Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Broccoli 'Vaps'!

Ever since heading to Cost Price Discount Limited in Aranguez and finding out that they had the most beautiful fresh veggies on sale (including squash, zucchini and even shitake mushrooms), I’ve decided to jump in with both feet first and try cooking fresh broccoli for the first time. I'd usually get the frozen kind, but I’ve always wondered if I could handle cooking broccoli from scratch, so I decided to grab it and go for it.

I then asked my foodie friends for some advice on its preparation, but ended up getting really overwhelmed with all the great ideas they gave, so I decided to leave it alone for a while. Then, about a couple weeks ago, I was trying to figure out a side dish to prepare and I remembered I had the broccoli chilling out in the fridge. Then the vaps hit me... 'I could bake this with some potatoes, not so?' And just working from my head, I ended up creating something new that I am definitely going to prepare again, again and again, hahahaaa!

Want to see what went down? (Recipe follows afterward!)

Okay, here’s my fresh broccoli, retrieved from the coldest part of my refrigerator, lol!

I chopped the florets into little 1 inch pieces and placed them in my steamer basket, sprinkled on some salt, covered them and steamed them over boiling water for 5 minutes. I love how the green colour stayed intact.
(Plus I saved the little bits that flaked off for later!)

My potatoes were prepared by cutting them in a large dice. Into a pot of water they went, along with 2 crushed Maggi vegetable cubes.  Boiled them for 15 minutes (so they kept their shape), then drained them.

Next, I grated (a little more than) 2 cups of cheese…

Added an egg to 1 ½ cups of milk and beat in some red pepper flakes, dried parsley and a teeny bit of nutmeg. I then tumbled in all the cheese and mixed everything with a fork.

Then I added the broccoli to the still warm potatoes in the pot, then poured in half the cheese mixture, carefully blending it together so the cheese gets to melt a little. I then poured the mixture into my waiting glass Pyrex dish, which I had sprayed with non stick cooking spray.

I spread the broccoli and potatoes evenly across the dish, then poured on the rest of the cheese mixture, making sure I put little blobs of cheese all over. The last step was to sprinkle on some dry breadcrumbs, some Kraft Parmesan cheese and those little broccoli bits from earlier.

Into the oven it went to bake at 350°F for 25 to 30 minutes.

And here it is, my Broccoli-Potato Bake! Smells so gooooooood!!!

So Delicious! Here's the recipe...

Halcian’s Cheesy Broccoli Potato Bake

2 cups fresh broccoli florets
Pinch of salt
5 or 6 medium potatoes, cut into a very large dice
2 Maggi vegetable cubes
1 1/2 cups milk
1 large egg
1 teaspoon dried parsley
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
A dash of nutmeg
2 cups grated cheese (done on the large side of the grater)
¼ cup dry breadcrumbs
¼ cup Kraft (or any other brand) Parmesan cheese

Here’s how you make it…

  1. Prepare the florets by placing them in a steamer basket (or a rice strainer). Place the basket over a pot of boiling water (making sure the water doesn’t touch the basket) and sprinkle a pinch of salt over them. Cover and steam for 5 minutes until they are tender, but not too soft. Remove them from the heat and set aside.
  2. Next, place the potatoes to boil in 7 cups of water into which the two Maggi vegetable cubes have been crumbled. Cook them for 15 minutes until they are soft. Drain and leave them in the pot, covered.
  3. Place the milk into a bowl and whisk the egg into it. Add the dried parsley, red pepper flakes and a dash of nutmeg and mix.
  4. Add in the grated cheese to the seasoned milk and mix. Set aside.
  5. Drain the liquid from the potatoes (leaving them in the pot they were boiling in) and then add in the steamed broccoli. Stir gently to distribute the broccoli evenly throughout.
  6. Next, while the potatoes are still hot, add in half of the milk and cheese mixture and stir so the cheese melts a little.
  7. Spray a 9 x 13 Pyrex baking dish lightly with cooking spray (or grease it lightly with butter or margarine) and pour in the cheesy broccoli and potatoes; spread them evenly across the dish.
  8. Using a spoon, distribute the rest of the milk and cheese mix over the broccoli and potatoes.
  9. Lightly sprinkle on the dry breadcrumbs, followed by the Parmesan cheese.
  10. Bake uncovered at 350°F for 25-30 minutes or until the bottom of the dish is gently bubbling and golden.
Cool before slicing and enjoy!

Hope you enjoyed checking out this week’s posting and are encouraged to try out my ‘vaps’ recipe. I promise I’ll have something else ready next week that you’re going to be sure to enjoy.

Til then, take care of yourselves and don’t forget to mind the pot!


  1. Be sure to let me know how it comes out, okay? Thanks for visiting, and happy cooking! :-)

  2. I did and it came out good, can I get your email?

  3. Glad to know you enjoyed the dish Shouterb. Send an email to me at Take care! :-)