The first in a mid-winter series on how to turn the less popular veggies available at your local market or CSA box into real food, cooked simply that you would like to eat and your children or other picky family members may try as well (no guarantees). MCA staffer Kristina Bostick subscribes to a year-round CSA and shares how to cope when there is just too much ___.
We are taking broccoli on first in our winter veggie series as its one of those veggies that can positively sing when cooked right. It's a familiar crop that is available most of the year round. It also can go bad very quickly, unlike your potatoes or squash that can hang out on the counter for weeks. We split a large share from our farmer with another family - thereby dividing pick-up duties. It works really well, except you get to choose what you'd like in our CSA and we sometimes have a communication breakdown and get lots more of something when we hadn't touched the share of it from last week. That is why I found myself staring down 4 small heads of broccoli in the fridge - in varrying stages of "use it now." This is part of the beauty of a CSA - forced vegetable creativity. Lets dive in:
1. Roast it: We first turn to Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten - who personifies simple but flavorful cooking. This recipe appeared on a blog with the title "The Best Broccoli of Your Life" and it is- roasted with lemon and parm. This is the go-to around here and one of two children try it. Roasting is generally the best way to handle broccoli. If you have only had overcooked steamed or boiled broccoli, no wonder you don't like it.
2. Asian Peanut Sauce Leanne Brown wrote a digital book for her grad program called "Good and Cheap" with detailed recipes and cooking tips for folks living on $4/day - that is what a food stamps budget works out to. This free resource has been downloaded millions of times. The title is apt, it is good food - like noodles and veggies in homemade peanut sauce - with an eye on cost per portion. Only the grown-ups liked this one but it was great.
3. Broccoli Apple Salad I have not made this, but it looks like a kid crowd pleaser. Call it apples and tiny trees, that works sometimes here.
4. Broccoli Pesto Noodles Also from Leann Brown of Good and Cheap. Leann says broccoli that no longer looks its best works in this one.
5. Empanadas You could make these with almost anything, these happen to be egg, cheddar and broccoli - but it is surely time consuming. I made them on a rainy, cold Sunday afternoon. There are enough eggs in it that if you have your children help they may actually get enough practice by the end to crack them without getting shells in there - maybe. It all paid off as the 2 year old liked them a lot. Also from Good and Cheap and her advice about adding the cornmeal gave it a really nice crunch.
5. Buddha Bowl This one is an aspirational recipe for me, I have not tried buddha bowls out on the family yet, but the idea is an endlessly customizable bowl featuring grains, veggies roasted and raw, a protein (usually chickpeas, sometimes chicken) and a sauce. Roasted broccoli is a popular choice and here is one with cauliflower too - which according to the crisper drawer, will be our next installment. Stay tuned.
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