Broccoli with Queso Sauce

Fall is finally here!  Nights in San Diego, California are cooling down, and I’m finally pulling my beloved sweaters out of the attic.  It’s time for some warm comfort foods.

This week’s featured ingredient is broccoli from our local Farmers’ Market.

Broccoli is believed to have evolved from a wild cabbage in the Mediterranean.  Broccoli was highly prized by the ancient Romans, who enjoyed preparing it with creamy sauces, or olive oil and herbs.  Legend has it that an emperor’s son, Drusius, loved broccoli so much that for an entire month he gorged himself solely on broccoli.  It was only when his urine turned bright green, that he decided it was time to cut back on his obsession.  Broccoli is said to have been introduced to the United States by Italian immigrants, but didn’t gain popularity here until the 1920s. 1

A head of broccoli is essentially a bouquet of edible flowers.  It is high in vitamin C and fiber, and a source of vitamin A.  Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable, high in glucosinolates, which studies suggest have anti-cancer properties.  Steaming broccoli for ~3 minutes, as well as thorough chewing, is believed to make nutrients more bioavailable. 2

This weeks recipe is steamed broccoli florets with a queso sauce to dip them in.  Children typically like finger foods and simple, mild flavors.  When vegetables, like broccoli, are cut into dipable bites, eating them can be fun for kids instead of a chore.

Broccoli with Queso Sauce

Preparation Time:  30 minutes

Yield: 4-6 servings

Ingredients:

2 pounds broccoli, cut into bite sized florets

Queso Ingredients:

water – 1 cup (240 mL)
nutritional yeast – 1/4 cup (60 g)
raw tree nuts – 1 cup (140 g)
red bell pepper (de-seeded) – 1 whole
salt – 1.5 tsp (8 g)
garlic powder – 1/2 tsp (1.5 g)
2 cloves fresh garlic
onion powder – 1 tsp (2.5 g)
optional: red chile (deseeded) and/or chile
sauce and/or chili flakes to taste
boiled potato

Equipment:

cutting board
knife
grater
measuring cups
measuring spoons
steamer pot
medium metal sauce pan
whisk

Directions:

1.  Fill steamer pot with 1-2 inches of water, and bring to boil over medium-high heat.

2.  Add broccoli to steamer pot and steam until vibrant green and fork tender.  Set aside, uncovered.

3. Meanwhile, add queso ingredients to your Vitamix.
4. Secure lid.
5. Start blender on low, ramp to highest setting.
6. Blend on high for 6 minutes.

7.  Serve broccoli with bowl of queso sauce.

10.  Enjoy!

References

1.  http://homecooking.about.com/od/foodhistory/a/broccolihistory.htm

2.  http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/foods/cruciferous/index.html

 

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