When tending to one’s own garden (what a metaphor for life, right?), the constant challenge is finding ways to use each crop as it proliferates before it says goodbye. And what satisfaction it is to prepare an entire meal from the back yard.

 

What to do with broccoli? There’s so much of it. At least there was until about a week ago. And new seeds can be started now for a great fall crop of the stuff. Many don’t like broccoli. It’s in the cauliflower family. The smell, taste and texture, I’ve been told, are off-putting. I happen to love broccoli. It’s full of protein and goes well in stir fries, stews, soups and on its own. It’s also very easy to keep in the freezer for greening up those dark winter meals.

 

In the store the florets are reminiscent of the gargantuan sized fruit in Woody Allen’s “Sleeper”, but at home there are smaller, more numerous stalks that are more delicate and flavorful. Not sure why that is. Probably just different body types, like us (endomorph, mesomorph and ectomorph).

 

If you don’t like it, maybe knowing that it contains lots of fiber, antioxidants and vitamin C will help persuade you to give it another shot. And it there are many ways to prepare it:

 

For those who love broccoli: simply have it steamed with Sea Salt and butter.

I also like to throw on some freshly grated Romano and pepper.

 

In cold salads it’s also great:

Chill steamed florets (I always include peeled sliced stalks) and combine with any number of veggies also coming up: turnips, cucumbers, snap peas, green peppers, string beans, garlic and onions. And mix in a marinade of cold-pressed organic olive oil (it keeps the fats in tact), Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (a great tasty alternative to fermented products like vinegar, which are acidic for your system), fresh parsley, cilantro, and any other herbs growing out back that’ll taste great. And, of course, sea salt and pepper.

 

Here’s a plug for using organic herbs and spices, if you don’t grow your own. Pesticides are rampant in commercial products, so choose wisely. There are fresh and dried versions, if you look for them. Granted they are a bit more expensive, but they last a long time and aren’t you worth it? Also, if we all start to buy organic, the prices will come down and influence the bigger companies to clean up their act.

 

For those who may not like the taste, but want to reap the rewards, there’s always soup. Here’s a basic recipe that can be varied, depending on preference and availability of items:

 

Pureed Vegetable Soup With Broccoli Florets:

Serves 4

 

To taste:

A Few Potatoes -- peeled & diced

A Few Medium stalks Celery -- chopped

A Few Medium Carrots – chopped

(proportion optional – see Broccoli amount and gauge flavors that way)

1 Medium Onion (or more, to taste) -- chopped

1 each (or keep proportional) -- garlic, clove -- minced

2 Cups Vegetable stock

1/4 Teaspoon -- Black Pepper (or to taste)

1/2 Teaspoon -- Thyme

1 Dash Nutmeg (to taste)

3 Cups Broccoli Florets

1 Cup Milk (or Rice Milk, for vegans or lactose intolerants)

1 Egg Yolk -- lightly beaten (or the whites of 2 eggs, if yolks are not preferred; or tofu, if vegan/vegetarian)

1 Tablespoon Soy sauce

 

GARNISH: minced fresh parsley, dash of paprika, minced fresh chives, grated cheese, sliced almonds, or finely diced sweet red peppers, opt.

 

In saucepan, place potatoes, celery, carrots, onion, garlic, stock, and seasonings. Bring to a boil, cover, lower heat, and simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 10 minutes. (The potatoes must be fully cooked to thicken the soup properly.) While the soup is simmering, steam the broccoli florets. When the simmered vegetables are tender, transfer it and broth to food processor, and process till smooth. Return pureed soup mixture to pan. Stir in broccoli florets. In a measuring cup, combine remaining ingredients. Add to soup and heat; do not allow mixture to boil. Top each serving with garnish if desired.