Most kids I know eat two or three vegetables at the MOST. Any more than that and I am highly suspicious—what are they trying to prove, and what kind of parents do they have?

Universal among all of them is broccoli. I hate to sound like a curmudgeon, but kids these days are pretty lucky to get decent broccoli year round. I had to make do with frozen, limp, watery broccoli spears—the injustice of enduring the "no broccoli, no dessert" ruling was just too much for a nine-year-old.

Broccoli is my kids' default vegetable, and I cook it just the way they tolerate it—with garlic and olive oil. The babysitter, an 18-year-old German girl, cooks it another way—in the microwave for 30 seconds, then a quick toss with olive oil and raw garlic. My daughter, Pia, named it "hot raw broccoli" and, best intentions not withstanding, refused to eat it. Here's a no-fail, kid-friendly broccoli dish that grown-ups can live with:

Broccoli with Garlic and Oil
Total: 15 min
6 servings

1 1/2 pounds broccoli, cut into 1-inch florets
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
Crushed red pepper flakes

1. Fill a large skillet with 1/2-inch of water and bring to a boil. Add the broccoli, cover and cook just until bright green, about 4 minutes. Drain well, then shake out any excess water and wipe out the skillet.
2. Add the oil to the skillet along with the garlic and cook over moderately high heat for 10 seconds, just until fragrant. Add the broccoli, season with salt and cook, tossing occasionally, until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes longer. Add crushed red pepper flakes if desired.

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