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~ Cooking Broccoli or Cauliflower in a Rice Steamer ~

IMG_8720It's no secret that my husband Joe and I adore Asian food.  For that reason, investing in a rice steamer about 15 years ago was a "no brainer".  I use mine about twice a week, there are many posts here on KE with instructions for steaming rice, and, over the years I've sung the praises of this countertop appliance while teaching many cooking classes.  It wasn't until yesterday, while demonstrating how to make my ~ Easy Thai-Style Broccoli & Jasmine Rice Patties ~ on TV, that I learned some folks don't realize a rice steamer cooks broccoli and cauliflower too!

That recipe can be found in Categories 4,13, 14 & 20, or, click on the Related Article link below:

IMG_8295"The broccoli in your patties is perfect.  How did you cook it?" 

IMG_8178It was a serious question from a member of the WHVL camera crew, and, this is the type of question I love because:  it gives me a pulse for information I've obviously taken for granted that obviously should be shared.  Sometimes, the obvious eludes me.  My grandmother used the phrase, "can't see the forest for the trees" to describe this syndrome.  At times, I am so immersed in the complexities of the culinary world, I overlook how important the simplicities are!

I love steamed broccoli and cauliflower, and, I love them all year long!

IMG_8654These two veggies share a common ancestry:  they're members of the cabbage family.  Both can be carved into florets, with broccoli looking like "little trees" and cauliflower like "puffy little clouds". Both have been grown in Europe for centuries, but neither were grown in the USA until 1925. Nutritionally they both offer a lot, and, while I know raw vegetables provide more nutrients than cooked ones, I like both of them better when steamed, and, my electric rice steamer cooks both perfectly!

IMG_8705Some foodies claim the two can be used interchangeably.  All sorts of things are wrong about a proclamation like that.  When I want broccoli, I want broccoli, when I want cauliflower I want cauliflower, and, sometimes I like them tossed together too, but, if one of my recipes calls for broccoli, PLEASE don't substitute cauliflower and vice versa (unless I say you can).  These two soulmates DO differ in taste and texture.  They deserve to be used appropriately, not interchangeably, and more importantly, one needs to take into consideration what culinary application and cuisine each one of them is being served!

IMG_8646Cutting broccoli into florets (pictured above) is pretty self-explanatory. Begin by cutting the stalk (bottom) off and then slice what's left into desired-sized florets.  

IMG_8643To cut the cauliflower into florets, use a sharp knife to remove the core.  Then, remove the green leaves, then begin slicing what's left into desired-sized florets.  Both of these tasks take about 5 minutes each.

IMG_8670You will need:

1  pound broccoli florets and/or,

1  pound cauliflower florets

Do not steam a combination of both. Steam them separately and toss them together after steaming.

IMG_8196Place enough water in the rice steamer to coat the bottom by 1/4". In my 10-cup Zojirushi steamer this requires:

3/4  cup water

IMG_8671Add either the broccoli or the cauliflower. Close the lid and turn the steamer on.

IMG_8200 IMG_8680Continue to steam, until desired degree of doneness is reached, opening the lid to check on the progress every minute or so after the first 6 minutes of steaming.

Note:  Give the veggies an occasional stir  when you open the lid.  This insures they steam evenly.

Turn the rice steamer off.  Do not allow them sit in the "keep warm" setting because it will continue to cook them.  Using a large slotted spoon, transfer to a serving bowl, toss with a few pats of butter, some freshly ground sea salt and peppercorn blend, and, serve immediately:

IMG_8718Cooking Broccoli or Cauliflower in a Rice Steamer:  Recipe yields 4-6 side-servings of either steamed broccoli or steamed cauliflower.

Special Equipment List:  cutting board; chef's knife; electric rice steamer; large slotted spoon

PICT0676Cook's Note:  If you are a lover of raw broccoli, I have a salad recipe that is perfect to serve at your next picnic or barbecue.  You can find ~ Fresh Broccoli Salad w/Bacon, Havarti & Chicken ~ in Categories 2, 4, 10, 17 or 20!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2013)


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