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(Bacon is the Secret) when Cutting and Chopping Vegetables 

A big part of my Sunday is preparing a big mix of stir-fried vegetables. This batch will last me three to four days, supplying two or three servings daily. I love eating vegetables made this way; I tell you that as a guy who doesn't enjoy raw veggies at all. Know what the secret to enjoying vegetables is? Bacon (if you're in the Appleton, Wisconsin area you'd better be getting your bacon from Jacob's Meat Market!)

People constantly tell me they don't enjoy vegetables, or they don't have time to "make" them, or they don't know how. I'm befuddled by this, but know it's the real deal, as I hear it daily. In this season of amazing farmer's markets, you have no excuse not to enjoy wonderful, nutritious, in-season vegetables. 

Follow these steps, and you will find yourself treating your body to plenty of vegetables. Your health, fitness, and taste buds will thank you.

In a big frying pan or wok or skillet, use scissors to cut four pieces of thick-cut bacon into tiny pieces. Using medium heat, get them cooking. Cut up a half dozen brussels sprouts, core 'em if they're huge, and add to the bacon right away. The brussels sprouts will cook down and carmalize a bit with the bacon. Without bacon, I find brussels sprouts difficult to enjoyable eat. With bacon - watch out. 

Cut vegetables and add to the pan in this order: an entire bunch of asparagus. Don't throw away too much of the big end - use everything green! Get those into the pan. Mushrooms are next. Wash your mushrooms, please. I know, back in the '70s we didn't rinse or scrub 'em, we used those specialized mushroom brushes and kept 'em dry, but now I don't even remember why that was. Ok get all this going. Add a couple tablespoons coconut oil to the pan. Maybe three - depends upon how much you love coconut oil. I go for three.

Now I cut a red pepper into slices, then slices into pieces. Other than cutting out the core, I use the whole thing, including the weird white stuff inside. If it's huge I'll trim it off, but after watching my wife eat red peppers whole, like they're apples, clearly everything should be eaten. Next is kale. Plenty of kale. Several branches - simply trim all the kale leaves off with scissors, in small pieces, and get it into the pan. Keep mixing things up so the bacon fat and coconut oil covers everything. You'll find the kale cooking down pretty quickly, turning dark green in the process.

Drop in a head of broccoli, snipped into small pieces. I don't use much of the stem; some people enjoy the stem, but I don't. I find it tough and difficult to chew, with zero flavor. But get the broccoli in there. Next get cauliflower in there. I won't pretend I enjoy the taste of cauliflower, I don't, really, but I know it's damn good for me, and with all the flavors in this mix, it's hidden. But I want to eat it 'cause I know how good it is for me. So buck up and add it. I probably used two cups tonight, perhaps a bit more.

Now the pan is crowded, getting full. But we're not done, oh no. Three cloves of garlic come next; I dice those babies. Don't add them too early in the process or they'll burn, but this is the time. Tonight I used a partial jar of kalmata olives, cut into little pieces (a half dozen of them). I added about three tablespoons of capers, and a solid cup of sun-dried tomatoes, cut into little pieces with the scissors. 

Keep stirring, make sure everything is coated. Once the greens turn bright, I take the pan off the heat. Break down into individual serving containers, or keep in a large covered container - your choice.

This batch will last up to a week in the fridge - a few times weekly I dump some of the vegetables into a pan with more coconut oil, add a half dozen scrambled eggs, and cook it all together. Amazing. Any serving of this vegetable mix with red meat, chicken, eggs is wonderful. Quick, easy, damn healthy and nutritious meals. 

So what's your excuse?



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