Monday, August 3, 2009

Broccoli Bigotry

Broccoli: Imagine there’s No Cancer

Go ahead, admit it. You’re a broccoli bigot.

For decades, society has feloniously asphyxiated broccoli with molten cheese; baked it into oblivion; boiled it into nothingness; drowned it in butter, bespeckled it with bacon, and slandered this bewildered cruciferous vegetable into a stupor.

Broccoli, an associate of the cabbage, lettuce, radish and cauliflower clan, was cultivated in Italy and France in the 16th century. During the 1920s, broccoli was commercially cultivated in the US for the very first time in the state of New York.

The name, broccoli, comes from an Italian word meaning branch or arm, giving the appearance of reaching up, perhaps for a heapin’ helpin’ of artery-detonating Hollandaise. The historical record on broccoli is scant and leaps from the Roman Empire to 16th century France with large gaps in between.

Leave it to ex-president George H. W. Bush to co-mingle politics and produce. He was heard to say, “Just as Poland had a rebellion against totalitarianism, I am rebelling against broccoli, and I refuse to give ground. I do not like broccoli, and I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I’m president of the United States, and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli.” So there, neyaah, neyaah!

The American Institute for Cancer Research has shown cruciferous vegetables display the ability to stop the growth of cancer cells in various cells, tissue and animal models.
Especially, broccoli sprouts. So, why in heavens’ name do we vilify broccoli when it’s a life extender? Dunno?

Large human studies suggest the complex systems of enzymes in cruciferous vegetables defend our families against cancer of the lung, breast and colon, speeds estrogen removal, are antiviral, and regulate insulin and blood sugar; a miraculous gift of the universe. Broccoli abounds with plant-chemicals, bio-active chemical compounds possessing health-promoting, disease-preventing or medicinal properties.

The ‘B’; word is one of the world’s healthiest, low-calorie foods virtually exploding with vitamin K, C, folate, B vitamins, fiber, potassium, manganese, and iron.

Has a cure for cancer been in our gardens all along? Yep. If you’ve declared war on cruciferous vegetables, step back and become a peacenik for health.

Clear your mind, treat the body and fear no food. Broccoli’s your buddy. Please, support your local Farmers Market and other Locavore sources, including your own back yard. The vast majority of conventionally grown broccoli lining the grocer’s shelves is genetically modified from its original, heavenly composition. No long term studies have been performed on the effects of eating humanly altered produce, so WE are the experiment. Such madness.

Szechuan Broccoli

Delight your taste buds with this dish. Broccoli brims with anticancer sentries, safeguarding your loving family’s precious health. Stir-frying happens rapidly, so have all ingredients by your side and rock the wok.

3 tablespoons of water
1 teaspoon of cornstarch
2 tablespoons of dry sherry
3 teaspoons of low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon Hoisin sauce (Chinese barbecue sauce found is most major American or Asian grocery stores)

2 heads of broccoli florets, washed thoroughly!
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 tablespoon fresh, peeled, minced ginger
3 cloves of minced garlic
Pinch of hot peppers
1 teaspoon of toasted sesame oil

In a small bowl, stir together the water, cornstarch, sherry, soy sauce, and Hoisin. Make sure the cornstarch lumps liquefy.
Using a small paring knife, cut the heads of broccoli into small, bite size florets; peel the stems and slice them into circular “coins.” Discard the woodsy, pulpy part.
In a large nonstick skillet heat the oil over high heat. Add the ginger, garlic, hot peppers, and stir with a wooden spoon for 30 seconds. Don’t walk away; keep things moving.
Pull out the ginger. Quickly add the broccoli, stirring until the broccoli is tender, yet crisp, maybe 3 minutes.
Add the sauce and stir-fry until the broccoli is coated. Put in the sesame oil, toss and serve.

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