Food! Did you know…

I am still learning to cook yummy food? Yeah. I have been cooking for several months now – not every day, and not usually anything fancy — and I am I’m learning.  I can follow recipe really well now, and feel confident I know what I am doing.  I braised beef the other day – I can’t wait to tell you about that experience – and how delicious the house smelled… Mmmmm… Oh.. wait.. we’re not talking about braised beef today – today we’re talking about Broccoli!  Yes. This is a darn yummy vegetable.  No, you wouldn’t have heard me say that about a year ago.  I still prefer the stalks, but I am getting used to the florets.

Did you know — The hardest part of blanching broccoli is the chopping the broccoli into the bit sized florets you want to put into your mouth?

I sure didn’t know, I’ll admit it.

The other week MMC Racing and I were watching a cooking show on one of the food channels and blanching broccoli was on the menu. I watched with interest. Ok. That’s doable. I stored that in the memory banks for later.

Last week he has this crazy idea to have broccoli as part of his breakfast, but that he would like it blanched before he puts in the fry pan with garlic and olive oil.  He asked if I would do that for him.  We discussed how much he wanted and when.  The next thing I know, I’m choppin’ broccoli!

This is what I did and how I plan on doing it again today:

  1. Grab a big pot.
  2. Fill it with water.
  3. Put it on the stove top on a high heat.
  4. Add a bunch of kosher salt to the water. By a bunch, I mean more than a teaspoon. Maybe a tablespoon or two – depends on how big the pot is.  What I learned from the show is the water should be salty to the taste.  Maybe as much as you put into your pasta water? I am still winging it on this one, but whatever I did last time, worked.
  5. Bring the water to a boil.

    Boiling Water
  6. Fill a large bowl with salted ice water. Yes, more salt. Put in as much salt as you did for the hot water. Be sure to leave room for the broccoli, but also make sure it’s super cold and salty.
  7. Add broccoli florets to the boiling water. I used a spoon to put them in so the boiling water wouldn’t splash onto me. Something like this would work.

    Straining Spoon
  8. Time it for 2-3 minutes. This means no checking social media, no going to the restroom, no letting the dogs out. These 2-3 minute go by too quickly for you to be distracted!  I pre-set the timer on our microwave for 2 minutes. After I got the last piece in, I started the timer.  I watched the pot.  I pushed a few pieces deeper into the water because that what I saw on TV. I wanted to make sure everyone gets warmed up. Time beeps.
  9. Turn off timer.  Turn off burner.
  10. Scoop out the broccoli and place directly into the ice bath you prepared.
    Time for an icy salt water bath
    Time for an icy salt water bath

    This shocks the broccoli and stops it from cooking. It should also be an amazing bright green. Perfect!

  11. Scoop out and drain the cooled broccoli.
  12. Place into a zipper bag or another container of your choosing. Store in refrigerator. Eat within the week.

Not hard, right?

This is an easy way to make broccoli ahead of any meal.  Remember, it takes longer to chop it up than it does to blanch it!  And if you buy the bag of precut florets then you are going to be done with this task in no time flat!

Blanched broccoli can be added to nearly anything!  You can cook it a little more, like MMC Racing does with some olive oil and garlic.  You can sauté it with additional veggies and pile it on top of some spaghetti squash or ‘real’ spaghetti. You can eat it as is!  Your options are unlimited! Try something new.

Go forth and cook! Tell me what tips and tricks you have for blanching broccoli and I’ll see if they work for me.

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