Wednesday, May 2, 2012


I think I must be craving vitamins because I've been on a major broccoli (and green) kick of late. It seems like most of my meals in the last week have been crafted around broccoli in some way. I pull out that delightful head of green from the fridge and then I open the pantry and see what comes to mind. It's also one of those veggies I was always a bit fussy about as a kid, so there's certain element of back patting going on now that I've made friends with it.

And it's not only tasty and versatile as all get out but it's a great source of calcium, potassium, vitamins A and C, fibre, anticarcinogens and antioxidants. And in light of recent familial health matters, I'm trying to be more mindful of eating my greens.

Inspired by this healthy lady, on Tuesday I made steamed greens with polenta, a grain I haven't had in ages. If you're after something quick and nourishing, half a cup mixed in with two cups of stock in a saucepan stirred for a few minutes and you're done.

But for these cooler nights can I recommend a broccoli bake? Pop the word 'bake' onto the end of just about anything and I'm in like flynn. I might need to apply this principle to other vegetables like brussell sprouts in the near future. I'll keep you posted. But for now let's talk flower heads.

Broccoli, Cauliflower and Spinach Bake
Adapted from Bon Appetit

for the greenery
2 1/2 cups cauliflower florets 
2 1/2 cups broccoli florets 
2 cups baby spinach leaves 

for the bechamel 
60 grams butter chopped
1/3 cup all purpose flour 
1 cup milk 
1/2 cup grated cheddar or Parmesan cheese
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 200°C and grease a baking dish.

Cook the cauliflower and broccoli in large pot of boiling salted water for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables are on the slightly hard side of tender. Drain and cool and then chop into smallish chunks. 
Rinse the spinach, then wilt in a saucepan over medium heat. Drain and cool. Squeeze the spinach dry and chop finely. Alternately you can use frozen spinach portions, cooked in a similar fashion.

For the bechamel sauce, melt the butter in saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until smooth then slowly whisk in the milk until the sauce thickens and boils, about 3 minutes. Stir in the spinach and cheese.

In a large bowl combine all the vegetables and stir through the bechamel sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the mixture to the baking dish and top with cheese. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes and then serve steaming hot with some more greens on the side.


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