Roasted Cauliflower and Sprouts

romanescaFor this recipe, I used a romanesca cauliflower. It’s a fascinating looking vegetable, and DH couldn’t wait to try it. Since I still have brussels sprouts coming out of my ears, I decided to use it in this recipe.

The night before, cut the cauliflower into 1 inch florets, halve the brussels sprouts, drizzle with 2 T olive oil and mix. Then, add 3 cloves of thinly sliced garlic, 1/2 tsp of rosemary, and 1/2 tsp pepper.

The next evening, preheat the oven to 450F, sprinkle with salt, and bake in a single layer for 15-20 minutes (until they’re crisp-tender and beginning to brown at the edges). Stir occasionally (if you take the pan out to stir and close the door while stirring, you won’t lose the oven heat).

The verdict: The flavor is very light, but thorough – perhaps as a result of the “marinating” overnight? It went really well with a chicken that I threw in the crock pot this morning and drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with rosemary and garlic salt. I apologized to DH for not having a very fancy dinner tonight. He said “it doesn’t have to be fancy, this is good!”

For more info about romanesca, click here:
Broccoflower on Foodista

Broccoli Gratin

broccgratinToday I brought the ingredients to make Simply in Season’s Broccoli Gratin to my mom’s house for Sunday dinner. Imagine my surprise to arrive and discover that her main dish was very similar to this – she was making a broccoli/chicken bake. I decided to go ahead and make my side dish so that we could compare the two.

For my version:

5-6 C broccoli or cauliflower (I used broccoli). Steam until just crisp-tender and set aside. I did this in the microwave.

Thinly slice an onion and mince a clove of garlic, and saute’ in a small saucepan until fragrant and tender, about 5 minutes. Then, sprinkle 1/4 C f lour on the onions and garlic and cook for 3 minutes (you’ll want to stir constantly to keep from browning). Whisk in 2 C of milk and bring to a boil. Add in 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, and a pinch each of nutmeg and ground red pepper, and cook for 5 more minutes. Stir in 1 C shredded cheddar cheese and remove from heat. Combine with broccoli and put everything in a 2 qt casserole dish.

Combine 1 C bread crumbs, 1 T butter, 1/4 C Parmesan cheese, and 1 T dried parsley and sprinkle on top of the broccoli mixture. Bake at 350F for 20 minutes, or until heated through.

The verdict: While everyone liked this version, some felt that my mom’s was creamier. She had used canned cream of chicken soup. Some did like my fresh topping better than her Stove Top topping, though. This led to an interesting discussion. Is it any cheaper to make things like cream of soup? Is it really any healthier? My sister thought that making the cream sauce from scratch was too much work, but I didn’t really mind it. One of the benefits I saw to making things from scratch is that I don’t have to keep things like Stove Top or canned cream of soups on hand. I’m sure that as I continue this project I’ll form more of an opinion. What’s yours?

Broccoli Salad

Potlucks are funny. You never know what you’re gonna get, which I guess is the point. There is a garbage disposal service in our area called “Potluck Pickup.” At my old church, which had lots of older ladies, the potlucks were divine. At my current church, which is mostly 20 & 30 somethings, chips and dip and potato salad from the deli are more common.

DH was invited to a party tonight, and he asked me to make the pumpkin bread from the other night. I will oblige, but I’ll also be taking this opportunity to make Simply in Season’s Broccoli Salad. There are a million versions of this out there, but I have never actually made it.

In a large bobroccsaladwl, mix 3 C broccoli florets, 1 C raisins, 10 slices cooked & crumbled bacon (ok, I cheated and used the option of 1/2 C bacon bits, sometimes ya gotta take shortcuts to keep your sanity), 1/2 C diced red onion, 1/2 C raw sunflower seeds, and 1/2 C cheese (the book says optional but who in the world turns down CHEESE?!?!).

In a small bowl, combine 2 T sugar and 1 T apple cider vinegar and dissolve; stir in 3/4 C plain yogurt or mayonnaise until well blended (I used lowfat yogurt). Pour over the broccoli and stir together.

The verdict: I’ll admit the photo looks like someone vomited bacon bits and broccoli. But the salad was as good as any version I’ve had over my many years of having broccoli salad at potlucks. For some reason it was a bit hidden at the food table. Not many people took it, so I was worried that maybe it wasn’t good. As we were leaving, someone noticed it and said “oh no, I didn’t even see that! And that looks great! Much better than the store bought salad crap!” So that made me feel better.

And when we got home, DH helped himself to a nice big bowl of it. Which made me wonder if he had placed it on an inconspicuous part of the buffet table on purpose. Ha!

Herbed Broccoli Sandwich

I know, a BROCCOLI sandwich? This is another one of those Simply in Season recipes that made me think “you’ve got to be kidding me, Gladys in Pennsylvania. ” But since I had a lot of broccoli from the farmer’s market I thought why not give it a try. Besides, I needed something to go with the gingery butternut soup.

I halved the recipe just in case. I chopped 1 C of broccoli in the food chopper, 1/4 C of onion, and sauted in some olive oil in a skillet until it turned bright green. Then I added a dash of basil, thyme, salt and pepper. The directions say to add cheese andbroccolisandwich broil on french bread, but I picked up some cheddar-filled bilays at the farmer’s market this morning and I knew they would go perfectly.

The verdict: They were very, very good. Substantial, not like you’d expect from a broccoli sandwich. DH thought that a slice of heirloom tomato would have made this perfection.

Poultry Pasta Primavera

pastaprimaveraI can tell that autumn is near; this week’s CSA pickup was not as hefty. They had picked all the eggplant and peppers after the frost, so we got lots of minis. It’s funny, but I’m almost glad that there are only 3 more weeks of pickups. Then we can have our refrigerator back. No more eggplants and long lost summer squash hiding behind the milk.

Tonight’s recipe allowed me to use up the rest of the broccoli in my refrigerator, and a few more carrots.

It began by boiling angel hair pasta (8 oz), 2 C of broccoli florets, 1 C of julienned carrots, 1/2 cup chopped bell pepper (I used green but red would have added more color, especially since I also used a white carrot); 1 sweet onion. All for 5 minutes. Drain, then return to pot.

In a large fry pan, saute’ in a little oil 1 clove minced garlic, 1 t dried parsley (or 1 T fresh like I did), and 1/2 t each of dried basil and oregano. Then, add 2 T flour and 1 C milk–slowly, stir until thickened.

Add 1 C chopped chicken, turkey or rabbit (I used a can of chicken); heat through.

Then add 1/2 C yogurt cheese (you can make this yourself by draining plain yogurt in cheesecloth for 1 or so hours. I actually used some ricotta that I had leftover) and 1/4 C freshly grated parmesan, and heat until melty and yummy but not boiling.

The verdict: OK so the pictures aren’t particularly flattering, but believe me this was very tasty. DH and I couldn’t believe it is only 300 calories per serving (this makes 4 servings). Very rich.

Tofu Hodgepodge

This recipe is adapted VERY loosely from “Seitan with Peanut Sauce” from Simply in Season. For starters, I went to a health food store and a large grocery store and found no sign of seitan, which is apparently a great “alternative protein” that is easy to make. However, I decided that I am going to wait until I cook through More with Less before experimenting with that sort of thing. So I substituted cubed extra firm tofu. And THEN, when I was almost done, I discovered that we have no peanuts. Hence, “Seitan with Peanut Sauce” became “Tofu Hodgepodge,” or according to my husband, “Basic Stir Fry that You Ruined by Putting Vegetarian Fake Meat in It.”

tofuhodgepodgeFor this recipe, I started by sauteing one large onion (chopped) and 4 cloves of garlic (minced) in sesame oil for 5 minutes. I then added a cubed package of tofu and sauteed for another 5 minutes.

I added the following vegetables, all chopped, based on what I had leftover in my frig. That’s why I called it ‘garbage.’ Included: broccoli, carrots, green pepper, purple pepper, bok choy, eggplant. I added 1/3 C water and 2 T of soy sauce and sauteed, covered, for 10 minutes. Added another few shakes of soy sauce and served over rice noodles.

The verdict: Eh. It was fine, and I’ll probably stick the concept (throw the veggies lurking in your fridge in a stir fry and add soy sauce and some sort of meat, fake or not) in the back of my mind.