So, the posting hasn't exactly been hot and heavy lately. Would you believe that I lost the cord that connects my camera to the computer--in an apartment that in my home state would not be big enough to serve as a socialite's closet, and which has been kept tidy enough. Even a top-to-bottom cleaning in honor of my mother and sister's visit failed to reveal the errant cord. It's so much more fun to post with a photo, but Sunday night I made something I have to share.
I began cooking for myself senior year of college, at which point my repertoire was pretty much limited to pasta, roasted vegetables (thank you, Ina, for the introduction), vinaigrette, and steamed broccoli. This was delicious, satisfying, and, if you're interested, an excellent weight-loss regimen. Over the next few years--until my Urban Organic box forced me to learn how to cook all kinds of green vegetables--I ate truckloads of broccoli and was always frustrated to throw away the stems, which, after all, I was paying for. Spending more time with cookbooks taught me that I could eat them, and so I did, peeling the stems, slicing them into little disks, and steaming them along with the florets. They were a nice color but always tasted watery and felt too smooth; eating them was a way of economizing, not a delight, and I knew there must be a better way.
Sure enough, Jacques Pepin's Fast Food My Way includes a broccoli stem relish that I finally got around to making this weekend. The stems are left raw, salted to draw out some moisture (and to cure them a bit? I should open the McGee), and dressed with some Asian-y ingredients. The result is quite delicious--crunchy and refreshing but very, very flavorful. I have been struggling not to succumb to 4pm vending machine chips at work and think this might be a good substitute, at once healthy and satisfying. If you don't like sesame oil, you won't like it, but if you do, you've got to try this, since you're probably already throwing away its main ingredient! Just when you thought it was impossible to adore Jacques Pepin more...
-Peel 3/4 pound broccoli stems (for me, this was about 5 stems). Cut them into little sticks 2.5 inches long and .5 inch thick. Put them in a bowl and toss with 1 tsp salt. Let them stand at room temperature for 30 minutes to one hour.
-Mix a dressing. He recommends: 1 tsp chopped garlic, 1 tsp hot chili oil, 1 tsp sugar, 1 tsp balsamic, 1 tsp dark sesame oil, .5 tsp chopped jalapeno, and 1 tbs minced fresh mint. Since I didn't have all those things, I did this combination, which was delicious (if not, surely, as delicious as his, with the fresh mint): 1 tsp chopped garlic, 1 tsp hot chili sesame oil, scant tsp sugar, 1 tsp balsamic, 1 tsp mirin.
-Drain broccoli sticks and toss with dressing.