Tag Archives: broccoli

CSA Week 2: Broccoli and Goat Cheese Soup

I have been told that summer is not the time for soup. I say phooey on that. Anytime is the time for soup, and summer is the perfect time for light, zingy soup made with the freshest veggies. This take on broccoli soup was satisfying but not heavy and a great way to use up a bunch of produce. It also freezes quite nicely if you don’t feel like eating it all at once.

I had the broccoli already, but from my CSA box, I added the spring onions and parsley. The goat cheese also came from farmer’s market, from one of my very favorite stands, Briar Rose Creamery, manned (womanned?) by the beautiful Jenny (a.k.a. goat cheese gal). She reeled me in with her amazing goat cheese chocolate truffles (I know, they sound weird but think chocolate cheesecake rolled up in a little ball), but I keep coming back for the cheese. You could use any cheese you like in the soup, but the tangy goat cheese offers a really nice balance with the earthy broccoli and herbs.

Broccoli and Goat Cheese Soup

Broccoli and Goat Cheese Soup

Broccoli and Goat Cheese Soup

1 head broccoli, including stems, chopped
2 spring onions, white and green parts (about 1 cup chopped – sub other onions if you don’t have spring onions)
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley
3-4 oz. goat cheese
Salt & pepper to taste

In a large saucepan or soup pot, saute onions and garlic in a bit of olive oil for 3-4 minutes, until softened. Add broccoli and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and cook about 10 minutes until broccoli is tender. Add parsley and cream and cook 1 more minute. Puree with a stick blender (or a regular blender) until there are no big chunks. I made mine pretty smooth, but if you like it chunky, that’s your call. Add salt & pepper and goat cheese. Stir until cheese is melted and incorporated into the soup. Taste and add more seasoning if needed. Remove from heat and serve hot.

Starts with the good stuff. Broccoli and Spring Onions

Starts with the good stuff. Broccoli and Spring Onions

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Sesame Stir Fried Broccoli

I’ve heard some people say they don’t like broccoli because of the way it smells when they boil it. I say don’t boil it at all! A quick sauté in a saucepan is going to give you bright, crisp-tender broccoli that will be far more appetizing than any boiled broccoli mush you’ve eaten in the past.

If you aren’t crazy about how a vegetable (or anything) smells when you are cooking it, one of the best ways to combat it is to cook it with things that smell wonderful. I’ve combined my broccoli with garlic and sesame, both of which smell absolutely divine. Toss in a little crushed red pepper and a splash of soy sauce and you are good to go.

I would put this on a bowl of rice or noodles and call it dinner, but feel free to toss some shrimp, chicken or tofu with it, or just serve it as a veggie side for your favorite main dish.

Sesame Stir Fried Broccoli

Sesame Stir Fried Broccoli

Sesame Stir Fried Broccoli

1-2 heads broccoli, cut into bite size florets (I chop up the stems and include those too)
2 tsp. sesame oil
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. soy sauce
Toasted sesame seeds for garnish (optional)

Heat large skillet or wok over medium high heat. Add sesame oil, garlic and crushed red pepper. Cook and stir 30 seconds until fragrant. Add broccoli. Cook, stirring often, over medium high heat for 3-5 minutes, or until broccoli is bright green, tender but still crisp. Toss with soy sauce. Add a bit of salt if needed. Garnish with sesame seeds if desired.

 

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Pork and Broccoli Stir Fry with a Twist of Orange

I won’t pretend this is any sort of authentic recipe, but it is one I make often.  It’s my healthier take on Chinese stir fry.  I usually use a small amount of meat, and a large amount of broccoli or other veggies.  I love the fresh udon noodles in this and use them often.  If you haven’t come across these before, I usually find them in the produce section with the refrigerated items such as tofu and wonton wrappers.  They also freeze well which makes them extra convenient in my book.  If you are on a low carb or low gluten diet, feel free to leave them out or serve the stir fry with rice instead.

I always find it interesting to note that when I eat with chopsticks I always eat less.  I think it’s because I have to concentrate a bit more on my food instead of eating mindlessly.  I also eat slower and take smaller bites.  Maybe I should start eating everything with chopsticks.

Pork and Broccoli Stir Fry with a Twist of Orange

Pork and Broccoli Stir Fry with a Twist of Orange

Pork & Broccoli Stir Fry with a Twist of Orange

1/2 pound boneless pork loin chops, sliced into thin strips
1 big bunch broccoli, cut into florets (I usually slice up most of the stems as well)
1-2 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 tsp. lime juice
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. chile garlic sauce (find in the Asian section of the store)
1 pkg. fresh udon noodles (find in the produce section in most stores)
Toasted sesame seeds

In a small bowl combine soy sauce, lime juice, orange juice, cornstarch and chile garlic sauce.  Stir until cornstarch dissolves and set aside.  Set your noodles in a colander and rinse with warm water to separate noodles.  Set aside.

Heat a large skillet or wok over medium high heat.  Add sesame oil and let heat for a few seconds.  Add ginger and stir fry for about 30 seconds.  Add pork.  Stir fry until most of the pink is gone.  Add broccoli.  Continue to stir fry 4-5 minutes until broccoli is just tender (I prefer mine a little on the crunchy side, but feel free to cook a bit more if you like it softer).  Pour sauce over meat and veggies and cook for a minute or two until it is slightly thickened and coating everything well.  Add noodles and stir fry (gently so you don’t break up the noodles too much) another minute or so to combine.   Top each serving with a generous sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds and eat!

 

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Stuffed Baked Potato Frittata

I have had a theory for quite some time that almost any leftovers can be mixed with scrambled eggs to make a perfect breakfast.  A frittata is one of the best ways to put this to the test.  On this occasion, I had leftover baked potatoes and broccoli from the night before.  Combined with a few other ingredients, it reminded me exactly of a stuffed baked potato.  But for breakfast.  Mmm. I love breakfast.  But I would eat this for any meal of the day.

Stuffed Baked Potato Frittata

Stuffed Baked Potato Frittata

2 baked yukon gold potatoes (or microwave for 5 minutes or so until tender), sliced
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup steamed broccoli
4 strips bacon
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
5 eggs
Salt & pepper
Sour cream (optional)

Get all your ingredients ready before you start cooking.  Beat eggs with a little salt & pepper in a bowl and set aside.  Shred cheese, chop veggies.

If you don’t have leftover potatoes and veggies, just nuke them in the microwave for a few minutes until tender.

Cook bacon in a medium skillet until crisp.  Remove from pan and drain on paper towels.  Drain off bacon grease, just leaving enough to coat the bottom of the pan (1-2 tsp.).  Add potatoes and onion to pan.  Sprinkle lightly with salt & pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally until onion is tender.  Beat eggs with a little salt & pepper in a bowl and set aside.  Crumble bacon and add that and the broccoli to the potatoes.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Pour eggs over the top and swirl around to coat all the ingredients.

Swirl around evenly in the pan. Don’t worry if the veggies are sticking out of the egg mixture.

Cover and turn heat down to medium low.  Cook for 10 minutes or so until eggs on top are cooked (will look a little poofy).

All set up and ready to eat!

Cut into wedges, top with a dollop of sour cream and enjoy!

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Project Veggie: Day 9 – Sesame Noodles & Broccoli Stir Fry

Traditional Chinese food is something I have not had much luck replicating perfectly at home.  I’ve tried.  I’ve used recipes.  I’ve got cookbooks.  I’ve had some successes certainly, yummy results…sure, but tasting like true Chinese take out…no dice.  I don’t know if it’s the ingredients, the equipment, the know-how.  Probably all three.  But I’ve decided to stop trying to figure it out.  Some things should remain a mystery.  So when I’m really craving Chinese I usually order out from the place a couple blocks from my house, and when I walk in the door to pick it up, the owner yells out, “Welcome home!”  Then he hands me my food and says “Here you go, Cutie!”  I get mouth-watering take-out and a compliment in less than 10 minutes, for under 10 bucks.  Can’t beat it.  So I don’t try.  Instead, I do many Asian-inspired stir fry type things.  They have less to do with recipes or ethnic authenticity and more to do with blending some of my favorite flavors with whatever happens to be in my fridge at the time.

My son Luke is a freak for noodles.  Always has  been.  I’ve been feeding my kids ethnic food – really, whatever I was eating – ever since they started eating food.  As a result, they like pretty much everything now.  But when they were little, I started out simple, introducing them to new flavors slowly and adding more as we went along.  Sesame noodles are something I’ve been making for them since they were small.  It’s perfect for kids (or picky adults) because there are no weird ingredients.  Simple and basic, they are perfect by themselves or with any stir fry.  They are delicious served hot, cold, or in between.  This time I paired them with a spicy broccoli stir fry.

Sesame Noodles & Broccoli Stir Fry

Sesame Noodles

1 pkg. thin spaghetti or angel hair noodles
2 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. toasted sesame seeds (you can buy them toasted or toast them yourself a minute or two in a skillet on the stove)
2 tbsp. sliced green onions

Cook noodles according to package directions.  Do not overcook!  Drain and rinse (I don’t normally rinse pasta but I usually do with this since I prefer it at room temperature and don’t like it to stick together).  Add other ingredients and toss.

 

Broccoli Stir Fry

1 tbsp. canola oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. minced ginger
2 cups of broccoli florets
4 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 yellow pepper, sliced
1-2 tsp. garlic chile sauce (found in the Asian section of the grocery store)
1 tsp. sesame oil
1/2 tsp. sugar

Heat oil in skillet or wok over med-high heat.  Add garlic & ginger and saute a minute until fragrant.  Add veggies, stir fry for a few minutes.  Add garlic chile sauce (add more or less depending on how spicy you like it), sesame oil and sugar.  Continue to stir fry until veggies are crisp-tender.  Serve with noodles.

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Project Veggie: Day 7 – Potato Broccoli Soup

This marks the end of week one of Project Veggie.  I’m happy to say that I’ve felt great, and it has not been difficult at all to stick to the plan.  We’ve eaten some great food, and enjoyed cooking and planning meals together.  I have even discovered I enjoy writing these little blogs and get a tiny (huge!) thrill when I find out people are reading it, commenting, subscribing…how cool is that?

At the beginning of January, I started a “Biggest Loser” contest with my family.  Hoping to lose a few pounds, I counted calories and started exercising.  In the first 6 weeks I lost 3 or 4 pounds…and gained them…and lost them again.  I went to my dreaded weekly weigh-in yesterday and in the last week, I’ve lost 2.5 pounds!  My exercise this week consisted of making it 20 minutes into a 1 hour Bob Harper DVD where he promised to transform my body (didn’t happen this time, but I’m still hopeful), one 25 minute walk, and a couple of hours of “Just Dance” on the wii with Claire.  I didn’t count a single calorie .  So, I could be wrong, but I’m thinking all the veggies and no meat might have something to do with it.  We’ll see how the scale looks next week.

Yesterday I started doing battle with a little head cold.  Which meant two things.  Dinner needed to be something easy, quick and warm & comforting.  I guess that’s four things.

Back in art school my roommate Terry taught me how to make potato soup, and being one of a very small handful of things we actually knew how to cook we ate it a lot.  I’ve played with the recipe some since then, but it’s still one of my go-to soups for when I just want a belly full of love and warmth.  Recently I changed up the recipe some to add more veggies, turning it into a potato broccoli soup.  Of course I didn’t write down the recipe, throwing things in the pot at random as I am wont to do.  So I was determined to do my best to reproduce that lovely concoction and actually put it in writing this time.  I think this batch actually turned out even better than the first one.

A bowl full of love.

Potato Broccoli Soup

3 leeks, sliced – white and light green parts only
1/2 red or orange bell pepper, diced
1 stick butter
4-6 russet potatoes, peeled & cubed
1-2 cups chopped broccoli
approximately 4 cups of milk (I used 1% but any kind you have will work)
1-2 tsp. salt
1-2 tsp. pepper
1-2 tsp. dill
pinch of paprika
cheddar cheese for topping (optional)

Saute leeks and peppers with butter in a skillet over medium heat.  When they are soft, put in a blender or food processor with a cup of milk and puree.  Meanwhile, put potatoes in a pot, cover with water and bring to a boil.  Boil 5 minutes or so, then add broccoli.  Cook another 10-15 minutes until veggies are soft.  Drain off most of the water, put back on stove.  Add leek & pepper puree to the potato mixture.  Add another cup of milk, and use a potato masher to mash around in there.  I like to break it down, but still leave plenty of chunks.  Feel free to puree the whole thing, part of it, or  none of it, depending on the texture of soup you like.  I prefer the masher method.  Add seasonings, starting with one teaspoon each of salt, pepper & dill and adding more if needed.  Add a pinch of paprika.  Add more milk until it is the consistency you like.  It’s easier to add more than to take it away, so add a little at a time, stirring in between.  Heat through and serve.  I like mine with some shredded cheese on top and some toasted bread on the side.

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