Have you ever left your house on vacation for a while then come back and realized what a complete and utter slob of a person you are? Seriously. I cleaned, like I always do before I left. I did the laundry, I made sure stuff was picked up because there is nothing I hate more than coming home to toys and random papers strewn about. I cleaned out the fruit bowl. I folded the throw on the couch. But when I came home and walked around a bit I started to think dude, who lives here? This is seriously gross. I walked through my house like I was visitor since it had been so long. I couldn't help but critique my own cleaning skills, which was never my strong suit anyway. When is the last time you dusted? Is it conceivable that I have never, ever cleaned the glass to my shower door? When was the last time the vacuum had made a trip up the stairs? I paused and took a good long look in the mirror. Then it hit me. The words echoed in the my head over and over. I'm a crappy housekeeper. What the? I. AM. A. CRAPPY. HOUSEKEEPER. I keep my house...somewhat badly. No, it's bigger than that. I am downright bad at keeping house. It's no bueno. Mal, muy mal. I said it to myself as many times as it took for the reality to sink in. I needed to feel it, people. How did this happen anyway? I'm not awful, right? I mean, I keep my house as tidy as I can. I try to keep clutter at bay, although sometimes rather unsuccessfully. I vacuum the living room frequently. I keep up with the laundry. Lord knows I sweep my floor twice a day and the kitchen is always clean. Mostly. I have always considered myself a pretty on top of it person but the truth just stared me down. Truth in the form of dust, soap scum, toothpaste smeared sink bowls, toilet rings (faint, but definitely there), and patches of paint and glitter glue and various other unidentifiable substances on our kitchen table that I keep causally wiping over and over with antibacterial spray and hoping that one time it will just magically disappear. I realized while I'm alright at the day in and day out type of cleaning I pretty much suck at the deep cleaning. It is what it is.
So, I took myself to the store today and bought all sorts of fun things. Mr. Clean Magic Erasers, tile and tub cleaner, paper towels, Lysol wipes, Pledge wipes, new toilet bowl cleaner, a new dish wash brush, new soap, glade scented oil plug ins and rubber gloves because eeew, I'm not about to touch the toilet without them. Then...man, I started. And I went to town. China town. Shanghai. What? That doesn't makes sense? Oh, sorry it comes with the territory. Randomness that is. I'll do as I decide and let it ride until I've died and only then shall I abide this tide of catchy little tunes of hip three minutes ditties, I want to bust all your balloons I want to burn all of your cities to the ground. And broccoli, but that's coming up later. Wait, what?? Anyway, Once it was all done, my house smelled fresh and looked shiny again. I promptly threw out the rubber gloves. I know some people keep them to reuse again but eeew, I just cleaned toilets for heavens sake!
I felt purged, free and clean. Then it was time to make dinner. After the cleaning spree I knew I wanted something healthy. I had been good to my house and now I wanted to be good to myself. Well there was that and the fact that I figured I had to have burned an awful lot of calories with all the bending and vigorous scrubbing and all so why mess that up now? Keep it going, I say! So I made Parmesan roasted broccoli. Don't worry I also ate oven baked eggplant Parmesan, with only a tiny bit of cheese. The broccoli though, was excellent.
It's not really just Parmesan broccoli. It's Parmesan, lemon, garlic, pine-nutty broccoli, baby! Broccoli only gets so interesting, you know. The broccoli is tossed with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper and roasted at such a high temperature that when done it's crisp tender and caramelized on certain parts. Adding to this you douse it with more olive oil, lemon juice and zest, Parmesan cheese, basil, toasted pine nuts and toss. Take a bite. Swoon. Repeat. Now, I didn't have basil on hand so I left it out. I know, shame. But it was still delicious. This is easy and the perfect side to a weeknight meal.
adapted from Barefoot Contessa Back To Basics, Ina Garten
4 pounds broccoli (about 8 cups when cut)
4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons julienned fresh basil leaves (about 12 leaves)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cut the broccoli florets from the thick stalks, leaving an inch or two of stalk attached to the florets, discarding the rest of the stalks. Cut the larger pieces through the base of the head with a small knife, pulling the florets apart. You should have about 8 cups of florets. Place the broccoli florets on a sheet pan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Toss the garlic on the broccoli and drizzle with 5 teaspoons olive oil. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until crisp-tender and the tips of some florets are browned.
Remove the broccoli from the oven and immediately toss with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, the lemon zest, lemon juice, pine nuts, Parmesan, and basil. Serve hot.
Oh, and sorry about the outburst above. But I love Blues Traveler. What can I say?