Crispy Broccoli Delight

28 Feb

I will be leaving soon from working at my Assisted Living home. It has only been 6 months but it feels like ages in terms of what I have learned about myself and about caring for others. It feels wonderful that I will be leaving here for something that will permit me to build on the skills that I barely touched upon by working in assisted living, but I am actually quite sad that I will never be working with people in quite the same way again. Insofar as I can surmise about the role of nurse practitioner, I will be able to develop relationships, but never again with the depth that I have now, where my residents kiss me on the cheek and tell me how much they love me before they fall asleep. I will not have the luxury of spending hours upon hours caring for my new patients, instead our encounters will be condensed into 15-minute snippets in sterile examination rooms. Sometimes I think it would be better if exam rooms looked more like my mom’s therapy office – cozy and inviting, with couches and carpet, replete with comforting pastel watercolors on the walls.  Wouldn’t that make you more open to sharing intimate details of your life with a perfect stranger? But beginning nursing school, I am sure I will learn the tricks of the trade to help someone grow comfortable with me very quickly.

Focusing on the present, I have approximately 2 weeks left working with my residents. I will cherish these days, and my goal is to write about every single one of them, so that I accumulate as many memories to cherish as possible. I feel like I am hoarding acorns, squirreling them away for a time that I can yet only imagine: I am sitting in front of my textbooks, far removed from people, and feeling slightly despondent. Then, maybe, I can just pull up these memories, and recall why I am doing all the studying and testing and rote memorization. It is for a much greater good. And it is one that I still get to experience, firsthand, every day I go to work, for the next two weeks.

For the meantime, a recipe for thought:

The Best Broccoli of Your Life

found in: The Amateur Gourmet

Broccoli is my favorite cooked veggie. Hands-down. It absorbs sauces in stir-fries, picks up the main flavor in any dish, and gets delightfully juicy. Broccoli is not ashamed to be less than flamboyantly bold in flavor and it never minds taking a supporting actor’s role to the main dish. Yet this recipe celebrates broccoli for being just broccoli. It has the starring role, and it gets fabulous reviews by me. Perfect in texture, crispiness and flavor…you’ll never want to eat another vegetable for a side dish. My singular mistake in making this was not doubling the recipe. I could have devoured the end product entirely on my own, but I managed to save a few pieces for my lovely boyfriend.

And it is so simple:

Preheat the oven to 425.

Take 4 to 5 pounds of broccoli (I just got two large bunches), cut into florets (but relatively big ones.) Here’s the key that she doesn’t mention in the recipe: dry them THOROUGHLY. That is, if you wash them. (which I’ll admit, I did not).

Now, it’s easy. Put the broccoli on a cookie sheet.

Toss with roughly 5 T olive oil, 1 ½ tsp kosher salt and 1 ½ tsp freshly ground pepper. (I eyeballed the measurements, and also threw in some red chili flakes.) Now add 4 garlic cloves that are peeled and sliced and toss them in too.

Roast in the oven 20 to 25 minutes, until “crisp-tender and the tips of some of the florets are browned.”

When it’s done, take it out of the oven:

–        Zest a lemon over the broccoli, squeeze the lemon juice over the broccoli

–        Add 1.5 Tbs more olive oil,

–        3 Tbs toasted pine nuts (I left those out),

–        1/3 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese

–        Original recipe also has you add 2 Tbs julienned fresh basil, but I left that out too.

Go gaga over broccoli.

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Posted by on February 28, 2010 in Vegetables and Sides


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