Here's another bonus. This food -- this simple but stunning food -- is still good enough to serve to company. These diverse dishes that take about 10 minutes of hands-on time eclipse the fancier, more involved recipes, leaving you more time to make and wrap gifts, read books, sip eggnog, sled down dangerous hills, sit by the fire and generally enjoy the season that is meant to be savored.
Our family's annual Christmas Eve tradition is to eat indecent quantities of potstickers before waddling off to bed (the children) or barricading ourselves in the den (the parents) to wrap the gifts we should have wrapped in previous weeks. This broccoli is a good addition to that meal and one that will lighten up the overall post-potsticker haze.
Perhaps this year the kids' presents will look less like angry hibernating bears wrapped them and more like they were wrapped by some creature that has opposable thumbs. Maybe.
Spicy Garlicky Asian Broccoli beats every white cardboard container of Chinese take-out spicy broccoli I've ever eaten without exception. Long spears of broccoli are tossed with Chinese chile-garlic sauce, minced fresh garlic, sesame oil, a bit of raw sugar and this and that, then roasted until crisp-tender.
Roasting the broccoli removes the chance of the sulfurous odors sometimes associated with broccoli. (Most often this happens because it's waterlogged and overcooked, but I digress.)
Again, though, there's more benefit to this than meets the eye. Because you're roasting the cruciferous green stuff, you eliminate the need to stand over a frying pan stirring to perfection or pouring out boiling water to drain the steamed broccoli. While the broccoli gets toasty in the oven, you can spend the time slicing and quickly frying up a panful of chicken, beef, pork or venison strips to serve alongside.