Best Broccoli You Ever Ate

Every time I take on a new project, the blog experiences a hiccup, a lapse or we could more appropriately call it a fast or a cleanse since we are talking about food.

Since early June, I have been elbow deep developing a new Farm to School Work Group in San Antonio with my partner in crime, Chef Stephen Paprocki. One of the biggest trends in the culinary world is farm to table, and though it is happening all over the country, it really hasn't reached San Antonio in mass appeal (but we hope to change that). In fact, in San Antonio, farm to table is more frequently used as a marketing ploy, which is called localwashing.

But take New York City or Atlanta, Santa Fe or Austin and the farm to table movement is thriving and simply a way of life for these communities that "get it". It means that the local farmers and ranchers have a real outlet for their locally-grown produce and meats which helps sustain the local economy. It means the produce has not been transported thousands of miles, picked unripe and allowed to "ripen" on a truck as it drives to its final destination. Farm to table also means eating seasonal, sustainable produce that has not been sprayed with pesticides and chemicals so it's better for our bodies and the environment.

If you take the farm to table concept one step further, it becomes Farm to Work, Farm to Hospital as well as Farm to School and Farm to Pre-School. It is happening everywhere. New York City. Los Angeles. New Hampshire. Washington, DC. Vermont. HoustonNew Mexico. Boston. Minneapolis. WisconsinGeorgia. Oklahoma. Austin.

Seemingly everywhere but San Antonio. Over the summer, we formed a group to change that. About 25 passionate people created the city's first Farm to School Work Group and we have been busy making connections, asking questions, researching, talking to superintendents, doctors, food service directors, lawyers, principals, national experts, nutritionists and more.
Thanks to Andrea Thompson of Katie's Jar for whipping up this terrific logo for us.
All of that takes time. And energy. At the end of a long day of calling people, leaving messages, talking to people, running around to meet people, sending emails, and then having most of them not return my calls/emails, all I want it something simple and good for me. Something that will calm my (frustrated) spirit, soothe my (overactive) mind and nourish my (hungry) body.

Considering we are in between seasons and that I am done (and I do mean done) with summer squash, the options are limited. On crazy days when I need to eat but really don't have the time or the energy to cook, nothing satisfies like a baked sweet potato (from the market) and roasted organic broccoli (from Whole Foods).

It's been years since I have steamed broccoli. In fact, years since I have steamed a vegetable at all. Mostly, I roast my veggies. Tossed in olive oil with perhaps some onion or garlic in a hot oven so it gets caramelized and loaded with flavor and textures.

So, get roasting because this is the best broccoli you ever ate. Bonus is that this is so good, it will become your standard go-to broccoli recipe to ensure everyone eats their veggies.

Buen provecho!
Roasted Broccoli with Garlic, Lemon and Parmesan
The Cowgirl Gourmet found this specific recipe on the Amateur Gourmet food blog who got it from the amazing Ina Garten

Print recipe

This is the only way to cook broccoli. Loaded with flavor, I bet those who don't like broccoli will help make this dish disappear. As Ina recommends, you can add toasted pine nuts or walnuts, if desired. But I like it just the way it is.

Serves 2-4

2 bunches organic broccoli (4-5 pounds)
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
6 1/2 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Cut the broccoli florets from the stalks and leave an inch or two of stalk attached to the florets. Discard the rest of the stalk or toss it in a freezer bag and into the freezer for when you need to make vegetable stock.

Cut the florets apart with a small knife and you should end up with about 8 cups of florets.
Place the florets on a large sheet pan lined with aluminum foil so they fit in a single layer. Add the sliced garlic and then drizzle 5 tablespoons olive oil. Toss well to combine. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Roast in the oven 20-25 minutes, until crisp-tender and the tips of some of the florets are browned. While the broccoli is cooking, zest the lemons and then juice them and set aside. Grate the Parmesan.
When the broccoli is cooked to your liking, remove the pan from the oven and immediately toss with the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest and Parmesan.
Serve immediately.


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