by Waverly Gage
“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” is an eaters’ manifesto coined by Michael Pollan and quoted everywhere. It is a noble goal, but come on. How does “mostly plants” translate to the family table? We can’t pretend that all children devour their vegetables. I have one that gags at the smell of Brussels sprouts. What to do?
There is a one word answer to this problem: exposure. Serve a variety of vegetables. Serve them everyday. Serve them every way. Make it a family rule that everyone must take at least a tiny taste. Beyond that, do not sweat the details. Just keep it coming.
The best way to serve vegetables is to do very little to them. They are good raw in a salad or on their own. Alternatively, with a hot oven, a sizzling pan, or a pot of boiling water, you can cook them. A few ingredients used sparingly will bring out their flavor: extra virgin olive oil, fresh garlic, fresh herbs, and a little salt and pepper.
This recipe is for barely cooked broccoli dipped in a wonderful peanut sauce. It is a good bet for children. Most of mine love it. The other one takes his tiny taste and moves on. Some day, that will change. I just know it.
Note: broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable. Like kale, bok choy, cauliflower and, yes, Brussels sprouts, crucifers are incredibly healthy. With vitamins, minerals, fiber, and disease-fighting phtyonutrients, cruciferous vegetables should be served several times each week. Cook crucifers until crisp-tender. When overcooked, sulphur is released which makes that odor and taste that is offensive to some.
Broccoli Dipped in a Wonderful Peanut Sauce
1 large bunch broccoli (1 1/2 lbs)
1 cup smooth peanut butter
4 Tbsp light-colored honey
1 cup hot water
3 Tbsp soy or tamari sauce
salt, to taste
Cayenne pepper, to taste
1. BLANCH THE BROCCOLI: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, fill your clean sink or a large bowl with ice water. Next, trim leaves and tough woody bottoms from the broccoli. The crown and the tender part of the stem will be left. Slice this into spears. When the water boils, add a pinch of salt. Lower heat so that the water simmers and then drop the broccoli into the water. Cook until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Drain broccoli and then dump it into the sink of ice water to stop the cooking and preserve the bright green color. When cooled, drain broccoli in a colander. Shake out excess water and then dry on paper towels. Transfer to a gallon-size sealable plastic bag. Store in refrigerator until serving.
2. MAKE THE SAUCE: Place peanut butter and honey in a medium bowl. Add hot water. Using a spoon, mash and stir until the peanut butter is incorporated into the water. Stir in the remaining ingredients and mix well.
3. SERVE: The sauce can be covered and refrigerated for up to a week or served right away. To serve, pour some of the sauce into a prep bowl or other small serving bowl. Place the bowl of sauce in the center of a plate and surround with broccoli. Broccoli can be warm, cold, or room temperature. Place on the table and serve as a side or a snack.
Peace and love from my kitchen to yours,
Waverly blogs about How to Feed a Family at PEACE AND LOVE IN THE KITCHEN. Dinner does not have to be a nightmare. Anyone can make it happen. We all just need a little know-how, a little encouragement, and a little inspiration. Life is better when you eat together.