Barbara and Tamar Haspel, a mother-daughter team of food writers, became very interested in broccoli and other healthful foods after their husband-father suffered a heart attack and had to make some radical changes in his diet. Determined to find ways of making low-fat meals full of flavor, they experimented with techniques and ingredients, documenting their recipes and ideas in a light-hearted and fact-filled newsletter called "Dreaded Broccoli."
The title of this book, and the newsletter, comes from a recurring joke that Barbara and her husband shared about vegetables served in restaurants. "The broccoli of the title isn't the actual broccoli of our old marital joke," Barbara explains. "It's the stuff that's good for you, that you know you should be eating, and that you haven't a clue how to get into your diet. It's all those vegetables and whole grains you keep hearing about."
Potato and Mushroom Pie with Polenta Crust
Makes 4 main-dish or 6 side-dish servings
For the filling:
half ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1 cup hot water
2 pounds new potatoes
1 tablespoon plus one-half teaspoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, pressed
1 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms,
stems discarded, caps sliced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
one-quarter teaspoon cayenne pepper
1.5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Salt to taste
1 cup tiny green frozen peas
For the crust:
3 cups water
one-quarter teaspoon salt, or to taste
three-quarters cup cornmeal
1. Soak the porcini in the hot water for at least 1 hour. Remove mushrooms from the water and puree them, first removing any hard or fibrous parts. Strain the broth through a fine sieve.
2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
3. Cut the potatoes into bite-size pieces. Lightly oil a 9 x 9-inch roasting dish. Add the potatoes and roast until tender, about 35 minutes. Stir them once or twice
during roasting to prevent sticking and to brown all sides evenly. (The potatoes can be roasted several hours in advance, or even the preceeding day. Consider making
extras. Roasted potatoes are great enablers of pantry momentum.)
4. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add the onion and garlic and sautee over medium heat until wilted. Add the fresh mushrooms, thyme and
cayenne; cook until the mushrooms have softened and shrunk to about half their original size, about 15 minutes.
5. In a separate skillet, heat the remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil over medium heat. Make a roux by adding the flour an stirring until it begins to turn brown. Add the roux, mushroom broth, pureed porcini, and salt to the mushroom mixture and cook until the liquid reduces by about one-third, about 5 minutes. Add the frozen peas just before you take the mixture off the heat.
6. Remove the potatoes from the oven and lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Add the vegetables to the potatoes in their pan.
250 calories, 4 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat per side-dish serving
by Robert Ullmann
Cooking Christmas Goose
by Mary Evans