We bought a bag of what must have been at least 5 pounds of broccoli for a dollar at the Haymarket on Saturday. We could barely fit it into our fridge along with the nine oranges we'd gotten for $2, the whopping 2 pounds of grape tomatoes ($1), and the 2 quarts of strawberries ($1).
I don't love broccoli, but I'll eat it. The first night, my husband tried sautéing a massive amount, which barely made a dent in our supply. Broccoli doesn't sauté well, in my opinion, especially if you've loaded too much into a small pan. One of the few cooking tips I absorbed from reading Julie and Julia, and absorbed again during the movie, is that Julia Child knew that vegetables, including mushrooms, need plenty of room in the pan to sauté properly. Husband missed that point; we ate the results anyway. Oh, well: at least the broccoli had lured him into the kitchen. The next night, we steamed it, and it was good. But it was broccoli. Neither of us, it turns out, is enthusiastic about eating broccoli for a week.
So I made soup. Sautéed an onion in a half stick of butter in my cast-iron pot, and threw in as many broccoli florets as it would safely hold. (I added them three times before I decided to give up. Unfortunately, there's still more broccoli in the fridge.) I added a quart of homemade broth, and then decided not to spend any more of my precious jars on broccoli soup. So I added a quart of water and a couple of spoonfuls of "Better than Bouillon," this sticky goo in a jar that you can get for $7 at Shaw's, which makes a facsimile of homemade stock and tastes better than the dreary stuff sold in cans and cartons.
I added freshly ground pepper, sea salt, a palmful of herbs de Provence, and some dried dill. Let it simmer covered for 20 minutes or so. Turned off the heat and attacked the soup with my immersion blender, saying goodbye as the dratted broccoli florets disappeared into creamy green liquid. Whisked a cup of milk with a quarter cup of flour, and added it as thickener. Finally, I grated a chunk of cheddar I'd had lying around and stirred it in.
The result? Excellent soup for dinner — plus 3 quarts of leftovers. And not too much more broccoli in the fridge, maybe enough for one more meal.
If you have stock in your freezer and an onion lying around, you can always throw together some sort of soup from excess or stray veggies.
So, what am I going to do a mixing-bowl full of little grape tomatoes? I think they're too seedy for soup, so roasting is a possibility. Maybe I could make some kind of veggie pie....