As you know the school I am in is vegetarian. So of course we cook lots of plants! I never knew there was so much involved. We have studied stocks, sauces, herbs, spices, rice, ancient grains, legumes, greens, fruit, root vegetables, preserving......and a bunch of days that have run together in my mind! We spent some time this week learning the different types of vegetables.
There are roots (carrots, parsnips), tubers (potatoes, beets), stems/stalks (celery, rhubarb, bamboo shoots), leaves (collards, kale), pods (snap peas, green beans), flowers (broccoli, cauliflower) rhizomes (ginger, turmeric), comers (taro), and fungus (mushrooms and truffle). For the recipes in class using "flower" vegetables, we cooked cauliflower roasted with raisins, and stir-fried broccoli with shiitake mushrooms. Both were really good.
The last broccoli I made at home is version of a classic you get at potlucks all over the south, a cold broccoli salad. It is usually made with bacon, raisins and a dressing that calls for mayonnaise and whole cup of sugar! Wow.....and yes I used to really make one like that! This new version is much lighter, but no less tasty. You can add back in the bacon if you like. Just fry up a few pieces and crumble them in at the end. I think the real secret to this salad is to soak the broccoli florets in ice cold water for an hour before you mix in the other ingredients and dressing. It makes them tender and crisp. It is also nice to let it sit in the fridge for a little while (maybe an hour) after mixing but before serving to let the flavors meld a little. So that's it....two classic salads in two days!
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Potluck Broccoli Salad
Prep Time: 1 hour plus 15 minutes
Cook Time: none
Ingredients (4 servings)
- 3 broccoli crowns, trimmed and cut into small florets. (about 6 cups) Reserve stems for another use.
- 1/2 cup diced red onion
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup roasted, salted cashews
- 1 cup of mayonnaise or Veganaise
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 8 grinds of pepper
Put the broccoli florets into a large bowl. Cover with water and add a few handfuls of ice. Let soak for one hour. (Don't skip this step. It makes the broccoli tender.)
Combine mayo, sugar and pepper in a small bowl.
Remove broccoli from the bowl and drain well. Add the red onion and cranberries. Add about 2/3 of the dressing and toss well to combine. Add more dressing as needed. Add the cashews just before serving and mix well. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed.
This will keep several days in the refrigerator. The cashews will get soggy so they are best added as you eat the salad. I ate this over 4 days and the cashews didn't bother me being soggy. It will get a little bit watery as time goes by, so it really is best eaten the same day or the next day.