prosciutto, especially when made by small suppliers, using traditional methods. In limited amounts. After all, this diet is an evolution: any diet that isn't, is hard to maintain.

But deli meat is pretty easy to avoid. It’s easy to just cook some extra meat (chicken, pork, etc) to use that for sandwich or salad. Or have tuna, or eggs. Or peanut butter. Or Turkey.

BBQ Turkey

It’s good to have a thermometer on your grill for this, although I’m sure you can get there from trial and error. Flames and lots of smoke BAD


1 teaspoon of each:   Chili Powder (I like Ancho, but anything works, even Paprika for the spicy-adverse), Cumin, Coriander, Salt, Brown Sugar. And maybe some Tumeric.. something I will try next time I make this. Wood chips (mesquite or other).

Mix rub ingredients in a small bowl, then rub all over the half breast. Place in plastic (Zip-loc) bag and then into the refrigerator 4-8 hours.

About 30 minutes of starting to cook, place about a cup of wood chips in a bowl of water to soak. Prepare a drip pad to go under the turkey from foil, or use a small purchased foil pan. Place in the center of the grill, then light. Heat a gas grill for indirect heat (front and back on my grill). Using a double layer of foil, make a packet of the soaked wood chips, seal up, and then poke several times with a paring knife.

Put the foil packet directly on the burners (under the grill), pull the turkey out of the bag, and on the grill. Turn down the heat.. goal is to achieve about 325 oF. On my grill, this is on the low side of medium. Expect to cook about 25 to 30 minutes per pound, until an instant read thermometer reads 155.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Name most any vegetable, and I can tell you at least 5 different ways to cook it.  But artichokes I always eat the same way.  Just steamed.   As a kid, I always dipped them in mayonnaise.  But now, I do a mayonnaise based dip based on the French version of mayonnaise called Aoili.  But (gasp) I do a shortcut using (gasp) real mayonnaise (as in Best Foods Real Mayonnaise, not mayonnaise you would really make).

Aioli – like dipping sauce

A big spoonful of plain 2% yogurt (Greek or regular)
A small spoonful of Mayonnaise
A small splash of olive oil (optional)
One small clove of garlic, finely minced
A big squeeze of lemon juice

Mix together with a small whisk. Perfect for Artichokes.

I'm always surprised at how salty this tastes..  since most of the bulk is from unsalted yogurt (goes to how much salt is in mayonnaise) and how much flavor a little lemon juice and garlic can add.

Here is a good way to steam the chokes... the only think I would add is to wipe the cut surfaces of the artichoke with a lemon slice, then throw the slice into the cooking water.  

Saturday, April 30, 2011

An Honest Relationship with Honest Food

I have never been on “a diet". I’m not good at just doing what someone else has thought up (which might explain why I work for myself now). My diet is what I eat every day, not something that I go “on”, like a pill. I don’t even have a good label … I’m not a vegetarian, or gluten-free, not a junk food addict, not a locavore, or limit myself to raw food. I have given up on finding a one word description, but I think this is catchy: “A healthy relationship with healthy food.” Maybe it will be the title for my first book! So, what does this mean?

A healthy relationship: This means that I care about it, that I put effort into making it good, that I have fun with my food. It means not doing sneaky things, like going to a McDonalds drive-through and hiding the evidence. Or eating a whole container of ice cream because I’m sad. Or just eating crap because I’m bored. It means paying attention, and honoring the food you eat. 

 Honest food: right now, this is my biggest challenge. Honest food is real food, not a collection of chemicals. Cheetos are a good example of a chemical collection, not food. Most any 7 year old can understand that. But what about a tomato at the grocery store? Grown in Florida with lots of fertilizer and pesticides, picked when green by (likely illegal) migrant workers, gassed before buying to make it red. It looks like food, but doesn’t really taste like much. How about beef? Where the majority of the weight of the animal is added at a feedlot, fed government-subsidized, Round-up resistant genetically modified corn? Plus plenty of antibiotics since cows really aren’t plumbed to eat corn. And maybe a salt and chemical solution shot into the meat to make it even more tender and “flavorful.” Is that honorable food? Where do you draw the line? It would be nice to have meat from animals that lived a happy, natural life and vegetables from your local organic farmer but that’s hard to do. For some, impossible. You need to decide where you will make trade-offs. In the next few blogs, I will go through some of my rationalizations on what is OK to eat, or not. Or not much. 

 But meanwhile, let’s talk about Kale. It’s good braised, and a great addition to beans or soup. It’s really good for you. Unfortunately, it makes this year’s “Dirty Dozen" for pesticides. Fortunately, it’s something that is widely available at farmers markets (in the winter in Arizona, and I suspect most of the year in San Diego, although it grows best in cool weather), so that’s where I normally get it, either from an organic farmer, or one that doesn’t use pesticides. Organic is usually available at Whole Foods. But since Kale is so good for you, even if you need to buy at the supermarket (where its unlikely they will have organic) – go for it. You don’t eat it every day. Wash it well. And here is a way to make kale into a tasty treat – really, you can eat this like popcorn! 

Kale Chips

Serves 2

You can use any kind or kale.  The best for this is the Tuscan Kale (dark long leaves), but the more typical green curly leaf is good too.
1 large bunch of Kale, washed and dry
Olive oil (~ 2 tablespoons)

Pre heat oven to 350F, use convection if you have it.  Cover 2 large sheet pans with parchment paper.
Remove the heavy center stem from the kale.  You can do with a  knife, but generally I just hold the stem in one hand, and pull the leaf off with the other.  For large leafs, tear in half or thirds.
Make a pile of kale leaves on each pan.  Add about a tablespoon of oil to each.  Mix well with your hands, so that eat leaf is nicely coated, then spread out evenly.  There should be a single layer.
Put the pans in the oven.  After about 8 or 10 minutes, toss the leaves, they should be limp and maybe starting to dry.  Cook for another 5 to 8 minutes, or until nicely crisp (a bit brown) but not too dark.   Remove from the oven, salt and toss.   Slide into a large bowl and enjoy!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

New food guidelines

“Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.”  This is one of the key messages from the latest update to the USDA’s dietary guidelines, but will this change eating habits?    Likely not.

Why don’t adults eat lots (like half your plate lots) of vegetables?  

Some people truly don’t have the access or means to eat right (or sometimes eat at all), but that’s not the problem I’m tackling. My friends are generally educated, well-meaning, have access to fresh and frozen produce, and enough money to buy food. One reason vegetables get skipped is they are not convenient. You can’t get them at a drive-through. We don’t see ads for yummy vegetables on TV, we don’t pass farmers markets with big neon signs on the way home from work. The kids are not nagging you for them.
But I don’t want to discount the likability factor.  Often vegetables we get  are old, bland, and / or overcooked plus selectively bred for looks and shelf life instead of taste.  It’s not a wonder we don’t eat vegetables.

So, how to change?  Start by cooking a really tasty vegetable dish, even if just once or twice a week (but every week).  The best place to get really good, fresh vegetables is the farmers market, do try (look beyond the jewelry, candles, and crepes). This is prime season in Arizona (and California - but there, prime season runs all year).  But… you can just go to the grocery store.  Look for the freshest things: not to discriminate, but in general, this will not be asparagus from Peru, even if it’s organic.  Buy no more than a week’s worth of produce, less if you don’t know what your week is going to look like.
So…The last post for Sautéed Broccoli looked so good …  you’re excited.  You went to the farmers market. By the time you finished your crepe, the broccoli was gone.   You went to the store.  But they just had some nasty, wilted, sad looking broccoli.  But… there were some awesome looking green beans.  Guess what?  That broccoli recipe will work for green beans.  In fact, it will work for most any vegetables!  Don’t have a lemon tree in your back yard?  Use some other acid… like a bit of the gourmet vinegar you got as a gift and don’t have a clue how to use.   Don’t like red pepper flakes?  Use some other herbs.  Big date tomorrow and don’t want garlic breath?  Use some shallots.  Need to “man it up”?  Use some bacon.   Honestly, skip everything but the fat and salt, and they will be good if you started with good vegetables.

Sauteed Vegetables: The generic technique

ANY Vegetable* (enough to feed however many people, but don’t crowd the skillet)
Water (enough to steam)
Fat: Olive oil, butter, vegetable oil, rendered bacon fat (save the crispy bacon to go on top)
Aromatic: Garlic, onion, shallot, or red bell pepper
Herbs: red pepper flakes, mustard seeds, thyme, rosemary, parsley, orange peel, or curry
Acid: Lemon, lime, or orange juice, or wine or cider vinegar, wine**
Salt.  Pepper.

Clean and chop the vegetable into nice pieces.  Put in a skillet, and  enough water to cover the bottom.  Put on high or pretty high heat.  Stir and cook until they are almost done and water is gone (add more water if needed).  Add the fat, then aromatic, spices and/or herbs it a spot in the middle. Stir until fragrant (less than a minute).  Add the acid, and a touch of salt, and some pepper if you want.

My favorite combo’s (olive oil unless otherwise mentioned):
Green beans, garlic, red pepper, lemon (just like the broccoli)
Kale, garlic, sherry vinegar
Green beans, garlic, mustard seeds
Green beans, bacon, red pepper
Cauliflower, onions, curry, OJ
Asparagus, shallots, orange rind, orange juice
Carrots, butter, thyme (can skip the acid and carrot is an aromatic)
Zucchini squash, bacon, onions
Spinach, onions, bacon (skip the acid)
Mushrooms, shallots, red wine

* Exceptions:
Baby spinach:  this will cook in like 30 seconds.  Start with the hot fat (and a little water if the spinach is dry). 
Mushrooms: there is enough water in the mushrooms, start in oil and sear.  Finish with red wine.
Potatoes:  Too starchy.  Either start in a lot of water and drain, or just fry in hot oil.  Add a bit of water to help steam.

** wine as the acid: you can use this as the starting liquid instead of water

*** For more than 3 or 4 people, or to do ahead:
Cook the vegetable in a large pot of boiling water until almost done.  Then put directly into a bowl of ice water.

 I love the feedback from the last post (keep it coming!).   

Thursday, March 10, 2011

4th Anniversary!

Can you believe it? The blog is 4 years old.  And time for a change:  Instead of just writing about what ever … food, books, travel, and a few rants, the focus is going to be on healthy eating.  There still may be some books and rants, but books and rants on healthy food.

Why?  Because I believe that the typical modern diet is slowly killing my friends and family.   Pretty strong words.  I certainly don’t have all the solutions.  But I have found some ways to eat better.. and not just recipes or things to eat (or not), but changes in eating habits.  Change that  didn’t happen overnight; but habits that over time focused on eating more good food, and getting the crap out of my diet. This went hand-in-hand with learning what was good… or not, which is not simple in today’s environment where real “experts” are gaining new knowledge about the human body, and how it interacts with food (which is changing a lot of previous recommendations on what to eat), which is compounded by marketing from the agribusiness who are just trying to get more of our food (and tax) dollars.
Anyway, I would like to use the blog to share what I have learned, and hopefully help everyone live a little better.
To start… my current favorite way to eat broccoli:

Sautéed Broccoli

Serves 2
1 bunch (2 medium sized heads) of broccoli
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 – 2 cloves garlic
Pinch of red pepper
Shake of salt
Squeeze of lemon juice

Wash the broccoli, cut off the flower parts and separate the pieces into about 1 – 2 inch clumps.  Cut off the bottom inch or two of the stem if it is tough, and slice the rest (you might want to peel first).  Put the prepared broccoli in a large (10-12 inch) skillet, and put in enough water to cover the bottom by a ¼ inch or so.  Place on the stove and turn to high.  When the water starts to boil, stir the broccoli around so it steams evenly.  Cook until its bright green and just starting to soften, about 3 minutes or so.  The goal is to dry off the water about the time the broccoli is done (you can add a bit more water as needed). Then, make an open spot in the bottom of the pan.  Add the oil, garlic, and red peppers. Stir and cook until the garlic is fragrant and broccoli is coated with oil (about 30 seconds) then remove from the heat.  Add a bit of salt and a squeeze of lemon to taste.