Saturday, February 9, 2013

Things that are not butter

Ladies and gentlemen, I have been sick. The great winter sickness of 2013 hath fallen upon me and I was felled for a week. Then, I got caught in an avalanche of work, which is what happens when you have been sick for a week and all your deadlines fall out pretty much at the same time. Mostly I feel a little bit like this right now. But, not all is lost for I have learned some important lessons in these past two weeks, and these are them:

 1) Hot water bottles are awesome.
 2) Hot toddies are awesome.
 3) Elementary- not so awesome.
 4) Happy Endings- amaaahzing.
 5) The Monday after the Super Bowl is probably the most unproductive Monday of the year.
 6) If you spend 9 hours of your day trying to turn a bad translation into a good translation, you will fry your brain.
 7) Broccoli is good.

On day three of my sick week, I rolled out of bed and realized I could no longer do the thing which I had been doing up until then- namely, roll out of bed, stumble to the refrigerator, grab blindly at whatever leftover something was closest, and roll back to bed to eat it in a semi-sitting position. For one, I was running out of leftovers and two, I was also beginning to feel quite guilty about all the lovely produce, bought almost a week before, sitting in my crisper, going to waste. So, when I next found myself with enough energy to stand, I pulled my once lovely, bright broccoli, now going yellowish at the edges, out of the refrigerator, chopped it into florets, doused it in olive oil, sprinkled it in salt, pepper, smoked paprika and some cayenne, covered it tightly and tossed it in a low over for 2.5 hours. Then, I stumbled back to bed.

I always forget, because I so much associate it with health and with things that are not butter, how rich olive oil is. Because that is the first word that came to mind when I bit into my first piece of broccoli- it was rich. The broccoli had sort of collapsed in on itself and become soft and silky in its bath of olive oil. And yet, yet, despite its richness it was still broccoli. It somehow still maintained that bright, grassy broccoli flavor- you know, the one that tells your brain that you are eating something with vitamins and minerals and all those things that will make you grow up strong and hearty. And that is what you need when you are sick- something that is simultaneously comforting and health inducing. Granted, most of the time that's chicken soup, but broccoli works in a pinch too.

I'm hoping that this is the last of the sick for this winter. I am not hoping it is the last of the broccoli.

Broccoli For a Sick Day

Adapted from Roy Finnamore's Broccoli Cooked Forever on Food52

1 medium bunch of broccoli
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
a good amount (oh, about 1/4 tsp) of coarse salt
freshly ground black pepper
a pinch of cayenne pepper
a healthy pinch of smoked paprika

1. Preheat the oven to 200 F.  Cut the broccoli into small florets. If you are using the stem, peel off the thick woody outer layer, and chop.

2. Combine the ingredients in a casserole or an a small oven-safe pot. Cover and cook for 2- 2.5 hours until the broccoli is soft. Eat. Be healthy.

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