Recipe: Pan Roasted Soy Broccoli


+ Sesame seeds (optional)
+ 1 tablespoon soy sauce
+ 1 tablespoon butter
+ 1 head broccoli

Separate the florets from the head of broccoli. Peel the stem with a vegetable peeler, and cut the stem into ¼-inch coins. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the broccoli, soy sauce, and 1 tablespoon water. Cover and cook for 4 minutes or until tender. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

I’ve been working in food, restaurants, and hospitality for nearly 15 years. So when people meet my daughter, Liana, they often ask if she’s a good eater. The answer, in short, is HECK YEAH. I’m not braggy about it--I know plenty of parents struggle with toddlers who only eat shades of beige, kids who push green things to the edge of their plate with the tip of their spoons, 5-year-olds who will only eat chicken if there are promises of sprinkles for dessert.

But Liana--we took her to Queens this weekend to eat Thai at SriPraPhai--tom kha soup, pad see ew, green curry with tofu, fried whole snapper with ginger sauce--that girl put it all away like the Very Hungry Caterpillar put away his Saturday extravaganza. Here’s the thing, though. She has a picky side to her. <GULP>

When Liana was first starting to eat real food, my good friend and stellar pediatric nutritionist, Nicole Silber, told me that regardless of how much she loves food, she’ll likely go through a picky stage. But she warned me not to panic or get frustrated or--worst of all--take it personally. She told me to keep offering and re-introducing, and she’d likely get over it. Eventually.

It wasn't long before I experienced this firsthand. Liana happily ate broccoli for a bit and then stopped. Cold turkey. Nope. No more. I’d put it on her tray, she’d pop it in her mouth, and then she’d promptly push it out with her tongue. Steamed? No. Roasted? No. F&*!ing. Way. In scrambled eggs? Girl, please.

But Nicole says that if you keep offering the same food at least 15 times (15 times!!), they will likely take to it again. (Most parents stop after 6 or 7 times because they lose patience.)

So last week, there I went again with the broccoli. The Union Square Greenmarket was boasting these beautiful green heads, almost taunting Liana from her stroller, so we grabbed one.

At home, I separated the little florets (the cuter the better for toddlers, right?), and put them in a pan with a little butter and soy sauce. I put a few on Liana’s tray and walked away. No pressure. Breathe. Chill. By the time I came back with a bit of miso salmon, she was pinching her fingers together. More, more, more!

Sandra Di CapuaComment