This recipe (Barefoot Contessa at Home) strikes a fine balance between those of us who like absolutely nothing adorning our green vegetables (me) and those of us who like whatever we can get our hands on to dress up our veggies (my husband). The dressing makes up for the fact that the broccolini is still crisp, and it’s not so intrusive as to take away from the flavor, but it does give it a little something to make it more interesting. Or whatever it is that dressing is supposed to do to vegetables.
Tag Archives: olive oil
This is listed as a salad (Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, p. 100), but we ate it as a warm side dish. It’s a nice alternative to plain steamed broccoli, without any fussy sauces.
Normally, I’m not a fan of broccoli “salads,” even though I love steamed broccoli.
When my grandfather died, my grandmother’s neighbor must have cleaned out her refrigerator into a clear jell-o salad, which included raw broccoli, among other things. Upon tasting it, my dad proclaimed that he was sorry to have lost his father, but glad he only had one to lose, lest someone else show their sympathy in a similar fashion.
Later, when I helped my parents move out of my childhood home, I was charged with sorting through their recipes and cookbooks (doubtless to keep me from decimating their more important files when they saw how ruthlessly I was growing the trash pile). In my sorting, I found at least 8 copies of a recipe for “cranoccoli,” which was a broccoli salad which included not only raw broccoli, but also mayonnaise, raw onion, and dried cranberries. As they say in the Mississippi Delta, I liketa died. Why anyone would need one copy of that abomination, much less 8, was beyond my imagination. No, I still haven’t tried it. And if anyone asks me to bring broccoli salad to dinner, I’ll be bringing the version pictured above and not any of the funereal or mayonnaise-y atrocities.
I’ve made this recipe at least a dozen times, and it’s always good. I used some of our CSA potatoes and garlic this time to make a half-batch on a week night. I’m happy any time I don’t have to peel potatoes.
Barefoot Contessa Parties! p. 86
Holy Hannah, this was good. We had a butternut squash from our CSA box, and it was looking so pretty on our kitchen counter that I waited a few weeks to hack into it. That’s the thing about winter squashes – they’re pretty, and they last a long time. The butternut variety always, always make me think of the Veggie Tales. I usually just roast butternut squash in its skin, and then add butter and brown sugar to serve. It’s easy, it involves minimal cutting, and it tastes so good. We had already used that method for some delicata squash that arrived earlier in the season, so we were game to try something new. (And if we’re really hankering for the butter and brown sugar recipe later in the season, the squashes are plentiful and cheap for a long time). Because of my favored roasting-in-the-skin method, I had never actually peeled a winter squash before, and it always seemed like such a pain. Trader Joe’s sells a frozen, peeled, cubed butternut squash, but I think that’s probably better suited for soups and purees than roasting. It turns out that my apprehension about peeling was unfounded. A simple vegetable peeler made quick work of the skin, and once it was peeled, the chopping was easy. (By the way, my favorite peelers and paring knives are from a little Mennonite store called Weaver’s Country Store in Augusta, Wisconsin. If you’re in the area, I recommend the trip. They mostly have (very inexpensive) dry goods.)
The recipe for Maple Roasted Butternut Squash (on p. 158 of Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics) also called for a handful of fresh sage. Thankfully, my sage plant survived our recent snow (unlike some other poor unfortunate souls), and I had plenty of leaves to complete the recipe. Also in this recipe: garlic (which is plentiful from our CSA), and pancetta (for which I substituted prosciutto, simply because the pancetta looked rather grey). I felt completely decadent in enjoying this for lunch on a weekday.
There’s an ongoing debate in our house about the best carrot recipe. (What? We don’t have cable.) I like them roasted. My husband likes them glazed with honey and orange zest. The toddler likes them (or at least tolerates them) pureed and added to his macaroni and cheese. These roasted carrots (p. 149, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook) made a fine side dish to the Rosemary White Bean Soup, and they added some nice color to the table that evening.
If you’ve never sauteed spinach before, you might be surprised at how quickly it wilts down to a fraction of its original size. I don’t remember when I first sauteed spinach, but it very well could have been while following the recipe on p. 124 of Barefoot Contessa Family Style. I’ve made it countless times since then, and it’s become my go-to last-minute side dish. The lemon juice adds a nice zing to it, but it isn’t absolutely necessary if you don’t have a fresh lemon on hand. I’ve been told tat this is good eaten cold, as leftovers, with a dash of rice wine vinegar and some sesame seeds. I wouldn’t know firsthand, though – we’ve never had any left over to try it that way! You could use pre-washed baby spinach from the supermarket (as I’ve done dozens of times), but this batch came straight from the farm in our CSA box. It was a bag of mature spinach, so I rinsed it and picked the tough stems off first. Popeye would be so proud.