At the last minute, I found this week's Blogger Secret Ingredient on Chaya's Comfy Cook Blog. Being somewhat of a working stiff these days, I don't always discover the BSI in time to ponder, prep and post an appropriate recipe. This week, I found out Sunday morning of the closing date. That meant I had some time to cook and lunch to think about, so I did what any blogger in my position would do: I went out to buy some broccoli.
I know it's not everyone's favorite vegetable, but I love broccoli. I like to think it's because of the emerald green colour, the sweet taste of lightly steamed florets, and some sort of sub-conscious/pyscho-somatic appreciation for the vitamins and anti-oxidants. But really, I think it's because of The Enchanted Broccoli Forest, a favorite cookbook in my house when I was young. What child wouldn't want to think of her vegetable as home to a magical land?
Sadly, said favorite cookbook is still in my parent's house, so I had to use a more recent favorite broccoli recipe. I decided to post two versions because the basic recipe usually gets turned into the second variation (and, well, why not?). Broccoli is the perfect vehicle for strong flavors. When lightly cooked, its inherent sweetness provides balance to garlic and chili. The vegetable is a great side dish and ingredient itself, but is also hearty enough to be the main attraction. Plus, both recipes are dead easy.
So, without further ado, here goes:
Broccoli with peanut dipping sauce
Steamed or blanched broccoli
¼ C. smooth peanut butter
1 T. oil
1 T. minced garlic
1 T. minced ginger
1 T. lime juice
1 tsp. mirin
1 T. soy sauce
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
Blend or just mix well. Serve with broccoli.
Broccoli and soba noodles with peanut sauce
I like to eat this dish cold, but it is very tasty warm. I also like to make broccoli the star ingredient, so it's more like a broccoli salad with soba noodles rather than the other way around. Depending on the consistency of the peanut sauce, you may need to thin it slightly with a teaspoon of water (or more soy sauce/lime juice/whatever your taste buds fancy).
Cooked soba noodles
Steamed broccoli florets
1-2 T. peanut sauce (see above) per person
1 tsp. sesame seeds, toasted in a dry pan
Mix broccoli and soba with peanut sauce, thinning if necessary. Top with sesame seeds. Eat!
Serves as many as you have broccoli to cook.