Saturday, January 13, 2018

Broccoli Party for my 500th Post!

I wanted to do a weekend post about a seasonal food since I have the time, but there's not a lot of fresh seasonal food in my area unless you want a hand-sculpted snowball. (Dirt and gravel for no additional charge, though it is extra if you want to make sure there's no yellow snow!)

Not sure what to do, I checked my Betty Crocker's Cooking Calendar for January and saw that broccoli is a "red letter food" for the month, so today we're taking a broccoli break!

I found a lot of recipes for omelets with broccoli (and usually cheese!), but this one from New Age Vegetarian Cookbook (The Rosicrucian Fellowship, fifth edition, 1975) seemed to be missing a little something:

It's hard to have an omelet without the eggs. I'm not narrow-minded, so I might accept a chickpea flour or tofu-based egg substitute for a vegan "omelet," but this doesn't even go that far. It's just broccoli held together with a big old pile of rice and bread crumbs. It's less broccoli omelet and more broccoli carb-bomb.

I saw a lot of broccoli casseroles consisting mainly of broccoli baked in white sauce/ cream of something soup. 1966's Favorite Recipes of Home Economics Teachers: Vegetables Edition Including Fruits gave me a new insight into the broccoli/ b├ęchamel genre, though.

This is Party Broccoli. What makes it a party?

The normal b├ęchamel/ soup is replaced with a sour cream sauce, and the sauce is poured on at the last minute (rather than baked with the broccoli as a casserole). The topping is chopped cashews, not breadcrumbs or crushed potato chips. Pour-on sauce + cashew topping = party-fancy.

I love the old compulsion to bake everything into the shape of a ring, and Family Circle Vegetables and Meatless Meals Cookbook (1978) doesn't disappoint on that front:

This looks almost like it should have been a Christmas post with the bright red tomatoes and green ring.

I'm not sure a baked broccoli custard filled with out-of-season tomatoes would be a real draw at holiday tables, but it might look pretty.

When I saw a mold recipe in Low-Calorie Party Cookbook (Suzy Chapin, 1971), I immediately assumed it would be a gelatin mold.

It wasn't, though. It was a cheesy ring mold! Since this one is full of cheese and lacking mayo, the low-cal version sounds better to me than the full-on Family Circle one. (I'd ditch the canned carrots in the middle though. Who needs tinny overcooked vegetables when there are cheesy vegetables?)

Concerned that I might disappoint without an honest-to-goodness broccoli-gelatin salad, I did track one down just for you! Favorite Recipes of America: Salads Including Appetizers (1968) offers this ray of dirty sunshine:

I suppose it's better that the broccoli is suspended in beef consomme-flavored gelatin than lemon or lime, but I can't imagine there's a huge fan base for broccoli and hard-cooked eggs suspended in slimy, beefy mayo. The aspic hints of days when it's too hot to cook, though, so I'll take it as a promise that summer is eventually on the way!


  1. I doubt many people associate the word broccoli with party.

    1. Well, '60s home ec teachers did, and that's good enough for me!

  2. I love how specific the Low-Cal Party recipe was: "tiny Belgian carrots". Also, I would go to a low-cal party. But then I'd leave after 15 minutes from a fake emergency

    1. That's an excellent plan! Go to see the sad little spread, then get out of it before you have to participate.

  3. congratulations on your 500th posting!