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Ronnie Paul: Cruciferous comfort

Most cruciferous veggies are rich in vitamins and minerals such as folate and vitamin K. Dark green cruciferous veggies are an excellent source of vitamins A and C, and are also rich in phytonutrients which may help to reduce the risk of developing cancer.
Photo by Jeff Kane

When I was a kid, my mother limited my television watching to one hour per day. Luckily for me, she went to work and never knew that before she got home I spent my after-school hours watching “American Bandstand.”

Apparently my mother’s television values influenced me because despite our kids’ pleas, my husband Jeff and I refused to have a TV when they were little. As empty nesters we finally bought a monitor, but only for rented movies.

Life settles down when children move out, but our new calm evaporated after we started streaming Netflix series. I noticed that thick dust had settled on our Scrabble board and that my unread New Yorkers had multiplied by my bedside faster than frisky bunnies. It seemed that popcorn was always on the shopping list. It was truth time —we were Netflix bingers.



Over morning coffee, instead of discussing our daily plans, we’d obsess about Lady Catherine’s love life as though she were a favorite relative on tough times. And our concern for Hendrik, the down-on-his-luck, recently divorced Swedish detective, would compel us to absorb several episodes in one sitting. One night as I dozed during a violent episode about a mafia hetman, I heard Jeff murmur something about buying a larger screen.

I may be hooked watching sophisticated soaps, but I still make time to binge on cooking. When you read these recipes, I hope you’ll indulge, too.




Binge-On-Broccoli Salad

Serves 3-4

After sampling this dish, you too may become a broccoli binger.

12 ounces broccoli florets

¼ generous cup shredded carrots

2 heaping tablespoons raisins

2 loaded tablespoons unsalted roasted cashews

2 tablespoons chopped red onion

Dressing

Whisk together:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

2 tablespoons Vegenaise (another current infatuation)

Salt and pepper

Drop the broccoli florets into boiling water for three minutes until they turn bright green and taste slightly tender. Rinse them under cold water and drain.

Mix everything together and refrigerate for a few hours before serving.

Cozy Cauliflower

Serves 4-6

This casserole might become the newest obsession on your comfort food list.

1 cup raw brown basmati rice

2¼ cups water

1 teaspoon Bragg’s amino liquid

5 cups cauliflower florets

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves, pressed

1 good-size leek

¼ cup skinless thinly sliced almonds

1 cup frozen peas

1 cup grated mozzarella

½ cup grated Parmesan

1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

Salt and pepper

Bring the rice, water, and Bragg’s to a boil, then cover and simmer for 45 minutes until the rice begins to stick to the bottom of the pot.

Toss the cauliflower florets with the oil and garlic and spread on an ungreased baking sheet.

Discard the tough outer leaves and green ends of the leek. Split it in half lengthwise, wash well, and slice in thin Os. Swish the pieces around in the bowl with the oil used for the cauliflower and spread on the baking sheet. Roast the veggies for 15 minutes at 375 degrees until the cauliflower is tender.

Combine everything and put in an oiled 7×11-inch glass pan. Cover and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Ah, comfort.

Ronnie Paul is a Nevada County freelance writer.


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