Wookiee Hut Cuisine presents:
Bounteous Brassicaceae

by SuSu

Most kids hate cabbage and the whole brassicaceae family, and who can blame them? If they are overcooked, they not only come out limp and unappetizingly brown, but also smelly! This Cruciferae family of vegetables are high in sulfur, and when overcooked, the sulfur is released to form hydrogen sulfide, the foul smelling component in rotten eggs. And eaten raw to too undercooked, these vegetables generate gas in your guts, which can be painful AND embarassing!

What's more, these are vegetables touted as "good for you" and what kid wants to consume such things? Worse, they are cheap and easy to grow, so the Jedi Temple tended to get a lot of them donated and grown. What to do?

The Temple head chef, Tenzo Tendo, simply ignored the protests of younglings and cooked the bounteous vegetables as best he knew how, named in provocative ways ... eventually, the kids would want to know what the adults were eating, and why couldn't they have any?? Tenzo would withhold the vegetables from the younglings for a while, till he judged they would be reception to the flavors and textures, and then give them only a tiny portion. No seconds!

Of course, this treatment made the kids clamor for the vegetable! It was one of the things ex-Jedi craved when they left the Temple, from Anakin Skywalker and Obi-wan Kenobi, to Count Dooku and Yoda!

Crumby Cauliflower
Sure, you can cut up the cauliflower, but there is something so primal and fascinating about seeing a whole head of cauliflower on a plate. It's almost like a brain, don't you think? The nutty crumb and nut topping smells so good ... and how vicious you must be, to cut right into that head! Oooh! (shiver!)

  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1 whole head cauliflower, outer leaves removed, any browned spots trimmed
  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
Boil a large pot of water, large enough to take the whole head of cauliflower, and enough water to cover the vegetable. Add vinegar or lemon juice, and when it's at a rolling boil, add in the cauliflower head, stem downward. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook till tender. Remove from the water and drain well. Place in a serving bowl.

In a skillet, melt the butter. Cook the onion in the butter till they get softened and a little browned. Add the pine nuts and cook till they start to brown lightly. Turn off the heat, then stir in the breadcrumbs and cumin. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour the concoction over the cauliflower head and serve. Serves 8.

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Bad Broccoli
Tenzo Tendo refers to this as "bad" because it's kind of naughty ... It simply looks like broccoli in a bowl. But wait'll you taste the thin, almost invisible sauce! It contains pepper flakes for heat, and salt, and oil ... and that's it. Oh, and oil-boiled garlic — a whole head's worth! — which sounds as bad for you as it can get, but it really isn't! Eat the garlic cloves whole, or spread them on some bread. This bad broccoli also makes an admirable "sauce" to serve over spaghetti, too, or over fusilli or bowties. What a bad, naughty dish!

  • 1 whole head of garlic, cloves separated and peeled
  • olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 quarts / 2 litres / 8 cups broccoli florets (4 to 6 stalks, depending on their size)
  • salt or soy sauce, to taste
You will be poaching the garlic in the oil. Use a small saucepan and half-fill with olive oil (about a cup) and place the peeled garlic cloves in the oil. Heat to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Cook uncovered for about 10 minutes, until the garlic is soft and lightly browned. Remove from the heat and add the red pepper flakes and allow to cool to room temperature. Remove the garlic cloves from the oil, and retain both.

Cook the broccoli florets in boiling water until they are tender but still a bit crispy and bright green. Drain and cool. Add salt or soy sauce, to taste.

Toss about ½ cup of the garlic and red pepper-scented oil with the broccoli. Garnish with as many of the cooked garlic cloves as you wish. Serve at room temperature.

NOTE: If using as a pasta sauce, you can add more oil, to taste.

Serves 8.

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Curiously Cabbage
Kids love potatoes, and so do adults ... and is this a potato dish? Or a cabbage dish? It's a case of bait and switch, to some extent: offer something they love (potatoes, bacon) but it comes along with things that are less beloved and is hard to separate from it. Curiosity won't kill the kids in this case, but will open their tastebuds to the versatility of cabbage with other vegetables. So what makes this potato dish taste so good? Curiously, it's cabbage!

  • 2 cups diced bacon
  • 2 cups onions, sliced
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 1 small cabbage
  • 2 large baking potatoes, same amount as you have cabbage
  • 2 cups chicken broth or stock
Place bacon in a cold pan over low heat. Cover and allow to cook to render out some of the fat. Add the onions once the fat starts to leave the bacon. Season this mixture with salt and pepper and continue to cook till the onions are soft.

Heat oven to 375°F / 190°C. Cut the cabbage into four wedges and remove the cores. Cut each wedge in half and place, pointed ends upward, onto a roasting dish. Peel the potatoes and cut into quarters, then cut each wedge in half, and scatter amongst the cabbage pieces. Add the stock to the roasting dish.

Pour the bacon mixture over the onions and potatoes, then cover the dish. Crimp aluminum foil tightly around the edges. Bake for 90 minutes.

Serves 6.

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Boring Brussels Sprouts
Tenzo Tendo referred to these as "boring" because they look like the "same old same old" things — pan-charred brussels sprouts, ick! His sprouts are spiced up like barbecue, with cider vinegar and plenty of bacon. But the key to this dish is the freshly ground black pepper — it lends a piquancy to this dish which is a great complement and counterpoint to the other ingredients. And the sprouts? Not boring at all! (And the hot bacon dressing is good with other rough and tumble greens too, like escarole or chicory or cabbage or ...)

  • 3 lbs / 1400 g brussels sprouts
Boil a pot of water and add enough salt to make it taste like seawater. While you're waiting for the water to boil, prepare the brussels sprouts by removing any yellowed or coarse outer leaves. With a sharp knife, trim off the stem end and cut the larger sprouts in half; small ones may be left whole, but cut a deep "X" in the base with the point of the knife. Boil the sprouts in the salted water (do it in batches if the pot is not big enough) for 5 to 6 minutes. The sprouts should be tender but still bright green. Rinse under cold water to cool them down immediately, and drain very well.

    Hot Bacon Dressing
  • 6 to 10 slices bacon, chopped coarsely
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
Place bacon in a cold pan over low heat. Cover and allow to cook to render out some of the fat and cook till the bacon is crispy. Remove the cooked bacon and set aside, then add the brussels sprouts to the hot bacon fat and cook for about 10 minutes, with occasional tossing until they are browned and slightly crispy. Season with vinegar, salt, pepper, and bacon pieces. Serves 8 to 10, warm.

Back to the Menu: Bounteous Brassiaceae

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