Broccoli is not something I grew up with. I learned to eat broccoli in my adulthood, and probably something I started to appreciate more once I decided to try more and more vegetarian recipes. My first memories of broccoli are not fun and were associated with dieting at an early age because I was in Ballet Camp… you know the days when I barely weighed 85lbs, but my ballet teacher told us all we could lose 10 more pounds. Oh, how we long TODAY to be as “fat” as we were then…
The truth is… broccoli is delicious, but it’s even better when you add some cheese to it. This recipe… has two cheeses, but you can indulge and add any or as many cheeses as you want.
This is a great recipe to use broccoli that’s a little past its prime… and to use the whole vegetable, florets and stalk too. It’s also awesome for times when you’re super busy. The potatoes and broccoli boil/steam on their own with little tending to. Check it out…
BROCCOLI MASHED POTATOES
3-4 medium Yukon Gold or red-skinned potatoes
½ a head of broccoli, florets and stem or you can use just florets if you prefer
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 tbs of butter
2 ounces of cream cheese
2 tbs of plain greek yogurt
1 handful of shredded 6-cheese blend
Drizzle of Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
- Boil the potatoes by placing them in a medium pot with water almost covering the potatoes. Salt liberally. Place over medium-high heat. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. When the water is boiling and steam is starting to escape the lid, turn the heat to medium low and boil/steam until the potatoes are tender for about 10-15 minutes.
- While the potatoes cook, prepare the broccoli… By cutting the florets away from the stem. Peel the stem to reveal the tender inside. Cut the stem into small pieces and put them to boil together with the potatoes. Dump in the garlic cloves too. Reserve the florets.
- When the potatoes are about to be done, place the florets inside the pot over the potatoes and cover the pot again. Count until 10 and turn the stove off. The broccoli florets will cook with the steam inside the pot already. Wait about 10 minutes until you uncover the pot again.
- After the 10 minutes have elapsed, drain most of the water and return the potatoes and broccoli to the same pot you cooked it all in. Add the butter, drizzle of olive oil, cream cheese and yogurt. Mash them well. When all is mashed, add the shredded cheese and season with freshly cracked black pepper. Mix in well.
- You can certainly serve at this point… but if you want a crunchy top, transfer to a bake safe dish, add a little more shredded cheese on top and bake in a 400F over until the top turns golden brown. This is also the way I reheat any left-overs of this mash.
This is more a method than a recipe… because you can add any cheese you prefer to this recipe. I sometimes use the little bits and pieces of cheese I have laying around my cheese drawer for this. Any will work and will still taste delicious…
Once in a while I come up with these clean-your –fridge recipes, especially when I am about to go on a trip. I have an obsession to leave the fridge as clean as possible from all the fresh ingredients that most likely will spoil by the time I return. This is how most of my stuffed peppers and stuffed mushrooms recipes come about…
So lately, I’ve been trying to eat less cheese… I go in phases trying to do this because I know that I can abuse cheese if I am not careful. And cooking rice for me is a way to come up with dishes that do not rely on cheese as a garnish or flavoring agent. Although this dish can very well be enhanced by some cheese too…
The “millionaire” term was coined by Carmen at the Yoga Center because in her version, she needs to buy lots of ingredients to make a very luscious rice. But in my case, I work with what I have in my fridge and/or pantry of what’s left-over from other recipes.
This is more a method than a recipe per sé… I will show you what I have added to my most recent version of “millionaire rice” but feel free to create your very own combination the next time you feel the need to clean-out-your-fridge, for a trip or just before a big trip to the market…
2 cups of cooked brown rice
Broccoli, cut into small pieces
Carrots, chopped finely
Red or Yellow Bell Peppers, diced
Almonds , sliced almonds work best
Salt and Pepper to taste
I do not include amounts of ingredients, because this is about what you have available in your fridge…
- In a large skillet over medium heat, drizzle a small amount of olive oil and the diced onions, peppers and carrots. Cook them for a few minutes until they begin to soften.
- Add the mushrooms and broccoli pieces … Mix well so the flavors mix. Season with salt and pepper, or the garlic salt if you prefer. If you have a lid, cover the skillet and let the mushrooms and broccoli cook for a few minutes.
- Add the cooked rice to the skillet. Mix well and cover again. The steam in the skillet will soften the rice again if it’s hardened from being in the fridge. Allow cooking for a couple of minutes and add the almonds last. Tturn the stove off and leave it there for the residual heat to finish heating the rice, making it fluffy again.
This rice is a great side dish or even makes a great filling for stuffed peppers or stuffed tomatoes.
So I wanted to see if I could find a way to eat a whole head of broccoli before it turns yellow, like it usually does in my fridge. How can I eat large quantities of broccoli just by myself??? I have seen how Food Network chefs can make a pesto out of anything… pestos are just “pastes”, right? So let’s make it out of broccoli…
This recipe rocks… it is simple and you do not need to pre-cook the broccoli. I do cook a few florets separately to give it a nice touch and for people to see what’s in the dish. But it certainly does not need it. You can do without the extra broccoli pieces, particularly if you’re giving these to proclaimed non-lovers of broccoli.
Go ahead… convert them with this dish. I dare them to say they do not like broccoli!!!
½ head of broccoli, florets separated
2 oz of cream cheese
¼ cup almonds
½ tbs horseradish
¼ cup of shredded cheese mix
¼ cup pecorino romano cheese
2 garlic cloves
¼ cup heavy cream
About ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
½ bag of whole wheat or brown rice pasta
- In a large pot bring water to a boil to cook the pasta. Salt the water liberally and cook pasta according to package instructions, until al dente.
- Reserve a few broccoli florets for the final dish.
- Meanwhile, in the bowl of a food processor mix together the remainder raw broccoli, the cream cheese, almonds, horseradish, shredded cheeses, pecorino romano, garlic and heavy cream. Pulse a few times to combine. Add a drizzle of olive oil thru the shoot of the food processor until the mixture is creamy and loose.
- Take the reserved broccoli florets and add them to a hot skillet with a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- When the pasta is done, drain all water reserving about a cup and return the pasta to the same hot pot where it cooked. Add the creamy broccoli mixture to the pasta… add a few tablespoons of pasta cooking water to loosen the sauce if needed. Add the sautéed/cooked pieces of broccoli to the mix to add flavor and another layer of texture.
I am telling you… broccoli is everywhere and cheap. So I need to cook off all this broccoli before it goes bad on me.
As the official caterer to my mom and aunt while my grandma was in the hospital, I decided to make something they would both enjoy, knowing how picky and particular my aunt is about vegetarian food. She says she likes it… but then she has certain rules like she only eats avocados with rice… go figure!!!
These burritos are super easy to make… their portable and can be eaten warm or at room temperature. But warm are better in my opinion. Perfect for a picnic, brown-bag lunch and even to bring to someone in the hospital…
BROCCOLI RICE BURRITO
½ broccoli head, florets only
½ cup cooked whole grain rice
2 ounces of cream cheese
1/3 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese
¼ cup of toasted walnuts
2 handfuls of fresh baby spinach leaves
8 slices of tomato
4 tbs of Roasted Tomatillo Salsa
Salt and Pepper to taste
4 whole grain flour tortillas or flatbreads
- In a medium covered skillet with about ¼ cup of water, add the cooked rice and the broccoli florets. Cover the skillet and over medium heat that bit of water will steam both the rice and the broccoli. After about 10 minutes, just turn off the stove and the rice and broccoli will be done.
- Drain any excess water, but there usually isn’t any every time I make it this way. In that same skillet add a drizzle of olive oil, the cream cheese, parmesan, walnuts. Season with salt and pepper and mix well to combine.
- You can warm up the tortillas or the flatbreads if you’d like… I do it on the oven or in a skillet, depending on which ones I’ll use. Sometimes, the flatbreads are just perfect as is.
- Place about ¼ cup of rice on each tortilla/flatbread. Spread 1tbs of tomatillo salsa over it. Top with the baby spinach and tomato slices. Roll up the tortilla/flatbread and wrap in parchment paper before you put any aluminum foil over it. This way you’ll be able to stick them in the oven to warm up and they’ll stay warm for a while.
Both my mom and aunt loved these burritos… My mom had hers with a slice of avocado on the side, as she is in my camp that we will eat an avocado any time, any place without any restrictions whatsoever. But you can certainly add the avocado inside the burrito if you’d like.
Hope you like them too…
A year ago I was walking the streets of Paris for the second time… enjoying as much as my senses could gather. I loved the ambiance, the rhythm of the city… everything!!! I felt that if I wanted I may be able to even live there.
Well, that’s what my friend Jesiel actually did. She has moved herself to Paris to start at 33 a new career as a Pastry Chef. She recently started a blog – Sweet Journey of Inspiration – to capture her travels and her love for good authentic food, especially pastries.
So to reminisce about my days in Paris and to celebrate Jesiel’s decision to leave all that is familiar to her and start anew in a city where she still is learning the language, I decided to make these savory crepes…
Savory crepes… crêpes salées or gallettes are extremely popular in menus across Paris. As you can see from my previous post on Parisian crepes, they’re mostly made from buckwheat flour and come in an infinite variety of savory combinations. I had mine then with potatoes, spinach and cheese.
Well, with the abundance of broccoli we’ve had recently, these are made with delicious broccoli. They’re simple to make and a nice savory alternative to using up those crepes from our crepes recipe post right here…
POTATO BROCCOLI CREPES
1 small red potato, quartered
3-4 broccoli florets
Handful of shredded cheese – it could be gruyere or a cheese blend like I used
Handful of walnuts
Drizzle of honey – optional
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 crepes – recipe here
- In a small saucepan filled with about ½’ of water, place the potato quarters. Salt the potato. Cover and bring to a boil over medium heat.
- When the potato is about to be done, place the florets on top of the potato for them to steam. After covering the saucepan again, wait about 15 seconds and turn off the stove. The florets will cook with the steam and remaining heat in the saucepan for about 10 minutes more.
- If you have already made your crepes, you should reheat them so they’re flexible and pliable again. So while you wait on the broccoli to finish cooking, heat up a skillet (I use the same skillet I used to make the crepes in the first place) and over medium heat, place the crepes for about 1 minute on each side. This will just reheat them and bring them back to life…
- Drain the water from the potato and broccoli. Mash the potato and broccoli together. Season mash with salt and pepper. Add the shredded cheese and nuts to the mash. Mix well to combine.
- Place about ¼ cup of mashed mixture onto each crepe, fold and place in a plate. Drizzle with a bit of honey over crepes and sprinkle added nuts on top for garnish.