Tag Archives: broccoli

Broccoli Salad

"Broccoli Crowns for Broccoli Salad"

Sometimes I end up at the market without having thought of eating before I get there.

It’s been a busy morning, time has gotten away from me, and editing photos of food, or reading and writing about food hasn’t been a great substitute for actually remembering to eat. Ending up at the market hungry is not a good thing for my wallet or my posterior, so I fend off the cravings until I find myself looking at the salads in the deli case trying to decide which of them is least toxic.  They seem fine based on the cursory primping someone has taken time to do, with veggies artfully arranged, and a serving spoon carefully inserted at a jaunty angle.  I’ve barely scanned the case before a helpful person asks whether I’d like to taste something.

I wave aside the offer of a taste and instead, request a small cup full of broccoli salad.  It’s fairly green, shows evidence of other veggies in the mix — maybe some seeds as well —  and doesn’t appear to be drowning in mayo which is certain death for any salad I’m considering.

The clerk seems surprised by my lack of interest in a sample tasting, but fills the small container with a scoop of the chopped salad I pointed to, and sends me on my way with a fork and a napkin. As soon as the groceries are in the car, I pop the lid and take a bite, not expecting the sweetness.  It’s not too sweet, but I’m already pushing away thoughts of  Miracle Whip, wondering if it’s an ingredient — just about the only thing worse than mayo overkill in a salad.  As I chew, I notice other flavors like chopped dried cranberries and sunflower seeds.  Minced red onion.  Definitely sweetness coming from whatever the light dressing was, but without the greasiness that I think mayo can leave in a salad.

It was good.  Still a bit sweet for me, but pleasant enough to help save me from expiring from hunger in the market parking lot so I could get home and do some searching about broccoli salad.

Of course, it’s all over the Internet.

It’s a perfect salad for now, easy to make, and doesn’t have to be unhealthy if you use less sweetener, cut way back on the mayo, and think about getting the right balance of flavors and textures in every bite.

It’s even better when you make it ahead.

But you probably already knew that, right?

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Broccoli Bacon Cheddar Frittata

Broccoli Bacon Cheddar Frittata One of the very nice things about having a close friend is knowing that when she calls early on a Saturday and asks if I want to go somewhere with her, I don’t have to worry too much about things like fixing my hair or making sure I have eyebrows on.  On this particular occasion, it was a tomato festival of sorts and since I’ve been thinking about tomatoes I thought it would be great to avoid planting seeds and just cut to the chase with small plants.

You can call me weak.  It’s quite all right.

Nevertheless, we did drive up to the Quail Botanical Gardens to peek at the booths of herbs and homemade soaps, jams, and of course, tomato plants featured at the Tomatomania event.  I purchased several varieties including a few Super Marzanos and have lovingly planted them all in one huge pot.  Yes, I know there’s a rule about how far apart one should plant tomatoes, but I have limited space and I’m planning on watching like a hawk, making sure they get just the right amount of water and sunlight as any good helicopter parent should.

But this isn’t about tomatoes — yet.  Again.  It’s about broccoli.

My good friend is an avid gardener and is already gathering gorgeous heads of broccoli so of course, she gave me one before we set out on our Saturday morning trek.  The broccoli sat on the kitchen counter the rest of the day and I proudly showed my husband, “Look.  Look what Mrs. B grew in her very own garden.”  To my husband’s credit, he was actually quite impressed as those of us who have never grown broccoli might be and I placed the broccoli back on its towel having decided that I’d make a quiche or frittata in the morning for Sunday breakfast.

The next morning…

Picture me still semi-delirious and rinsing the coffee pot so that I might soon enjoy my daily jolt.  Picture my son bending over the very slightly wilted head of broccoli, hands in pockets and observing, “Mom.  It appears your broccoli has aphids.”

And he was right.  Hundreds of little green bugs lay perfectly around the broccoli as if someone had told them a pot of hot water was looming in their immediate future and they had all jumped ship — erm — vegetable.  The first thing I thought of was my friend because she’d mentioned they were going to have broccoli soup for dinner the night before and I wondered whether she’d noticed the bugs.  Oh, my.  There were so many tiny bugs.

Upon closer inspection, I noticed there were a variety of bugs, or at least bugs in varying stages of metamorphosis.  Stuck to the sides of the stems were dark rounds somewhat resembling scale. I sprayed the broccoli, picking through all the florettes and holding a fine-meshed strainer beneath to see what I collected.  Then I blanched the floretes, watching even more little bugs swirl in the boiling water before floating to the top.  As usual, a douse in a cold water bath to stop the cooking not only made the broccoli’s color quite vivid, but uncovered a few more critters who managed to make it through the previous attempts to rid the broccoli of their presence.

I was convinced I’d won but had to call my friend to let her know.  Yes, they’d enjoyed the broccoli soup, but no, they hadn’t seen any bugs.  Evidently we were the sole lucky recipients of the protein bonus with the broccoli.

Regardless, we enjoyed a lovely frittata that morning.  Bugs or no bugs.  Just don’t ask me to eat a grass hopper, okay?  Even if it’s deep-fried and has bacon wrapped around it.

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