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Broccoli stems and other treasures

 
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bruja
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PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2011 5:13 pm    Post subject: Broccoli stems and other treasures Reply with quote

When I'm stressed and know that I'm going to be super busy, I binge cook.

Day before yesterday, I checked out the refrigerator and found I had 3 broccoli stems and 1 stem still with floret. Also half a cauliflower. Peeled and chopped all the broccoli stems, and trimmed and chopped the cauliflower stem, plus 2 large celery stalks, and a medium onion.

I cooked all this in butter (tbl spoon or so) in a heavy pot over low heat, until limp but not brown.

Peeled and diced a med potato. Added a cup of water and the potato to the pot. Covered and cooked over low heat until the potato was very soft.

Added a cup of chicken broth. Used a hand blender to puree, right in the pot.

Now I had over 3 cups of lovely pale green soup base, ready to split into 3 containers. 2 lots were frozen; 1 will be served as hot soup, with an equal amount of 2% milk added (and a small pitcher of sherry on the table to allow each person to choose how much). 1 will be served on a hot day, with 10% cream added, and chopped cilantro or green onion on top.

The last portion I used last night, in a new way. I had a large poached chicken breast, and a lot of cremini mushrooms, which were $1.49 a lb, because they were slightly dry (which only concentrates the flavour).

I peeled and sliced enough mushrooms to fill a casserole dish (6x6 inches and deepish), and added a chopped quarter of a yellow bell pepper. Covered and shoved into the microwave for 90 seconds, which cooked the volume way down. Added the diced chicken breast, little broccoli florets (after I gave them 30 seconds in the microwave, covered), then added a quarter cup of cooked green beans from the night before.

I'd been thinking of using bought alfredo sauce, but instead I added the broccoli soup base with a little water, and mixed everything together.

Then I topped with a package of stove top stuffing (no stale bread on hand!), and poured a cup of warm water over the top.

Baked at 350 for 30 minutes.

Definitely needed fresh ground pepper when served. Next time, I'll add more flavour before cooking.

Half the casserole, with a side of fresh asparagus, was dinner for 2. The other half is in the freezer for next week.

I got the idea for the soup base from a recipe for vichyssoise, and I've tried it with a lot of different vegetables. I find I don't like it made with carrots or turnips, which give it a 'canned vegetable soup' taste.

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17mars
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PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2011 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds wonderful!
I only eat broccoli stems and not the florets which I have a hard time digesting. I like them peeled, diced, boiled in two different waters to cut back on the gaseous qualities and served with a bit of butter. My Dad likes them only in Jacques Pepin's broccoli stem risotto recipe.

I did a similar "clean out the fridge" soup last week. I pureed all of the veg that was halfway decent (green onions, a couple carrots, droopy celery, etc) and added it , with water, to a cup of split peas and a small slice of leftover ham (diced) that I had in the freezer. Well seasoned, it tasted very nice indeed.
Don't think dad cared for it much but that is because he watched me make it. He reminded me of the old episode of Barney Miller in which Nick asks Barney to stir his soup for him. Barney does so but claims it smells like garbage. Nick exclaims, "What do you mean garbage? It's a Japanese delicacy. It has fish heads, celery tops...come to think of it, that IS garbage." Dad has a funny sense of humour and sometimes looks upon my resourcefulness askance. I still say wilty celery is fine for soup stock.
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TheIms3
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PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2011 12:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can't really eat fresh broccoli, but I do a similar thing with whole cauliflower and leeks--I stick them in a pan with a bit of olive oil and put them in the oven until they are a bit blackened and soft, and then puree them with some chicken broth. I add some cream-type item (whatever I have) to finish it. It's good by itself, and I've also added asparagus, carrots, or potatoes to the mix with equally good results.
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PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2011 12:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree also with you, Mars--flexible carrots and flopping celery are excellent in soup, as are wrinkly potatoes and sprouting onions. smile
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DamonDamore
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PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2011 6:30 pm    Post subject: Re: Broccoli stems and other treasures Reply with quote

bruja wrote:
The other half is in the freezer for next week.


You don't know how happy this phrase makes me! Coming from a household where leftovers = Tomorrow and the next day and the next day and the next day (repeat until gone)... it's nice to know other people will go crazy eating the same dish over and over again! bang

(And you know, nutrition and all that.)

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17mars
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PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2011 8:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I definitely freeze leftovers. Coming from a family group of never more than three and not being keen on leftovers myself, I find they taste a whole lot better a few weeks later (and save on the cooking too.)
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TheIms3
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PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2011 10:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We have 6 people, but we usually have leftovers from dinner. Once in a great while we'll freeze them, especially if it's a straight-up meat, i.e. chicken breasts or steaks, but generally I use them for breakfast the following day. blush My resistance is low in the morning, bur I am a firm believer in a healthy breakfast, so having dinner leftovers in the morning saves me a great deal of pain. Everyone here seems to like it, as well.
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bruja
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PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2011 3:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TheIms3 wrote:
having dinner leftovers in the morning saves me a great deal of pain. Everyone here seems to like it, as well.


Kind of the reverse of my serving breakfast for dinner, when I'm short of time and fresh veggies. Omelet with leftover cooked asparagus or spinach, plus a side of fried mushrooms and/or tomatoes, is always welcome. Home fries on the side if there are leftover boiled or baked potatoes.

Tonight I have to invent something to do with a package of ground beef from the freezer, lots of mushrooms, and a slightly wrinkled green bell pepper. There's a can of red kidney beans, so maybe mushroom chili con carne. I've lots of onions and spices.

G had a craving for sauerkraut and octoberfest sausage last night, and half the sausage is left. Think I'll slice up the sausage, add green pepper, onions, and lots of mushrooms (still 3 lbs in the fridge). I could serve that tomorrow night with baked potatoes, squash from the freezer, and brussel sprouts.

Okay, that's meals planned until Tuesday, when I'll shop and look for anything interesting on sale, as well as stock up on fresh veggies. biggrin

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