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June 25, 2007


baking soda

Hey, pssst, I'm with you but I fear my kids will hear me so I'll just whisper.... You know back in the old days I would feed them broccoli in mashed potatoes like little trees standing up on the beach and I would even go as far to make a little gravy river with little halved meatball boats.. Nuts? Yeah know that. They ate it.
But now...I like the -peeled- stalks better than the real stuff. Best thing I can come up with is a 7minute dunk in already boiling water and mix with pasta, top with some good sauce (note the need of good sauce?).


There was a time, about 20 years ago, when I was completely infatuated with the Jane Brody Good Food Book. My copy (which I haven't looked at in a while) is heavily annotated. The Broccoli Chinoise (p 296) was a favorite, and I think I'll try it again soon, now that I'm reminded of it. She claims it got "top billing" at one of her tasting parties.

Broccoli Chinoise

1 large bunch broccoli (about 3 stalks)
1 T sesame seeds

2 T Oriental sesame oil (the dark kind, not the health food kind)
1/4 c rice vinegar or white wine vinegar
1 T imported soy sauce (pref reduced sodium)
1/2 tsp sugar
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Red pepper flakes to taste

1. Cut the flowerets off the stalks. Cut stems (peeled) on a slant into sliced about 3/8" thick, and cut the flowerets into bite size pieces. Place the broccoli on a steamer rack, and steam til tender-crisp, about 5-7 minutes. Cool immediately under cold running water.

2. In heavy skillet over med heat, toast the sesame seeds til they are golden, shaking pan to avoid burning. Remove from pan and, when they are cool, sprinkle over the broccoli.

3. Combine dressing ingredients and pour over the broccoli, tossing to mix the salad well.


Chinese-style stir fry:

Blanch broccoli for a minute or two. Set aside. This step isn't strictly necessary, but it helps, as you don't need as much oil.

Heat oil; fry some garlic. Add broccoli. Add a little soy sauce and toasted sesame oil. SO delicious!

Feel free to add mushrooms (add right after the garlic and cook for several minutes before adding broccoli), red bell pepper (add after broccoli), or other veggies. Add shrimp/chicken/tofu to make it a main dish - or beef, I guess, but I don't eat beef.


Hi Lindy, I'm a pretty faithful reader who adores your blog. I love broccoli (and so do my kids) cooked this way, and I don't even have to call them trees. :) My 5 year-old will eat second and third helpings before anything else.

Chinese-Style Broccoli (have no idea if authentic)

Cook fresh-cut broccoli only a minute or 2 in boiling water--long enough to tenderize, not long enough to lose color or crispness. Drain and let sit in a heated bowl while you do the following:

Slice 2 garlic cloves and make a quick garlic oil by sauteeing the cloves in 2 tablespoons olive oil until the cloves start to brown. Pour the oil but not the cloves over the broccoli, add 2 teaspoons soy sauce (or to taste) and mix well. Garnish with the fried garlic if you like. (I like)

So easy but soooooo good.


I'll eat it in any way, but it's a real treat roasted like asparagus, with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Wack the whole mushy head off, since you don't like them; otherwise, you should watch them carefully to keep off the burn.

And I love it in soups, which I bet would be a great idea for you. Even basic standard pureed veg soup prep (brown with some butter, onion, and diced potato for body; add veg--or chix--stock, simmer, blend) is delicious, and people will pay good money for it.

On more decadent days, I still love a well-prepared broccoli cheese soup, esp with a bit of red bell pepper (the solid version, I'm afraid, is just too much nursery food and cheez whiz).


I really like it steamed with just butter, salt, and pepper. The butter is key, obviously. I also second the stir-fry suggestions, although I tend to reserve just the peeled stalks for this. I like to stir-fry them with red pepper, onions, and rice cakes (the chewy kind you can find in Asian markets, not the puffy diet food).


Are you game for game Indian spicing?

Here is my fave way with broccoli prepared as common mallow greens are prepared in Kashmir:

Cut eggplant into large bite-size :-) pieces, fry in some olive/mustard oil and remove. In a little oil add a pinch of asafoetida, a spoonful of Kashmiri red chilli powder (cayenne pepper), stir for just a second, and add the broccoli florets, stems, stir around till they turn a deep green. Add salt, a tiny bit of garam masala, slit green or red chilli peppers, cover and cook for a few minutes. When broccoli is cooked to the desired tenderness, add the eggplant pieces, stir, and serve over warm steamed rice and a simple dahl or plain yoghurt.


I love it steamed or blanched with butter, lemon juice, and, don't tell anyone, flavored salt or seasoning of your choice. garlic salt, mrs. dash, whatever... I know, I'm going to foodie purgatory now... *shrug* :-)


I'm with you on the raw broccoli. It's simply not edible.


Ha ha, I'm right there with you in the broccoli-challenged camp. I'll eat it without complaint, but I almost never cook it. There is one exception, however: lightly steamed broccoli with cheese fondue. Maybe because it's the only positive association I have with broccoli from my childhood, but I can't make a rich gruyere fondue and not cook up some broccoli spears to dunk in it. You wouldn't believe how much molten cheese those little tree-tops can suck up, redeeming themselves completely for their lackluster performance in most other preparations.

Lynn D.

Such great ideas! I hope I get broccoli in my farm box this afternoon. I like broc in stir fries and sometimes blanch it first. Ginger goes well with it. How about your Asian inspired asparagus soup with broccoli instead and some ginger. I had a fabulous red curry in a Thai restaurant in Seattle: broc, red pepper, fresh pineapple chunks and shrimp in a blazing red curry-coconut sauce, not usually my thing, but it was great. Marcella Hazen has a recipe for smothered broc in red wine: onion, Greek olives, anchovies, parmesan, broc, red wine and olive oil layered in a pan and simmered covered over low heat for an hour til liquid is evaporated. She likes to serve it on its own with good bread and cheese. I've made it and it's good (with white wine as well). Old fashioned chicken divan is also terrific.


I like "trees" mixed into homemade mac & cheese (not the boxed stuff).


Wow. thank you all. There seem to be two main strands here- the cheese theme and the soy sauce sesame theme. I am intigued by these, the roasting option (I love roasted veg, but it hadn't occured to me), and the indian spicing recipe. I think I will try the Marcella idea first, as I seem to have all the ingredients. I need to get me some asafoetida for this and some other things I'm wanting to make,Anita.

Vicki in Michigan

We all love broccoli at our house, so we eat it plain.

I'll mention that if you slice the stalks of raw broccoli, perpendicular to the length, very thin, you needn't peel. You've cut the tough outside into short enough lengths that it's fine. Also makes the stem cook in the same amount of time as the tops, for people who like the tops....


I don't think anyone has mentioned broccoli with lemon butter and pine nuts. Blanch it or boil it or steam until tender and then toss with slightly browned butter, lemon juice and toasted pine nuts. Yum! But be careful with the brown butter and lemon juice ratio. If it gets out of wack it tastes like you are trying to mix a lemon tart with a cruciferous veg.

And of course you can always through it into a quiche with some sharp cheese and maybe sauteed mushrooms.

Somebody above mentioned single veg. pureed soups, which I am a big fan of and which I feel are totally underrated. I like them because it reduces any vegetable just to it's taste and removes the less than exciting texture or appearance.

You could also make little croquette like things using mashed potatoes, steamed, finely chopped broccoli, sharp cheese, and whatever seasoning float your boat. That might be a little too TGI Fridays, though.


Broccoli soup is stunning. It goes really (and surprisingly to my mind) creamy. Even when it's as simple as just cooking in stock and then blending.

Season. A dollop of yoghurt or cream and a shaving of parmesan - yummo.

the chocolate lady (eve)

Maybe I should keep mum, but here I go anyway. Why should you cook broccoli? Can you trade yours with someone who loves the stuff but can't stand chard?

I am in sympathy, I think, with your situation, because I can't look at any other bunch of greens without thinking of a dozen ways they would be delicious, but somehow broccoli just does not bake my potatoes.

This may be the first time I have ever suggested someone *not* cook something.


Chocolate lady-I'm not sure why, but I am driven to keep trying things other people like to eat until I can appreciate them. I have had some spectacular conversions with this approach, where I now love the things that used to put me off. Cilantro comes to mind-I couldn't stand it at first- thought I was being poisoned or something- and now I'm addicted to the stuff.

Why I feel like I'm on a mission in this regard, I couldn't say. It doesn't have some ethical or theoretical basis behind it or anything like that. Go figure.


I am not a broccoli fan although years ago in a little Chinese restaurant while waiting for our meal, our table was served a little dish of sliced broccoli stems that had been marinated in a sesame oil dressing, and this broccoli was completely delicious. I can't remember anything else we ate but I remember the broccoli and I remember that everyone at the table raved about it.

They were peeled, I don't think they'd been cooked at all because they were very crunchy, and I'm not sure of the dressing ingredients beyond sesame oil.

I tried to recreate it a few times without success, although just thinking about them inspires me to try again.


How about in eggs?


i think i need to share broccoli with you... because i can't stand the chewy, fibrous stems. i'm all about the "florets". we'd make a great pair.

i like to put mine in stir fry with a sauce made of 2-3 parts sugar (or brown sugar), 4 parts soy sauce, 1 part corn starch and probably 5-6 parts water (these are all estimates, i do it all by memory/feel/eye). it thickens into a nice, sweet, sticky sauce when poured over veggies & simmered. that's my favorite way to have broccoli.

the chocolate lady (eve)

Oh, if it is a mission then I understand perfectly.

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