Toad's Kitchen

(mostly) healthy recipes for the family

Garlic Makes it Better (if you had not already noticed) – Spinach and Broccoli get a little makeover

One common ingredient in almost all of my savoury dishes is garlic. I have not yet figured out a way to incorporate it into desserts, although I did try garlic gelato in Vancouver once (can’t say I was a huge fan, but I did like the balsamic vinegar gelato offered at the same establishment). I find it brings almost any recipe, that had not initially included it, up a notch or two 🙂

Two vegetables that seem to have mixed reviews are spinach and broccoli. I will tell you for free that garlic makes them special! Adding garlic to them will definitely add to their fan base. Here are my simplest ways of adding garlic to these veggies and making them delicious…

Spinach with Garlic (a dish I had for the first time many years ago in Portugal…I don’t know its name in Portuguese, or what its “official” recipe is, but this is a good approximation) – serves two to four people

one large box or bag fresh spinach (wash if package does not specify it has not been washed, do not spin dry, just pat most excess liquid off with paper towel)

one bulb garlic, separated into cloves which have been peeled and cut up fairly coarsely

2-3 tbsp. olive oil

sprinkle (1/2 tsp.? more?) cayenne pepper flakes

pinch salt

Heat olive oil in large frying pan (which has lid). Add garlic and seasonings, saute for a couple of minutes. Add spinach a handful at a time, stirring into the hot oil until it starts to wilt. As you create more space, add more spinach until you have it all in the pan. If the spinach was completely dry, add 1-2 tbsp water to the pan, stir well, cover with lid and let cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes or so, until all spinach is completely wilted. Tip pan over sink and drain off any excess liquid, if necessary (don’t let the garlic bits get dumped out!) and if desired, stir in a bit more olive oil. Add more salt if necessary, and serve.

Broccoli with Garlic, for 3-4 people

3 cups or so broccoli florets (washed and cut into equal bite-sized pieces)

one clove garlic, separated into cloves which have been peeled and cut up fairly coarsely

2-3 tbsp olive oil

sprinkle (1/2 tsp? more?) cayenne pepper flakes

pinch salt, or 1-2 tbsp soya sauce

Cook broccoli in saucepan containing small amount of water for a couple of minutes, until it just turns bright green. Remove from heat, drain, and rinse with cold water to arrest cooking process.

While broccoli is cooking, heat olive oil in a large frying pan or wok and saute garlic, pepper flakes and salt (if not using soya sauce) for a couple of minutes. Add broccoli, and stir it around in the olive oil to coat. If using soya sauce, sprinkle it in now.

This is also nice with almonds (add a handful and saute with the garlic), or a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds (toast in separate, dry – no oil – frying pan for a couple of minutes until fragrant).

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