Who doesn’t know by now that we’re supposed to eat more vegetables? But you can fix steamed broccoli only so many times before your family stages a revolt. At a recent cooking class at the Shoals Commercial Culinary Center in Florence, Alabama — a kitchen incubator for small food businesses that’s part of the Shoals Entrepreneurial Center — we learned some delicious new ways to serve vegetables. My friend Sherry Campbell is the culinary center director and she’s a great cook and teacher. Here are her recipes for Creamy Red Pepper-Basil sauce that’s wonderful as a dip for fresh veggies and easy make-ahead Broccoli with Lemon-Herb Sauce that’s a perfect portable dish. Learn more about the center at http://www.shoalsec.com/facilities/SCC_index.html
Creamy Red Pepper-Basil Sauce
With the processor running, drop 3 garlic cloves through the food chute and process unti minced. Add 1 cup loosely packed fresh basil and process 5 seconds until chopped. Add 1 12-ounce drained jar roasted red peppers, 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and freshly ground pepper. Process until smooth. Serve at room temperature. Makes 2 1/2 cups.
Broccoli with Lemon-Herb Sauce
Cook 1 1/2 pounds broccoli in 3 cups vegetable broth until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Remove broccoli with tongs and chill in ice water. Reserve 1 cup broth and chill. Dry broccoli and chill. Heat 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Add 1 cup chopped green onions, 1/3 cup minced shallots and 1 teaspoon sugar. Saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon minced garlic, saute 2 minutes. Stir in reserved broth, 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme and 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest. Simmer until slightly thickened and liquid is reduced to about 1 1/4 cups. Season with salt and pepper. Cool to room temperature. Put broccoli in serving bowl and spoon sauce over. Spring with 1/4 cup chopped green onion and 1/2 cup diced seeded red bell pepper. Serves 8.