Tag Archives: broccoli

School Lunch throw-back

16 Sep

“Woke up in the morning
Put on my new plastic glove
Served some reheated salisbury steak
With a little slice of love…”
Adam Sandler’s Lunch Lady Land

One of my favorite lunches when I was I was in grade school was baked potato bar. The concept was simple. You got a baked potato, and had the option of topping it with any number of things. Depending on my mood, I would go with chili and cheese, or broccoli, cheese, and bacon. Tonight I choose to recreate the the latter.

IMG_0805First, start with the broccoli. As mentioned in a previous blog entry, start with fresh broccoli. Blanch and shock the broccoli as needed. Set aside and start with the cheese sauce. Here’s the recipe:

Cheese Sauce:

1/2 cup of milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons cornstarch
salt and pepper to taste

Toss the cheese with the cornstarch. Then bring milk to a simmer and stir in the cheese. Bring to boil and continue to stir. Keep warm until you’re ready to use.

Make the potato however you’re most comfortable. I did mine in the microwave simply because it cooks faster and I was hungry. But you could certainly bake them in the oven with a little olive oil and salt.

If you want to go completely old school, (pun intended) top with Bacos. Those are the little “bacon” bits that you can find in the aisle with the salad dressings. For me though, nothing beats the real deal. I used bacon that I cooked earlier in the week. I also garnished with torn parsley.

You’re never too old to enjoy something from your childhoodIMG_0804

Always thinking of the next meal


Eat your broccoli

11 Sep

This is the truth, food is good. Broccoli tastes good because it’s fresh and bright and vibrant. It’s hard to taste broccoli when it’s being covered up by cheese and potatoes and other crazy things. What? You don’t like broccoli? May be you’ve only had overcooked frozen broccoli. Is your most recent memory of broccoli one that is mushy and unpleasant? Did the broccoli have a odd army drab color? If you answered yes to any of these questions then my friend you don’t know broccoli. Try some fresh broccoli. You can find it in the produce department.

To cook broccoli, first cut the fresh heads into 1- 1 1/2 inch pieces. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add a good amount of salt. Add broccoli to the water and cook until the florets are bright green and can easily be pierced with a paring knife. Have large bowl filled with ice water ready to go. Once the broccoli is cooked transfer it directly into the ice water bath. This will stop the cooking and preserve the bright green color. To reheat, sauté over medium heat in a little olive oil.

How many ingredients does it take to make broccoli soup? Well, if you are reading the back of the Campbell’s condensed version, probably a dozen or so. I bet you can’t pronounce some of the them either. Now, if you know me well you know that I love Gordon Ramsey. He has a philosophy that is similar to my own. Take good food and only add the minimum to make that ingredient shine.

Gordon Ramsey has a show called Kitchen Nightmares. In one of the episodes, he asked a “chef” of a restaurant to make broccoli soup. How many ingredients did it take? Twelve. Twelve ingredients to make broccoli soup! When Gordon made it it took three. Broccoli, water, and salt.

Want to make the soup? Follow the directions for blanching (above), but don’t shock in an ice bath. Instead, put the broccoli into a blender or food processor and add some of the cooking water (about 1 cup). Blend until smooth, added more water as necessary to achieve the perfect consistency. If you want something a little richer, when the soup has been blended swirl a tablespoon of heavy cream into each serving bowl.

So I dare you. Make some 3 ingredient broccoli soup, or just have some sautéed, but have some. If you become a convert, try this technique with other veggies that you think you don’t like. Leeks, carrots, corn, red peppers all work fantastically.

always thinking of the next meal,