Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Is it worth it?

Today, still on a mission to prove that leftovers can make worthwhile dishes, we tackle the vegetables. Well, just a few as there is a mighty range of them. Many fall into the same category, brassicas for instance, so what suits one will suit another of that type.

This first recipe used cooked beetroot, either cooked from raw, or for speed use beetroot from those vacuum packs. With beetroot now seemingly added to the list of superfoods, we should eat more and drink their juice (mentioned in earlier postings sometime this last fortnight). Serving suggestions come from the American cookbook, so copy, or make your own choice from our more usual UK side dishes.
Main Line Beetroot Salad: serves 4
3 cooked beetroots, diced (about half a pint)
1 can new potatoes, drained and diced
OR 1 pint measure cooked potatoes, diced
1 onion, finely chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
2 apples, peeled, cored and diced
1 Little Gem lettuce
sour cream dressing:
2 tblsp mayonnaise
2 tblsp creme fraiche or thick yogurt
pinch salt
half tsp sugar (pref icing sugar)
half tsp made mustard (pref Dijon)
1 tsp vinegar
Put the prepared beetroot, potatoes, onions, celery and apples into a bowl. Prepare the salad dressing by mixing the dressing ingredients together. Pour this over the beetroot, and then fold into the other vegetables (mixing the beets with the dressing first helps to prevent the beets staining the rest of the veg). Chill well then serve in lettuce leaf cups.
Suggested serving: battered fish bites and buttered pumpernickel slices.

This next recipe is for another type of salad, this time one set in jelly. Sounds very strange, but these can be very good to eat. Children might also eat vegetables they would normally refuse, when served this way, and the choice of vegetables can be easily altered to suit. It would also work with a lime or orange jelly, according to what veggies are used. But for this recipe, stick to using a lemon. In light of what was written about beetroot juice earlier, you will see it is included in the recipe.
Beetroot Salad Ring Mould: serves 4 - 6
3 cooked beetroots, diced
1 packet lemon jelly
8 fl.oz (1 cup) beetroot juice and/or hot water
2 tblsp wine vinegar
juice of one orange
salt and pepper
2 ribs celery, diced
2 apples, peeled and cored, diced
2 tblsp chopped nuts (opt)
2 tblsp chopped chives
Little Gem lettuce, or other crispy lettuce
Dissolve the jelly in the hot beetroot juice/water. Add the vinegar, orange juice, and a shake of salt and pepper. Mix together thoroughly and chill, until just beginning to set, then fold in the beetroot, celery, apples, nuts and chives. Turn into a wetted ring mould and chill until set. Turn out and serve with the centre filled with crispy lettuce which has been dressed with a mayo dressing (or use the one from recipe above).

Now to the broccoli. In one of yesterday's dishes, left-over broccoli was one of the ingredients, but we need more ideas, so here are some more:
Hubbly Bubbly Broccoli: serve 3 - 4
about 15 little florets of cooked broccoli
Boiling water
3 tblsp butter
3 tblsp flour
12 fl.oz (1 1/2 cups/350ml) milk
3 tblsp sherry
salt and pepper
3 oz grated cheese (pref Gruyere)
Pour boiling water over the broccoli to heat it up and leave to stand while making the sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour. Cook for one minute, then gradually add the milk and sherry whisking until smooth and thickened. Season to taste.
Drain, then arrange a layer of broccoli in a small greased ovenproof dish, cover with the sauce and sprinkle with a bit of the cheese. Repeat the layers until the dish is full, and finally sprinkle over remaining cheese (adding more if necessary). Finish off under the grill, and serve hot when the cheese is brown and bubbling.

Broccoli with Horseradish Cream: serves 2 - 4
enough leftover broccoli to serve two or three
1 tblsp butter
4 fl.oz (1/2 cup/125ml) creme fraiche
1 - 2 tsp horseradish sauce (according to taste)
half a tsp mustard (pref Dijon)
salt and pepper
1 tblsp breadcrumbs
Melt the butter in a pan and saute the broccoli until heated through. In a small pan put the creme fraiche, the horseradish sauce and the mustard and a little salt and pepper and heat through. Place the broccoli onto a serving dish, cover with the sauce and sprinkle over the breadcrumbs. If there is any butter in the pan left from sauteing the greens, drizzle this over the crumbs. Grill for one minute, then serve.

Leftovers don't have to be a sorry state of affairs, you have only to try this next recipe to see what can be done with them. And it doesn't have to be broccoli, almost any vegetable could be used.
Gourmet Souffled Broccoli: serves 3 - 4
half pint measure (at least one cup) cooked broccoli
3 tblsp butter
3 tblsp flour
4 fl oz (125ml/half a cup) single cream
4 fl oz (125ml/ half a cup) good chicken stock
4 egg yolks, well beaten
1 tsp grated onion
1 tsp finely chopped parsley
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
pinch each salt, pepper and nutmeg
4 tblsp grated hard cheese
4 egg whites
Melt the butter in a pan and stir in the flour, cook for one minute then gradually stir in the cream and the stock and heat (BUT DO NOT BOIL) until thick and smooth. Remove from the heat.
To the beaten egg yolks, stir in the onion, parsley, W. sauce, and the three seasonings. Then fold this into the thickened sauce in the pan. Chop the broccoli fairly finely and stir this into the mixture along with the cheese. Whip the egg whites until stiff, then carefully fold a little into the broccoli mixture to slacken, then lightly, very lightly, fold in the rest of the whites, taking care not to lose the air beaten in.
Pour into a buttered souffle dish and bake at 200C, 400F, gas 6 for 25 minutes. Serve immediately.

This recipe makes use of left-over sweetcorn , although I usually serve only what I need using canned or frozen corn. However, sweetcorn is a good store-cupboard standby (canned sweetcorn) so worth including this recipe. Again, other vegetables could be substituted for the corn.
Blue Mountain Eggs: serves 4
1 can sweetcorn, drained
6 rashers bacon, cut in half
1 tblsp butter
1 small onion, finely chopped or grated
1 tlsp chopped parsley
half a red and half a green bell pepper, finely chopped
dash tabasco or chilli sauce (opt)
4 eggs
salt and pepper
Fry the bacon until crisp, then remove and keep warm. Add the sweetcorn and the butter to the bacon fat, then stir in the onion, parsley, and peppers and keep stirring until cooked and beginning to brown. Drop in the eggs, one at a time, scrambling them around with a fork, mixing them into the veggies, until just set. Season to taste. Serve with bacon strips on top.