1. Roasted Broccoli
My mom has always grown her own broccoli and frozen it, so as a child I ate a lot of broccoli. I've always liked it, but it never turned my life around or anything. I just thought that was broccoli's fate: to be good, but never revolutionary.
Until I realized something.
We were cooking it the wrong way.
Until a few months ago, the only way I had ever eaten broccoli was raw or steamed. Either cold, firm, and kind of grassy-flavored, or steamy, mushy, and... still grassy-flavored.
And then I discovered the joy of roasting. Roasting brings out a level of sweetness in broccoli that I never knew existed. Adding a bit of sugar to the dressing caramelizes and crisps the delicate crowns, and a splash of fresh lemon wakes up the whole dish. THIS broccoli has literally turned my life around, because I don't know if I will ever steam broccoli again. THIS broccoli is revolutionary. I recommend following this recipe with just a few modifications: use only 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper, and add 1/4 teaspoon of sugar. Be sure to toss the broccoli with the oil and seasonings to thoroughly coat each piece. Place on a baking sheet lined with foil (clean up is so easy--sometimes I don't even have to wash the pan). Lemon is optional, but boy is it good.
Don't worry, I'm not actually going vegan. But I do recognize the benefits of eating less dairy, and some people can't eat dairy at all, lest they suffer an upset stomach the rest of the day. For these people, this little trick is a dream.
Buy a can of full-fat coconut milk and store in the refrigerator overnight. Open the can and scoop out the top solidified layer, leaving any liquid in the can (save and use in smoothies or whatnot). Whip the solidified coconut milk with a hand or stand mixer until thick and fluffy. Add powdered sugar to taste. You could use a natural sweetener, but I do recommend using something dry, or the cream may get too soupy.
I am ridiculously impressed with the texture of this cream. It's thick and luscious, virtually like real whipped cream in almost every way. The only caveat here is that it does taste like coconut, so if you're a coconut hater, this may not be for you. Fortunately, I learned to like coconut some years back, and even though I'm not giving up dairy any time soon (or ever, let's be honest), I'm really excited to have an interesting, flavorful alternative to whipped cream. Tonight, I'm serving it with homemade chocolate pudding.