A Perfect Marriage- Garlic and Greens
Today I’m sharing my tried and true methods of cooking green vegetables. Super easy, delicious and absolutely beautiful.
Remember, the we eat category is not about culinary prowess but about everyday healthy meals, snacks and side dishes that can be cooked on the fly.
Vegetables should be a large part of every family’s daily diet.
Green bean casseroles like your granny made do not deserve to enter your FIT body in 2012.
Gaaaaarlic, hints of hot red pepper, smells of the Louisiana French Quarter, and calcium from cute, crunchy seeds— that’s what I’m talking about. Leave the greens that taste like grass to the hippies. If I’m going to fill 1/2 my plate with vegetables every night, they have to be worthy of center stage.
Less is more when it comes to lovin’ those greens the FIT way!
The Father of the Bride
Commit to trying different cooking methods. Gotta keep things fresh and interesting!
Use cooking spray and water to do most of the softening of the vegetables (as necessary) with lid on. Drain any excess water. Saute quickly with 1 tsp to 1 T of garlic olive oil. For a more subtle garlic flavor, add fresh garlic early on. For stronger flavor, add toward the end. Sprinkle in additional seasonings as desired.
Use a steamer basket in large stock pot. After steaming on high heat with lid on, drain water and pull out basket. Use the oil and additional seasonings for flavor.
High heat oven on broil or 450-475 degrees. WATCH CLOSELY! Tenderize vegetables by steaming a little first if you don’t like them too crunchy. The goal is for outer edges to get crisp but not burnt.
Mix and marinate in a tad bit of the oil with your seasonings. Let the vegetables soak up the flavor for awhile before hitting a hot grill for just a couple of minutes. Use a grill pan or kabob them.
Same process as roasting but you may not need to steam first because they will be in the oven longer. Season and let sit for better flavor. Cook at 325-350 degrees until desired tenderness.
Fresh Creole Green Beans
- Trim and steam the fresh green beans for 3-4 minutes on the stove.
- Toss with 1 T garlic olive oil, creole seasoning, fresh minced garlic, a little oregano and marjoram.
- Add 1 jar of diced pimentos after baking. Beauty is in the details.
- Keep them simple. Toss with 1-2 tsp garlic olive oil, onion powder, garlic powder, Herbamare seasoning salt.
- Spread out on large cookie sheet.
- Bake at 350 degrees until edges are crispy. They burn easily so watch closely after about 5-8 minutes. May want to toss around mid-way for more even crispiness.
- Buy all colors and types of kale you can find. I use scissors to cut off leaves from the hard stems which I discard.
Spinach with Toasted Sesame
- Use 10x the amount of baby spinach leaves you think you need because it shrinks as if it had magical powers.
- Cook down a bit before adding 1 tsp garlic olive oil, a little bit of salt (you can always add more later), and fresh pepper.
- Once cooked down, liberally sprinkle toasted sesame seeds for added calcium– a nutritional home run!
Artichoke with a Kick
- Cut off the stem base with a sharp knife (plus a little more so a white bottom shows and the artichoke sits flat).
- Snip off sharp points on leaves you can access.
- Place in a stock pot with 1″-2″ water. Cover and steam for 30-45 minutes depending on the size of your artichoke.
- Toward the end of cooking, drizzle with garlic olive oil and continue to steam for another couple of minutes.
- I like to cut out the choke after it’s cooked because it’s softer. Use a paring knife or melon baller and dig out the inner sharp leaves that look like a flower and then dig out the spiky choke.
- Sprinkle with crushed red pepper flakes.
- If desired, sprinkle a little basil OR rosemary OR tarragon for taste and smell.
Experiment with vegetables. Fresh, frozen, organic or conventional– what’s important is to use oil for flavoring not cooking, and combine cook methods so that you tenderize vegetables just the way you like them.
Vegetables will reward you with good health if you just give them a wee little bit of your attention.
Now go live happily (and healthfully) ever after.