Thanksgiving. There really is nothing better than Thanksgiving. To me, Thanksgiving is the Christmas without the chaos. Granted, I absolutely love Christmas. Thanksgiving is like the Christmas tease. I am not really sure where I am going with this, but Thanksgiving was absolutely incredible.
Every year I go to my grand moms. It is the one of two times of year (Christmas as well) that the entire family is together. My grand mom always insists on making the turkey and stuffing and everyone else in the family brings whatever else they desire. My mom got to make the mashed potatoes which made me super happy because she does them the absolute best. (NOTE: When you make mashed potatoes, you make them great. Sour cream, butter, salt, whole milk. You do not have them every day, but when you do, you make them great.)
I decided this year to spice it up a little bit and make a broccoli dish. And hey, it is Thanksgiving after all right? Why not cover the broccoli in a creamy cheese sauce, top it with seasoned bread crumbs and throw it in the oven until it gets bubbly and delicious? And then there was Sammy’s broccoli gratin.
As I wandered in and out of the produce section of the grocery store, I picked up 4 pounds of broccoli when all of the sudden I came across this interesting item:
To sum this beautifully colored looking vegetable from the lovely cabbage family, it is cauliflower with a stronger, more broccoli-like flavor to it. To me, cauliflower is pointless. Actually, that was harsh. Cauliflower is one of the only vegetables that is white, and I personally feel as though it does not serve any nutritional benefits. As the saying goes, “the darker the color, the more nutrients”. Cauliflower. White. Game over.
As I took apart the florets of this spectacular item, I was amazed. They had such a neat combination of the bright lime green, pale yellow, and white. When I blanched them, the colors even bled together a bit to almost make them look tye-dye!
Speaking of blanching, does anyone else get an absolute kick out of how quickly broccoli turns bright green when thrown into boiling water?? Literally, as soon as it hits the water it completely transforms from a dull green to a bright green resembling a christmas light.
After all my broccoli and lime-green-party-veg were all blanched, I placed them into my casserole dish and got started on my sauce.
Bechamel. Pronounced beh-shuh-mell. One of the mother sauces, it is equal parts butter and flour, milk, salt, pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg. Veloute, another mother sauce, is practically the same, only instead of the bechamel being thickened milk, you used chicken stock in a veloute. But that is besides the point.
I added extra sharp cheddar cheese, poured it over the veggies, and topped it with very seasoned breadcrumbs (panko, of course).
I had to bring over the dish to bake it at my grand mom’s house and what do you know? I forgot my camera :'(. BUT, trust me, it was golden, red (from the paprika), and bubbly on top and the green from the broccoli protruding from the crust made it an absolutely gorgeous festive side dish. My sweet brother said, and I quote “that was the best thing on my plate”. Thanks, Bri. :)!
I just realized it is 11 o’clock and I am SO tired. But GUESS WHAT?! Tomorrow morning: The tastiest vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream. All from scratch.