Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Lemon Zested Broccoli with Parmesan

This broccoli is hands down the best broccoli I've ever had. Don't think I haven't noticed that I've been coming to you with really simple vegetable recipes recently. I think I owe you a dessert sometime soon. Actually, they can hardly be called recipes, because they are more food preparation techniques. But I think summer calls for simplifying


Take really fantastic ingredients (which are plenty in the summer) and do very little with them. Play with them just enough to make them shine. That's what I'm all about these days. 


Now, I've always been a fan of broccoli but when something is so good prepared simply, you don't really think to dress it up a lot. Thank goodness I found this recipe, and of course I owe it all to the ever-charming Ina Garten. And as much as I love my Barefoot Contessa, I am a nutrition student at the end of the day, which means I slashed the oil by a lot. 


Yum. 


This recipe is super simple but there's just something in the way all the flavors come together that is beyond


Lemon Zested Broccoli with Parmesan
Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa
1 head broccoli, broken into florets
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1 tbsp (or more) grated Parmesan
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lemon, zest and juice*
salt and pepper to taste


Heat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Separate the broccoli into mini-florets and place on baking sheet (do not wash the broccoli! or if you do, make sure to really dry it. You want the broccoli super dry when it goes into the oven. It roasts better). Slice garlic cloves and add to pan. Pour oil over broccoli and garlic. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mix.


Roast the broccoli for 20 minutes, flipping once halfway through. Once the broccoli has browned a bit, remove from the oven, zest the lemon with a microplane, squeeze the juice of one lemon and add the grated parmesan. Mix, taste and adjust for salt and pepper. 


I think you'll find like I did that it's just something about the combination of the lemon zest and juice and parmesan that just makes the broccoli really sing


Best broccoli I've had yet, hands down. 


*Remember to zest the lemon before you squeeze it for its juice. It's impossible to zest a lemon after it's been juiced, which I had to learn the hard way. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Perfect Sweet Potatoes

I am a huge fan of sweet potatoes as I've mentioned on here before. They are extremely good for you (438% of your daily Vitamin A, 37% of your daily Vitamin C and 15% of your daily fiber needs) and just delicious as well. 


Though I am a fan of sweet potato fries, I try to stay away from fried foods most of the time. I get why normal potatoes need to be fried- they aren't that great prepared simply, so frying them in oil and adding a bunch of salt elevates them to a whole other level. 


How good does that look!?


But sweet potatoes are fantastic prepared simply. You really don't have to do much to make them really amazing. 


My favorite way to prepare them is by roasting them in the oven with some smoked paprika (an obsession), salt, pepper and just a touch of olive oil. A little really does go a long way here. 


The Perfect Sweet Potatoes
3 large sweet potatoes, cut into fourths*, skins on**
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp olive oil
a few whirls of fresh ground pepper


Heat oven to 425 degrees F. 


Cut the potatoes into fourths, combine oil, paprika, salt and pepper on parchment paper on a pan with the potatoes. Bake for 20 minutes, flip them over and bake for another 20 minutes. 




* I used to always dice my sweet potatoes, but after seeing the Barefoot Contessa cut hers into fourths, I realized leaving them larger allows for more fluffy center to crispy edge ratio in the finished product. So go larger, trust. 


** You really should keep the skins on as that's where all the fiber is. I give them a good scrub with a dish scrubber (sans soap!) and they're good to go. 


Finally, if you haven't noticed, I only used 1.5 teaspoons for all three potatoes! And as you can see in the photos, it was more that enough to get them crusty and delicious. I know a lot of people who are very generous with the oil and it really does add up (1 tablespoon has 120 calories vs. 40 calories for one teaspoon). 


I enjoyed one of these at lunch, on top of a bed of arugula with cannellini beans. Yum! 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

My Favorite Tuna Salad

It's finals time. Which means I'm doing everything under the sun except studying for finals, of course. That includes deep-cleaning the apartment, going for long runs and cooking a lot. 


I'm a fan of tuna salad. But it can be a total calorie-bomb because of one word: mayonnaise! However, it's really easy to make a lighter and tastier tuna salad that features a bunch of gorgeous vegetables as well. This is my favorite recipe. I like mine wrapped in nori (seaweed), but I enjoy it over salad greens or wrapped in an Ezekiel wrap as well. 




Lightened Up Tuna Salad
Serves 2
4 oz tuna in oil, drained
2 tsp mayonnaise, vegan or normal
2 tsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp nonfat yogurt, or whatever you have
1 tbsp capers
2 celery stalks, sliced
2 pickles, chopped
a few baby carrots, chopped
handful arugula, chopped
2 nori wrappers


Combine all the ingredients except the nori in a bowl. Spread the tuna salad in a nori wrapper. Enjoy. 


Nutrition Info
Per serving
Calories: 135
Fat: 5.8 g
Carbs: 1.2 g
Protein: 17.2 g

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Cookbooks and Cake is a blog about healthy cooking and feeling good from within. I'm very interested in disease prevention through diet and believe vegetarianism is a great way to be healthy and prevent disease. I also, however, love to bake, so you'll find delicious homemade treats on here as well. Being that I am looking to get a degree in Clinical Nutrition, I will also write about studies in nutrition that I find interesting. Enjoy!

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