Broccoli Stems

Once you peel the tough outer layer, the stem is tender and offers a mild broccoli flavor.

I recently shredded some peeled stems and mixed with some shredded carrot and fennel; dressed with some basic vinaigrette it made for an intruiging slaw.

But you could also dice it and add it to soups. Or cook it as part of a mire-poix. What else?

Blah Blah Healthy Blah Blah

I love rustling through the fridge and seeing what might come together to make a reasonably tasty, somewhat healthy meal. Tonight's dinner was a great example of this. I had some asparagus, a container of spring mix, and my least favorite vegetable, green  beans-- they squeak when you bite them, they're mono dimensional, and the dimension they inhabit is "bland." But they were paid for and it was probably best to cook them up and pickle whatever portion I didn't eat-- Susan loves cold, cooked vegetables in vinaigrette.

But veggies need something other than themselves, don't they?  Further rusting revealed some homemade mayonnaise, some preserved lemon, and some caramelized onions. (For the second consecutive Sunday now I've cooked down 3 large onions into a concentrated, amalgam of sweet, oniony, goodness-- great on a sandwich, wonderful finely chopped and swirled into some chili.... how else can I use it?)

I steamed the green beans, then parboiled the asparagus while I heated the griddle. While that happened I diced a shallot and sautéed it in some butter. After a minute's steaming I put the asparagus on the griddle for a few minutes. I finely diced some of my preserved lemon and mixed it into a tablespoon of butter to make a compound butter. I put a teaspoon of mayonnaise into a bowel and slowly whisked in some homemade vinaigrette to make a creamy finish for the green beans. I finely diced some of the onion too.

It all came together nicely. The salad got some basic vinaigrette, the grilled asparagus got some lemon butter, and the onions added some deep sweetness to the green beans with the emulsified mayo-vinaigrette. I felt so virtuous after my healthy supper I treated myself to a third glass of wine and a plate of cheese.


Cassoulet? Pork and beans? Leftovers? Delicious. 

Earlier in the week I'd cooked up some tiny white beans-- they were adorable, actually, and cooked very quickly. I had some roasted carrots leftover from Sunday supper and tomato sauce and blanched beet greens frozen from last fall. I had two pork sausages and broke out the food processor to make bread crumbs. Dinner came together in under an hour, though 30 minutes of that was baking. I used one pot, a cast iron skillet.

Saute an onion in duck fat if you're lucky enough to have some (olive oil will do) a few minutes till soft. Add a couple of sliced up pork sausages and cook until caramelized and just cooked through, about 10-15 minutes. 

Add a couple of cups of cooked white beans, some chopped up cooked carrot, some chopped cooked greens, and about a cup of stock, water, or "bean liquid" (the stuff you get after the beans are done cooking). You want it wet, but not soupy. Not even stewy. Season with S and P and simmer for 10 minutes while you pre-heat the oven to 350.

Top the beans with a about a cup of bread crumbs, into which you've whizzed some parsley and a clove of chopped garlic. Drizzle some melted duck fat or bacon fat or olive oil or butter on top and bake for 20-30 minutes, until brown, fragrant and crusty.