How to Grow and Enjoy Bountiful BroccoliJune 26, 2010
I’ve spent a lot of time grumbling about how cool and wet the 2010 Seattle spring has been. Last night, I harvested one of the benefits of this weather – big, heavy, super-sweet broccoli! If you’ve only had broccoli from the grocery store, you don’t know what you’re missing. Freshly harvested, home grown broccoli has a fantastic sweetness and a delicious, mineral-infused earthiness that you rarely taste in the bundles sold at the grocery store.
Broccoli does great in cool, wet weather. Plus, cabbage butterfly pests don’t do a lot of flights when it’s pouring rain, so their egg laying has been down this year. (I still row covered this crop for those rare days the sun did come out.) The cool and wet encouraged the broccoli, a cool-season crop, to grow slowly. In warmer years gone by, we’ve struggled with this crop bolting (aka sending up a tiny flower head that immediately opens and provides little food for us.) This year, we’re enjoying a fantastic crop. We haven’t irrigated once and despite being planted very close together in this year’s small brassica bed, the broccoli is doing great.
Earlier in the year, we tested the soil for this bed and determined it required a dose of lime and nitrogen to make it ideal for veggie crops. We added lime and later added blood Meal. This seems to have really done the trick! We’ll be eating a lot of broccoli over the next few weeks – yum!
Have a glut of broccoli in your garden?
Consider making this delicious asian-influence meal we invented for last night’s broccoli bounty. Plus, we used up quite a bit of garlic scapes as well!
Brown Rice, Baked Tofu and Ginger-Garlic Broccoli Bowl
(serves two hungry adults & is actually really easy to make)
Brown Rice (start this first)
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup brown rice
Bring water to a boil in sauce pan on stove. Add rice. Reduce heat to low. Simmer to steam for 30-50 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.
- 1/4 cup soy or tamari
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
- 2 T. honey
- 1 T. cider vinegar
- 1 T. sesame oil
- 1 T. minced fresh ginger
- 3 minced garlic cloves or scapes
- 1 cup chopped scallion (green parts too)
- 1 pack extra firm tofu
Preheat oven to 350F. Mix together first six ingredients in bowl. Once blended, stir in ginger, garlic and scallion. Pour enough to coat the bottom of the baking dish. Cut tofu into bite size pieces. Place in single layer in baking dish. Pour remaining sauce over tofu. Jiggle dish slightly to coat all the tofu. Bake 30-45 minutes until slight crust forms around edges of tofu. Let cool 5-10 minutes before eating. This will be hot!
Ginger Garlic Broccoli
- 1 T. minced fresh ginger
- 1 T. minced garlic or garlic scapes
- 2 T. soy sauce or tamari
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar
- 1 t. powdered wasabi
- 1/3 cup salad oil
Mix together all ingredients except salad oil. Set aside as you prepare the broccoli stir fry.
Broccoli Stir Fry:
- 1 large bunch fresh broccoli, chopped into bite-size pieces. Tougher stems peeled and chopped. (Stems are my favorite part!)
- 3 chopped scallions (green and white parts seperated)
- 3 chopped garlic scapes or cloves
- 1-2 T. water
- 1 T. olive oil
When rice is about done and tofu is cooling outside the oven, heat oil in wok or large frying pan. When oil is hot, add garlic and white parts of the scallions. Saute over medium heat briefly. Add broccoli and saute a few minutes. Add green onions & toss. Add 1 T. of water, shake pan, cover and let steam briefly. Check frequently so you don’t overcook the broccoli. (Add additional water only if needed.).
While broccoli is steaming, whisk oil into dressing.
When broccoli is cooked but still crunchy, remove from heat. Pour dressing over cooked broccoli and toss.
To Serve: In deep bowls, add one scoop rice. Top with a hefty scoop of baked tofu topped with garlic-ginger broccoli and a bit of sauce. Enjoy!