Vegephiles Go For the Broccoli

Forget about an apple a day--it's broccoli all the way. Slammed by President George Bush in the 80's, broccoli has become the preferred veggie of the 90's. Studies indicate that the cancer-fighter sulforaphane is present in large amounts in these edible blooms that are harvested in the bud stage. This chemical appears to trigger increased production of special enzymes in the body's cells that ward off cancer-causing agents. Like mom always said: "Eat your veggies!"

Broccoli is rich in fiber and vitamin C and low in fat and calories. It often gets a bum rap from those with childhood memories of limp, watery, overcooked green stuff on their plates. Do not steam your broccoli to death! Leave the cover off to retain the bright green color and cook for no more than 3-5 minutes. When choosing broccoli at the market, look for tight florets that have a purplish tinge and firm core and stalks. It should have a fresh, but not strong smell. Cut off and discard tough ends and coarse leaves.

There's an endless variety of what you can do with broccoli. You can experiment with different dressings. One of my personal favorites is Bleu Broccoli. This one is not for the weak cheese lover! For 6 servings you'll need:

1 1/2 pounds              broccoli
1 TB                      oil
1 clove                   garlic
1/2 cup                   chopped walnuts
to taste                  salt and pepper
2 cups                    bleu cheese dressing

Some people prefer to use just the buds, but the stems are good and nutritious as well. Make sure you cut the stems up into smaller pieces so that they will finish cooking in the same amount of time as the buds. You can either steam them or boil them in water. Saute the garlic and walnuts in the oil, then add the cooked broccoli. Strain off any excess oil, then add your dressing. Toss well and serve. To make your own Bleu Cheese Dressing, you need to combine:

1 cup                     mayonnaise
3 oz.                     sour cream
4 oz.                     crumbled bleu cheese
1 TB                      wine vinegar
1 tsp                     lemon juice
1 dash                    worchestershire
to taste                  salt and white pepper

Do you have any Grey Poupon? If bleu cheese is too strong for you, try a Mustard-Vinaigrette dressing by whisking together:

1 cup of olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1-2 TB of Dijon mustard
fresh ground black pepper

I'd like to see more people get "into" cooking, because that automatically means more fresh ingredients. Something has to shake the obese American public up and drive them away from junk food and fast foods, TV dinners and spaghetti-Os, hot dogs, catsup and chips, soda pop, Oreos, canned veggies and soups and bottled dressings. They say the typical American family seldom sits down to a proper meal together. I maintain they'll come back to the table if you give them the proper vittles. And as always, a creative cook is a good cook.