Saturday, March 15, 2008

Broccoli with Kumquats and Red Pepper Flakes

Where oh where would I be without my red pepper flakes? Whenever I need a touch of heat and hot sauce just wont do (rare though those occasions may be), there you are, ready to add colour and flavour to everything you touch! Yes, you are most famous for spicing up pizza, we all know how you love to be shaken over huge slices of late-night thin-crust pies oozing cheese and dripping oil onto the shoes of hungry club goers; but there is so much more that you can do!

Red pepper flakes are a wonderful ingredient for any cuisine: Italian, Pan-Asian, American. Any vegetable stirfry is better when red pepper flakes are involved, and after eating massive quantities of chili cheese fries and hot dogs at Ben's Chili Bowl earlier today I definitely needed a light, vegetable oriented meal for supper.

Stir-fried Broccoli with Kumquats and Red Pepper Flakes

Serves 2 as a side dish, total of 132 calories or 66 calories per person

1 medium spear or 6 oz of broccoli
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
about 1/2 tsp of olive oil
1 tsp seasoned rice vinegar (Mirin)
1 tsp sesame seeds
2 kumquats, thinly sliced and seeds removed
slivered zest of 1/3 orange


1. Very thinly slice broccoli stems and florets. Heat oil over medium high in a nonstick pan. Add the sesame seeds, stir and let toast for a minute or two.

2. Add broccoli and 1 or 2 tbsp of water. Cover the pan for a minute or two. Uncover and stir, add red pepper flakes, kumquats, orange zest, salt, pepper and the mirin. Cover again for 1 minute.

3. Remove the cover and stir over medium heat until the broccoli is still a bit crunchy and you can smell the citrus. Serve immediately with a squeeze of orange juice if desired. I ate mine with more wheat berries, but rice would be as good.

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