Tag Archives: mollie katzen

Workplace potlucktics

25 Jan

Do you have foods banned from your office kitchen?
Office politics can be just as cut- throat when it comes to lunch, it appears.
Our office fridge smell is toxic. Subsequently, if you are part of the Monday morning crew and absent-mindedly place your day’s lunch in the refrigerator, it gets tossed during the morning’s weekly mass cleaning. (P.S. who are these lunch-leaving people? Apparently the same ones who forgo washing their dishes and leave them in the sink. Really?)
We have learned the hard way after losing our perfectly fresh lunch.
This recent purchase may be the answer to our problem.

The built-in cold pack keeps our lunch safe and cool as it sits out on our desk. And today, it’s keeping our lunch out of the hands of those who would trash it alongside someone’s week-old take out. When you’re trying to save money and eat well, this is a pretty good solution.

The first time we encountered this bright-tasting salad 15 years ago, we were in hippy heaven. A tiny vegetarian cafe offered a sweet and sour blend of nutritious broccoli, red onion, raisins and sunflower seeds bound with a mustardy yogurt mayo. The sweet and nutty combo was a healthy delight.
We’ve since learned that it’s been a potluck and buffet table staple for ages, but we can’t sleuth the social anthropology or origin of broccoli-trail mix salad. We’d have assumed it was a Mollie Katzen creation (UPDATE: see Mollie’s broccoli, apple creation at bottom). Online, a bacon-laden version declares it Amish; another labeled Wisconsin Sunshine Salad includes grated cheddar. Some add slivered almonds or pecans, other forgo nuts altogether. One adds sliced red grapes.
Regardless, it is simple and nutritious, and makes a fantastic lunch to take to work.


3 cups broccoli florets (steamed or raw)
1/4 cup chopped red onion (we have been grating onion and reducing the amount down to a couple of teaspoons.)
½ cup sunflower seeds
½ cup raisins (I substituted a mix I keep handy for shaking on salads: roasted sunflower seeds, tropical dried fruit, dried cranberries, flax seed).
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
½ cup low fat yogurt (I used vanilla and omitted the sugar called for in this recipe. Honey balkan-style is great also. One day I’ll try a creamy vinaigrette with apple cider vinegar, dijon, and a touch of maple syrup.)
¼ cup light mayonnaise
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tbs. lemon juice
(I also added a few tablespoons of hemp hearts simply because they were on hand.)
Greens if you have them

Steam bite-sized broccoli florets and set aside to cool. Mix onion, nuts, raisins, and feta. Add broccoli. Mix dressing (yogurt, mayo, dijon and lemon juice) and add to salad.
Serve atop salad greens.

Broccoli, Apples, and Red Onion Salad
Mollie Katzen
1 large bunch broccoli
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon minced or crushed garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons honey
5 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 medium sized tart apple, thinly sliced
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Put up a large saucepan of water to boil. While waiting for this to happen, remove and discard the thick lower stems of the broccoli, and cut the thinner upper stems and tops into medium-sized spears.
Measure the vinegar into a medium-large bowl. Use a small whisk to stir constantly as you add the mustard, garlic, salt, and honey.
Keep whisking as you drizzle in the oil in a steady stream. The mixture will thicken as the oil becomes incorporated.
By now the water should be boiling. Turn it down to a simmer and add the broccoli. Let it cook in the water for 1 to 2 minutes, or until it becomes very bright green and tender-crisp. Meanwhile, place the sliced red onion in a large colander in the sink
Pour the broccoli and all its water over the onion in the colander. ( The hot water will wilt the onion slightly upon contact. ) Place the colander of vegetables under cold running water for a few minutes, then shake to drain well.
Transfer the vegetables to the bowlful of dressing. Use tongs to toss until the broccoli is well coated, adding the apple slices as you go. You can serve this right away, or cover and let it marinate in the refregerator, where the flavor will deepen. Serve cold or at room temperature, topped with freshly ground black pepper to taste

Choppin’ broccoli

9 Sep

With apologies to Dana Carvey , we really do adore our broccoli.

This is broc at its best: viscous with fruity olive oil, spicy and salty. This is also an amazing topping for pizza.
Our fave is an unforgettable slice from New York’s Famiglia Pizzeria on Madison and 97th Street.

Paired with soft, bubbling mozzerella, this makes a pizza-perfect combo on pita or whatever you can toast. Dreamy!

1 cup broccoli florets (pieces)
up to 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon cold water
1 clove minced garlic
Sea salt to taste
Red pepper flakes, chili oil, or in a pinch, Rooster sauce

Separate the broccoli florets from the stems. (Peel the stems and cut them into bite sized pieces – optional, you can toss out the stems). Break the florets into bite sized pieces. Place all ingredients into a covered fry pan and turn on high. When the steam seeps out the side of the lid you are done!~ Should take no more than 3-4 minutes. The broccoli will be bright green.


Still on the veg-fest, we are big fans of the lovely Mollie Katzen and her charming, hand illustrated 1982 cookbook, The Enchanted Broccoli Forest.

This recipe of the same name brings broccoli, herbs, rice and cheese together beautifully. Although we love Best of Bridge’s Wild Rice Broccoli Casserole (2, 180 g cooked packages of Uncle Ben’s Long Grain and Wild Rice layered with steamed broccoli, 2, 10 oz/284 mL cans of mushroom soup and 2 c. grated old Cheddar), this is a cleaner, herbed version. It might be fun to revamp it as a baked risotto with the fun tree toppers.

Cook the rice as directed –  it’s fine if the rice is tender and there’s still extra moisture left.  Prepare the broccoli and in a medium bowl mix together 1 1/2 c. of the cheese with the soup.

Grease a 4 L casserole and spread half of the rice evenly on the bottom followed by half of the broccoli and then half of the soup mixture.  Repeat the layers and top with the remaining 1/2 c. of cheese.

When you’re ready to bake it, cook at 350 for about an hour.

Cook 2 cups brown or white rice in 3 cups boiling water until tender. (This will take 15-20 minutes for white, and 35-35 minutes for brown.)
Fluff the cooked rice with a fork and set aside.
Trim the tough bottoms from the broccoli stalks and cut the tops into trees. Steam until bright green and just barely tender. Rinse under cold running water, drain well and set aside
Preheat oven to 325F.
Lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking pan.

Melt the butter or heat the oil in a large, deep skillet or a Dutch oven. Add the onion and salt and saute over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until the onion begins to soften. Add the garlic and lemon juice and saute for about 2 minutes longer.

Stir in the rice, two eggs, some black pepper and cayenne to taste, the herbs and the optional sunflower seeds and cheese (swiss, cheddar, some parm).
Taste to correct salt, if necessary and spread into prepared pan.
Now for the fun part. Arrange the broccoli upright in the rice, and, if desired, drizzle with melted butter. Cover loosely with foil and bake until just heated through (15-20 minutes).