Monday, 19 January 2015

Broccoli: A Week in Leftovers

I am not quite sure what happened to last week. I did cook. We did eat. I did think about writing those things down. It didn't happen. Still, not wanting to let perfect become the enemy of the good, let's see what we ate.

We had leftovers of the Mushroom Marsala Pasta Bake for lunch (delish!) and for dinner I made Cream of Broccoli soup from the Joy of Cooking. If I had to recommend one desert island cookbook, it would be the JOC. There are basic recipes for just about anything you can think of, so it's a great jumping off point. The recipe calls for celery, but as I had none and didn't want to go back to the store, I used leeks instead. I doubled the recipe and it fed us lunch for the rest of the week. If you're nervous about cream, use a little at a time until you're happy with the level of creaminess. I grated Gruyere cheese on top as a garnish (delicious and melty) and served a Paratha (frozen, from No Frills) on the side.

Cream of Broccoli soup for lunch, so that worked out nicely if I do say so myself. In hunting for the lone frozen Paratha in the freezer the night before, I found a frozen flank steak and took it out to thaw. One of my favourite things to do with flank steak is Beef and Broccoli (are you sensing a theme?), so we had that. Fortunately, we only required from the store more broccoli.

Beef and Broccoli - My notes:
-Flank steaks are often heavier than a pound, and it's not really something you ask your butcher to...butcher, so aim for a 2 pounder and freeze the rest (label your ziploc with the contents and date).
-If the meat is still a smidgen frozen, it will be easier to slice very thinly.
-This doesn't seem like much marinade, but it's fine.
-I never have Chinese rice wine. I sometimes have sherry, so I'll use that, otherwise I use a combination of rice wine vinegar and soy sauce.
-I never have Chinese black vinegar. I always have balsamic.
-My instincts screamed this is not a sufficient way to steam broccoli. It totally is. Go with it.
-I use canola or sunflower oil as my high heat cooking oil, but you could use peanut too. 2015 is the year I learn the difference between oils!
-I tend to use a wok-ish pan for this dish, which isn't large enough to allow for the meat to spread over just one layer. Don't sweat it. Give it 30 seconds, toss, 30 seconds, and so on until the meat is no longer pink. These are thin strips, so they cook fast.
-D likes extra soy to add at the end, but that's very much to taste.
-We serve with white rice. I love brown rice, but it tends to take more time to cook than this recipe allows. Still, I think brown rice has more texture and flavour, so if you can time it right, by all means use brown. You could also use udon, soba, or rice noodles.

I love it when a plan comes together! I had beef and broccoli for lunch, David had soup, and then beef and broccoli for dinner since I was out.

More soup! And frankly, this is the moment when your interest in any particular leftover wanes, so it was just as well we finished the soup. Given that it was a Friday and it had been A. Week. We decided to have Chinese food for dinner. Might we recommend Danforth Dragon?

We were out of soup at this point but I wanted to keep the streak going so I made another one! Melissa Clark is a big part of the NYT Cooking team now, but I first read about her cookbook Cook It Now and instantly had to have it. It's arranged by month and since she's in New York, it really does match the season and sense of what you might want to eat at different times of year. The recipe for 'Fragrant Lentil Rice Soup with Spinach and Crispy Onions' is for February, but given none of the ingredients are hard to find any time of year, it makes for a really wonderful and filling soup.

Fragrant Lentil Rice Soup with Spinach and Crispy Onions - My notes
-Ignore the implied order of cooking and make the onions while the soup does it's final 30 minute simmer. Her method for charring the onions seems fussy, but it does work, so stick with it.
-Speaking of onions, do them all in one go. My tip for preventing onion tears? Wear contact lenses, if you have them.
-DO use the spinach but you can pass on the mint and the lime wedges.
-Another thing I love about this book is she offers her own notes at the end of the recipe, and among them are that the soup itself is really more stew-y, so add more broth if you like a thinner soup. As well, she suggests just stirring the leftover onions into the leftover soup.
-She recommends homemade paratha (and gives a recipe), but I've never been brave enough to try. We buy frozen from No Frills and they are delish.

We had Sian's Famous Lazy Eggs Benny for breakfast (recipe coming soon) before we started, gulp, moving our stuff to my mother-in-laws. For a variety of reasons, we've decided to take her up on her generous offer to live there while we figure out our next move. Given that my MIL is a fantastic, albeit slightly sparer than I, cook, it'll be interesting to see how the cooking shakes out. I've already declared my intention to unpack my favourite small kitchen appliances.

And that brings us to today. I've got an amazing Ragu Bolognese on, which I can't wait to tell you about tomorrow.

No comments:

Post a Comment