When I told Rachel what I was blogging about for today, she said something like “Oh you mean the kind of dish you would have served to torture me as a child?” See, I am a broccoli freak and I serve it at least twice a week — and have for years. And Rachel always said it tasted yucky and she didn’t like it. And I would give my pat answer: “Your taste buds change every 24 hours, so just go ahead and give it another try.” You know, standard mom patter to children showing you less than an enthusiastic response.
And then I read somewhere — or maybe Rachel read it somewhere and shoved it in front of my nose — about how some people have taste buds that actually taste things more bitterly than others, and that broccoli and cauliflower are in the group of veggies that some people can find especially bitter. In other words, Rachel was right about how broccoli tastes to her. So sorry, Rachel. I won’t serve broccoli when you’re around ever again. But for the rest of you, trust me, you’ll like this tasty casserole.
Broccoli and Cauliflower Casserole
3-4 cups of chopped broccoli florets
1 small head cauliflower, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
2-3 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons dried chives
1 1/2 cups grated cheese–cheddar? Gouda? Gruyere? Experiment to see what you like. I used Gouda.
pepper to taste
1 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup olive oil for drizzling
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the broccoli and cauliflower in the pot for about 10 minutes until tender. Drain and mash them together in a large pot.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9X13-inch baking pan with olive oil.
Heat the butter in a large skillet and saute the onions with some salt. Cook about 10 minutes or until translucent. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Add the chives.
In a small bowl, beat the eggs in a small bowl. Then stir into the veggie mash. Add the cheese and onion mix and stir. Salt and pepper to taste. Place in the baking pan.
Place the bread crumbs on top and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 40 minutes until brown on top.
First some business. We are very happy to announce that the winner of Jenny Rosenstrach’s new book, Dinner A Love Story, is GEORGIA! Hope you like it as much as we enjoy Jenny’s blog of the same name and her book.
Anyway, when I–Janet–was reading the book last week, Jenny piqued my interest when she mentions “deal breakers,” the thing that we see in a recipe that immediately makes us turn the page. For some people it’s yeast (it was for her for a while); for others it might be phyllo dough. You get the idea. Anyway that got us to thinking about another kind of deal breaker — ingredients that we refuse to cook for one reason or another. So, without further ado, here’s our list of foods we refuse to cook. Are any of them on your list? What’s something you absolutely detest and won’t let in your house much less into one of your skillets?
Rachel: I’m so glad my cake pop flop inspired you to do some baking, although I have to admit I was looking forward to hearing about G eating a VEGETABLE stir-fry, especially since the stir-fry apparently included KALE. I mean how unfair is that? This is the child who for years hid one of the two tiny florets of broccoli I would give him. The only vegetables he ate, besides potatoes, until he was about 8 was what served as “vegetables” in cans of Dinty Moore beef stew.
Of course G did establish early on that he would try vegetables other people besides me cooked. I remember the summer he came home from Camp Nyack and Michele mentioned in passing that G ate edamame. Edamame????? Really???? Are you kidding me???? That would have been a big fat, “No” if I had tried to serve that up, no matter how much salt I put on it.
I got past taking it personally (mostly), but I wonder how you will feel when M decides she’s absolutely not putting something you worked hard on creating past her lips. As the Nana, I, of course, will never make her eat anything she doesn’t want, and she will always get dessert.
The red-eye flight home went well today/last night (kind of delirious at the moment I must admit so I’m not sure what day it is) although of course my theory of sleeping through it all was completely imaginary. The only good part of currently operating on about three hours of sleep is that I know I will sleep well tonight, and as someone who has battled sleep problems for the last decade ever since a particular female event occurred, I’m actually okay with being exhausted right now.
It was so wonderful to see Miss M, who is a baby rock star and that’s just a fact not besotted grandma speak. It’s amazing to see how much she’s changed since we saw her about six weeks ago and to actually be able to interact with her. That smile is killer and renders her Pamp and me into total mush. Once she realizes how much she can control us, we are in trouble for sure.
It was also great to operate more as our new larger family. Three months into your new adventure, you and John are no longer as shell-shocked so, while you’re both exhausted and Miss M still rules the day’s schedule, we had a little more time to just be together as a family. It was so much fun to cook for you and to see how we all interact around this communal eating. I could picture times in the future when M (and perhaps a sibling or cousins from G and S?) are older and we all just cook and eat and play games. I can’t wait.
In the meantime, if you want to know how to make this sour cream chicken, here’s the recipe. I loved it as a kid and I’ve loved making it for you, G and S. It was one of those dinners when my mother announced this was what was coming to the table, I was so happy because I knew I would eat every bite. I can’t wait to make it for M some day.
Sour Cream Chicken
I made it for 5 but you can add as many chicken breasts as you want and then just increase the amount of sour cream, etc
Note: This is a two=day recipe. The chicken marinates in the sour cream mixture overnight.
5 skinless chicken breasts
about 1 1/2 cups sour cream (I use low-fat)
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
Tobasco or hot sauce of choice to taste (about 6 jerks of the bottleis a good place to start)
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup bread crumbs (or more if you’re making more)
Wash the chicken and pat dry. Mix all the ingredients together and then dredge each breast in the sour cream mixture and place in a flat baking pan. Whatever is left over I pour on top of the breasts. Cover the breasts with foil and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, carefully lift up each breast and gently dredge in the bread crumbs. Place back in baking pan. Put back in the fridge until you’re ready to bake.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Uncover the chicken and bake one hour or until the chicken is done.
The sour cream “crust” makes this chicken especially tender. I served it with my favorite veggie (which I forgot you hate) and a version of your smashed potatoes, which G proclaimed later were not as good as yours. Dammit it…..stay tuned, I will make them again.
Janet here: When I want to make a fast guilt-free dinner that’s nutritious, I make my favorite kind of pizza: broccoli pizza with cheese. I prefer my pizza without red sauce and love making up different concoctions of goodies to put on top. The options are as vast as your imagination. As I’ve noted before, broccoli is my absolute favorite vegetable; I only allow myself to serve it twice a week so there isn’t a family mutiny, but if I lived on my own (and cooked, which is another story), I would eat broccoli all the time.
Anyway this pizza makes use of pre-made pizza dough from the store — I said this was an easy meatless meal, remember? — but if you prefer to make your own, go for it. I have done it, but with pre-made dough (I like Trader Joe’s) so ubiquitous these days, I’d rather put my time into something else. Anyway, this meal literally takes minutes, which means your Monday can be meat-free and easy.
serves 2 with a little left over
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium head of broccoli cut up into bite-size pieces
1 medium onion, diced but not too finely
2-3 cloves garlic, minced (or more if you like garlic)
spices: I use everything from red pepper flakes to oregano, basil, salt and pepper, all to taste
3/4 cup crumbled feta
1 cup grated parmesan
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar
Let the dough sit out for 20 minutes to reach room temperature. While that’s happening, saute the onions until they are translucent, about 5 minutes or so. Add the garlic. Saute for 1 minutes. Add the broccoli and seasonings. Saute, stirring occasionally, until the broccoli is just cooked (I like my veggies crunchy and remember you will be baking this so it will be cooked further). Put aside.
Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Roll out the pizza dough on a floured surface to roughly a 12-inch diameter. Place the dough onto your sprayed cookie sheet or pizza stone. Add the broccoli saute. Top with the cheeses. Bake for about 10 minutes, depending on how crisp you like your pizza crust.