Recipe the First:
The Recipe not followed…….
‘It was the best of times, it was – not exactly the worst of times, but definitely a sub-prime, not all cylinders sparking, Dickens of time.
Travel back in time to earlier in January. This January.
Weather forecast says clear; next day it snows. Weather forecast says snow. Next day is sunny and warm. The weather is not going to be average, although the stats are going to ultimately read that. Even this week the temperature range is from -11 to +48. In One Week. Which will average out to average which is why: nothing is average and average is lie.
Also – when I shop, I go to the back of the Produce section and check out the markdown rack, and fill my cart out after that. In the last few years (decades) I’ve been able to score cauliflower galore for very very little money. Once upon a time there was a soup recipe that called for roasted cauliflower, before the world had discovered roasted veg….maybe Gourmet or Bon Apeptit. We were living on Pleasant Street. I had my discount cauliflower, broke it apart, tossed it with oil, a little S&P, popped it into a hot oven, let the heat do it’s magic. It came out to be added to the rest of the soup fixin’s but as it was cooling…..I re-wrote the recipe to start by roasting 2 cauliflower, one to snack on and one for the soup.
And NOW since everyone is roasting veg ALL THE TIME AND there’s a drought in California, cauliflower is now puny and rather sad looking and as expensive as beef…..
I don’t eat as much cauliflower as I have been the last few years/decades.
Which brings me back to broccoli. Broccoli was the standard green veg on our table growing up. Green Beans had their place, but broccoli was the Jolly Green Giant of the supper tale. Boiled and served with lemon and butter. The lemon is what made the difference. We all ate it all the time.
Which meant it was sometimes leftover. Cold, with a little more lemon, great on a lunch salad. When my son was little, leftover broccoli was chopped and added to the next night’s mac and cheese, or sometimes the chopped broccoli and olive oil was the macaroni sauce.
So, when the January 13th, 2016 NYT had a Recipes for Health column headlined:
Broccoli’s Saucy Side
I said YES, I remember that, I used to do that!!!!. I could do it again!
Sidebar – This is the way I generally feel Martha Rose Shulman’s column, and I have several of her books and always get distracted when I dip in. I do so wish that the column weren’t called Recipes for Health which sounds like more heavy lifting and less fun then it is. Why not call it Recipes for a Life Well Lived?
Back- … so I got some nicer looking, more my price range broccoli.
Saucy Broccoli, here I come!
The first part of cooking from a recipe is reading the recipe from start to finish.
Then – gather your ingredients and batterie de cuisine
Do not, in other words, put the water on to cook the broccoli BEFORE you’ve read the recipe the whole way through.
And thus begins the ‘not followed’ portion of the program.
It called for broccoli and I had broccoli – so far, so good. Although I hadn’t weighed it and it was….markdown broccoli. Trimmed and ready to go.
It called for fusilli and I had pipettes. In the pasta world, they’re same family, similar enough form and therefore function.
It called for garlic, I got out the garlic.
It called for anchovy fillets and I ….
I often have anchovy in the house, and if I did, where would they be? Or are anchovies one of those staples that I current don’t have? And why didn’t I look at this before I went to the store earlier?
I was just this afternoon reading something something and it called for anchovies and it said, “To make this vegan, substitute chopped capers for the chopped anchovy”
YES. Capers, olives, vinegar and hot peppers are all part of my
Fridge Door Pantry Collection.
Open the Fridge – mustards, rooster sauce, leaf lard, fresh ginger, Parmesan cheese….what, no pickled condiments??????Not even giardiniera? Quel dommage!
Now the pot of water is boiling, so I throw the broccoli in. Two minutes to come up with a B plan…..
Open the fridge, open the freezer, open the ONE cupboard that had foodstuffs in it…….
Hot pepper flakes? Yes. Mise those in place.
Olive oil? Also yes, ready to go next to the hot pepper.
Garlic? Garlic? Bueller??? Where did I put the garlic?
Fine garlic, play hide and seek….wait, beside the olive oil is the fancy flavored olive oil ….Orange Olive Oil….with some raisins in the cupboard and hot pepper and some almonds…..that’s impromptu sorta Sicilian style. Works for me.
So – put the Orange Olive Oil in a pan, toss in the chopped broccoli, add the chopped almonds, toss in a handful of raisins, sprinkle with the hot pepper flakes towards the end. Save some of the pasta water before I drain the pipettes…..pulling a little pasta water is my new fun thing to do with macaroni. I really helps to keep it loose and doesn’t just water down the flavor. It’s a secret magic ingredient, especially if you can remember to do it before you pour it all down the drain.
Mix the macaroni with the hot veg, toss like crazy. Add a little of the pasta water if you need it. Top with grated Parmesan cheese.
And this is how I didn’t make Broccoli’s Saucy Side.
As for the garlic….it was in the other room with the car keys near the door…somethings are best not questioned too closely.
to be continued…..