Monday, May 13, 2013

Operation Green Things


Yesterday was Mother's Day, and my family celebrated me. At dinner, my husband asked both kids "what nice things Mommy does." It seems my strong suits are:

1. driving people around
2. cooking most of the food
3. snuggling, and
4. being there when they have bad dreams.

I appreciate the accolades, but I'd like to do better. I'm starting with number 2, cooking.

I can cook, but I don't particularly enjoy it. I love to bake, but I try to keep that to a minimum because the last things we need in our diets are more baked goods.

Last week, my nine-year-old went in for his annual check-up. The pediatrician asked him all the usual questions, and I was abashed when my kid said he ate no green vegetables. It's true, and it's mostly my fault. I don't offer him many.

I don't offer my kids many green vegetables because I don't eat many green vegetables. My mother made me eat them, but it didn't take. The first time I remember liking a vegetable was a crisp green bean during law school. My home cooking repertoire consists of broccoli and green beans, usually steamed except on special occasions.

Eat Your Veggies

It's time to expand the vegetable menu around here. I think I'm ready. When I eat out, I usually eat and enjoy whatever I'm served. I even ventured to a vegetarian restaurant with a friend, boldly ordering brussel sprouts [insert childish gag reflex] and eating them. So I'm optimistic.

The problem is that I don't know how to cook vegetables.

This is where I hope that you, dear readers, can help me. Each week, I'm going to choose a new vegetable to cook and serve to my family. I hope that you will offer a simple yet delicious way to prepare said vegetable.

I'm jumping into the deep end with both feet, because I have asparagus in my refrigerator.  I think I hate asparagus. I remember being made to sit at the dinner table until I tried some asparagus and outlasting a very strong-willed cook--at my boyfriend's mother's table when I was in high school. I chose asparagus because I know my husband loves it. If I do it right, at least one of us will eat it.

If you or your family members are not veggie people, join me in Operation Green Things: one new green veggie a week, starting now. Week One: Asparagus.

If you have a simple way to cook asparagus that you enjoy, please tell me or link to a recipe in the comments. I'll pick one I think I can handle and share the results before moving on to the Week Two vegetable.

I'm not sure that the absence of green vegetables at the dinner table was something my kids would seek to change, but what do they know. I'm the mom, and I've decided we need to do better.

Eat green things!


  1. Easy recipe: cut off the tough ends (bend one and where it snaps, that's where you should cut them all off). Toss with salt, pepper and olive oil. Roast at 400 degrees in the oven for about 20 min. or until browned.
    You can also prepare them the same way, but grill them instead of roasting them. Only takes about 10 min. on the grill. You can garnish with lemon zest if you're feeling fancy.

    1. Thanks! I didn't even think about the fact that I don't know which part to cut off and which to eat. I am vegetable-challenged.

  2. In case you need as much veggie help as I do, I'll share a simple recipe sent to me by a friend via Facebook message: Drizzle asparagus with olive oil. Sprinkle Montreal steak seasoning on them. Throw stalks directly on grill.

  3. I drip a little olive oil on them and put them on the grill for a few minutes. The trick is you want them to be crispy, not soft. Very good. I also disliked them as a child.

  4. I roast asaparagus. Prepare them as above by cutting or breaking off the ends. Wash. Pat dry. Put in a roasting pan, add olive oil (1 T more or less depends on amount of asparagus) and toss. Roast for about 30 minutes at 400. You ideally want them to just start to turn brown and caramelize a bit. If you want to go crazy then add some garlic cloves, or red peppers cut into slices.