George and Penn

I don’t follow many famous people on social media, or otherwise. I guess I am just not overly enamored with any individual to want to know too much about them. There are two exceptions:

1) George Takei – The former Star Trek alum who has gone on to many other endeavors (television, books, theater, social justice) finds some of the funniest items on Facebook. Most of his posts are quick to grab and often offer a short chuckle just when you are digging through the mass of friend and family stuff.

2) Penn Jillette – The bigger half of the comedy/magic/juggling team of Penn and Teller. He’s the guy that talks in the act and talks even more outside of it. While he talks, Teller runs around on stage like it is Monkey Tuesday. Several years ago I happened upon a new podcast he was starting, Penn’s Sunday School. Penn is an unabashed libertarian and evangelical atheist, so the podcast may not hit everyone’s taste.The podcast seems to be as much of a snapshot of Penn’s very busy life as it is anything else. What I have found interesting is that while Penn has strong beliefs of his own, he is not critical of others who have conflicting beliefs. That is, as long as everyone plays nice with each other. That hits my sweet spot and while I don’t always agree with what he is espousing, I’ve been a “member of the congregation” ever since.

For those who haven’t seen Penn, he is a big guy. 6’6″ big. For many years of his recent life,  he has also carried more weight than he wanted (uh, yeah….me too). Recently, though, he’s focused on a healthier lifestyle, starting with learning about food, exercise and even improving his sleep IQ. He’s cleared his cookies out of the pantry and worked to become flexible and fit. In 3-4 months he’s lost over 100 pounds.

How is he doing it? Well, we’ll have to wait for his next book to know for sure, but he did let the listeners know a little about his diet – no sugar, refined grains and animal products. The dish below might just work perfect for him. It might even allow him to splurge and have a chocolate covered strawberry as big as a football.

Fresh Broccoli Salad

Photo Dec 07, 5 15 18 PM - Featured SizeI love the big slices of the broccoli stem. It gives the salad some heft.

Photo Dec 07, 2 49 29 PMThis is really a simple salad to make. Even a juggler might be able to make it.

Photo Dec 07, 2 55 29 PMThe dressing.

Photo Dec 07, 2 59 21 PMThe broccoli.

Photo Dec 07, 5 15 08 PMDelicious by itself or as part of a broader meal.

Fresh Broccoli Salad

Prep Time: 35 M | Cook Time: 1 H 50 M | Servings: 4 to 6 servings | Difficulty: Easy


1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 lemon, zested
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound broccoli, rinsed, trimmed and sliced thinly on a mandolin
6 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
3 ounces coarsely chopped, toasted pecans or hazelnuts
2 tablespoons chiffonade fresh basil leaves


Whisk together the vinegar, zest, lemon juice, mustard, salt and pepper in a medium mixing bowl. While whisking constantly, gradually add the olive oil. Add the broccoli and toss to coat. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Stir in the tomatoes, hazelnuts and basil. Cover and allow to sit, at room temperature or in the refrigerator, for another 15 minutes before serving.

Serves: 4; Calories: 310; Total Fat: 29 grams; Saturated Fat: 3 grams; Protein: 6 grams; Total carbohydrates: 12 grams; Sugar: 2 grams; Fiber: 6 grams; Cholesterol: 0 milligrams; Sodium: 573 milligrams


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Categories: Fruit 2, kosher, Low Carb, Picnic, Recipes, Salad, Sidedish2, vegan, Vegetable4, Vegetarian

Author:The Ranting Chef

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One Comment on “George and Penn”

  1. April 4, 2015 at 7:43 pm #

    I think Penn Jillette is one of the coolest people ever. Thanks for letting us know he has a podcast – I want to look into that. And – I couldn’t wait to see what recipe you had for us under the name of ‘George and Penn’!!


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