Me, I’m typically a planner. I do well making a weekly meal plan, and while I’m fine with switching up days, if I realize I forgot to buy an ingredient, or had something come up that ate up my time, then I’m rattled. I’m one of those that historically decides that when things don’t go my way, I’m not cooking dinner, and instead I’m picking something up to eat on my way home. Over the years, I’ve gotten better at last-minute adaptations. That’s not to say I still won’t occasionally decide to pick up something, but it’s more because I want to, not as often because I feel overwhelmed at the prospect of making a last-minute decision about what to cook for dinner.
(In the interest of full disclosure, however, getting the launch of my e-book together, combined with a definite uptick in workload at the day job, meant more nights than usual where I was overwhelmed with dinner-making, in spite of my improvements at adapting. Such as life, right?!)
I exercised my fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants muscle with this recipe. I went to water the garden while chicken stock was simmering on the stove, destined for some chicken udon noodle soup. The broccoli plants have flourished in the past few weeks, and I’d already cut the head a few days ago from one plant. When I went out to water, the head from the second plant was simply huge. I knew it needed to be harvested, so I cut it and opted to include it with dinner. I wanted something simple, as I was already making soup, but something that would compliment the Japanese-style flavors I was working with.
One of my favorite ingredients in Asian cooking is toasted sesame oil. It packs a huge flavor punch with just a small amount, which really carries through a dish. Combine the nutty richness of sesame oil with a touch of creamy tahini and toasted sesame seeds, and it’s like every aspect of sesame is captured in one dish. I rounded it out with soy and a touch of sugar, and this was a simple, bright dish that simultaneously spoke to the freshness of the broccoli and enhanced it, without overpowering, with a kiss of umami.
- ½ lb fresh broccoli, cut into florets
- 1 T low-sodium soy sauce (San-J is gluten-free, if you prefer)
- ¼ t toasted sesame oil
- 1½ t sugar
- 1 t tahini
- 1 t toasted sesame seeds
- Steam broccoli until just tender but still firm, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Whisk together soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and tahini until smooth. Toss broccoli with dressing until thoroughly coated. Sprinkle sesame seeds over and serve.