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beware my awesome ninja powers

Recipe: broccoli salad

Lately, I’m feeling torn between winter and spring. I love to get my tele (skiing) on, feel the delicate cold kisses of snow blowing at my face, see Orion at night in the sky, watch Kaweah move through the drifts like a shadow, curl up with Jeremy between flannel and down each night. But with our longer daylight hours and a few assignments I have to highlight spring’s bounty, I can taste the tender greens and first berries of the season in my mental palate. My thoughts have already turned to spring mountaineering more than once this past week. We have had a few warm spells interspersed with snow storms and I feel like a puppy delighting in each new turn of the weather. Invigorating any way you look at it.

We skied mogul fields at Vail on Friday until my legs were too wobbly to stand. Sweetness… then I took the big ride down the last black run (which I discovered was a sheet of ice) as everyone standing at the top watched me slide all the way down – unable to stop or get my skis under me – and moaned a collective, “oooooooh!” Such a shame to waste that last run. In the evening we met my ILs for dinner at L’Atelier because they were visiting for the weekend. Dinner was so fresh and faboo (L’Atelier NEVER disappoints)! Saturday morning we went back to Boulder for class.


ninja knife skills: teh onion

cutting planks for julienne



When MIL called a few weeks ago to tell us they had a conference in Denver and would we be available for a visit, I noticed that I had scribbled a note on the calender for this weekend. The Culinary School of the Rockies is where I took my pastry skills course and they offer several classes ranging from casual home cooking to professional programs. Of all the classes in their calender there was only ONE that Jeremy was interested in taking: knife skills.

chef demos basil chiffonade

my basil chiffonade



I asked MIL if she and FIL would be interested in taking the course too. It’s a short one as classes go, just three hours, but Jeremy wanted to improve his efficiency in the kitchen when helping me prep dinner, and my ILs love to take cooking classes together. So all four of us signed up.

we made bruschetta

my tablemates



Although I have been wielding a knife and chopping all manner of vegetables since I was in elementary school, I still learned many great tidbits about knife maintenance and safety, cutting board care, and helpful techniques to better hone my current skills. I was at a table with a fun and lively young couple – we had a great time together. Chef had an easy going style of teaching to the various skill levels in the class sprinkled with good practical advice. Now I’m itching to enroll in the 20-week program. Doh!

love the supreme

chef shows us the tourné



My ILs left this morning and as Jeremy and I cleaned up the kitchen, I reflected on how differently we eat when we have guests versus when it is just us. I quite enjoy entertaining. The American-born Chinese Southerner in me ensures that I pull out all of the stops when folks come over. It would be rude to do anything less. But even though I love house and dinner guests, my tum is overjoyed to return to simpler food.

bacon is simply beautiful



Back in college, my volleyball coach was raving about a salad at practice one day. She knew I liked to cook, so she promised she would hunt down the recipe and share it with me. It was a broccoli and cauliflower salad recipe which I rarely ever made because Jeremy is not so good about certain vegetables… like raw broccoli or any cauliflower.

broccoli florets



Me? I am all over broccoli and cauliflower. My mom prepared delicious vegetables when I was growing up – I *love* my vegetables. From time to time I crave raw brassicas and so I devised a way to lure Jeremy into trying the salad.

thinly sliced red onions



I took the cauliflower out because I knew broccoli would be an easier sell. I used the milder red onion instead of white, added bacon (who can resist it now?!), replaced raisins with dried cranberries (he fears raisins, loves dried cranberries), replaced half of the mayonnaise with non-fat plain yogurt (Jeremy doesn’t like mayonnaise), and tossed in chopped cashews.

jeremy loves cashews



This salad is similar to one that I love to get at Souplantation (aka Sweet Tomatoes in some parts of the US). It is crunchy, fresh, salty, sweet, tangy, creamy – full of satisfying and simple ingredients. I can’t believe it has taken me this long to reproduce my own version, but at last, I have it.

mixing all of the goodies together



And Jeremy? He liked it! He didn’t *gush* over it, but he liked it enough to eat it more than once. I find cutting the onions into a fine dice helps for those of us who don’t like chomping on raw onion, but still appreciate the flavor it lends to the ensemble. The next time I make this, I will employ some of my new ninja knife skills too!

it’s good for you!



Broccoli Salad
[print recipe]
adapted from my college volleyball coach’s recipe

3 heads of broccoli, trimmed and divided into bite-size pieces
1 small red onion, small dice
4-6 slices bacon, fried and crumbled
1/2 cup cashews, roughly chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup mayonnaise (I prefer to use 1/2 cup mayo and 1/2 cup non-fat plain yogurt)
2 tbsps sugar
4 tbsps vinegar

Combine the broccoli, onion, bacon, cashews, and cranberries in a large mixing bowl. Mix the mayonnaise (and yogurt, if using), sugar, and vinegar together and pour over the vegetables. Toss together and refrigerate for a day for best flavor.

51 nibbles at “beware my awesome ninja powers”

  1. Rosa says:

    A highly flavorful salad! Delicious!

    Stealing somebody’s work in order to make money out of it is just simply disgusting!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  2. Tartelette says:

    Your Amrican born Chinese Southerner self is just like my French born Southerner…all the stops are pulled (you already know about the vacuum cleaning…wait until I tell you cheese shopping schedule to assure my dad gets his favorites “the right way).
    Broccoli salad is one of the things I discovered through my MIL’s cooking and I admit it…I really like it…really :)

  3. Nate says:

    This is a great salad. I like the addition of cashews instead of peanuts.

    I like to quickly blanch the broccoli to take some of the “rawness” out. Also soaking the red onions in an ice bath also seems to mellow it out a little bit.

  4. Skye says:

    I’m not normally much of a commenter, but it makes me angry when photographs are taken and used illegally – weirdly many people don’t seem to see it as a form of theft. As far as I know, it hasn’t happened to me, but I understand that sending an invoice for the usage usually ends in payment for the image or the thief taking the image down – and separates the clueless from the cruel. Some people have had success tracking down their images using Tineye -http://tineye.com/. I hope this helps!

  5. Eat. Travel. Eat! says:

    This is a great salad! I like that you added raisins along with the mayo in. It’s a great combo and somehow the mix of salty from the meats and dressing and the sweet from the raisin mix well together!

  6. peabody says:

    Ugh, as someone who has been ripped off more times than I like to count, I feel for them. :( What a turd of a guy.
    Oh I love this salad. I use golden raisins though. I always go for it when I see it at parties.

  7. Caleb says:

    I can’t say enough about how amazing the light/translucense is in the onion photo. Let’s see how long it takes to show up elsewhere.

  8. la ninja says:

    this ninja’s definitely going to try that salad this week! yummy, healthy & easy!
    cheers & congrats on the paper mention, by the way! :)

  9. Caitlin says:

    Wish I had ninja knife skills, but I don’t think there are classes for that in the wasteland that is Wisconsin… Sucks that so many people have been getting their content stolen – those people are brazen! And your tweaking of the recipe sounds like how I have to work around my boyfriend’s food issues, except that many times my method is “take out vegetables, add meat.” Grr.

  10. dawn says:

    I think I have found THE way to get my hubby to eat his broccoli!!!! oh yeah!

  11. Bridget says:

    That’s so cool that you all took a class together! Knife skills are such an important part of cooking; I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t benefit from that course.

    I love the macro in this post.

  12. Jaya says:

    I surely cannot be the only person who found the bearded man to be something beyond beautiful?
    I do also love this salad.. looks wonderful! Emerald Green and the purple of the onion are really magical together. Beautiful photos. As usual!

  13. Lisa says:

    Chef is HOT!

  14. Rachel M. says:

    I love this salad also…

    We use sunflower nuts…since my cousin’s husband is alergic to tree nuts :)… it’s just as yummy though…

  15. So Good Blog/News Round-Up 2/23/09 | So Good says:

    [...] Use Real Butter shows off his knife skills while making broccoli salad. [...]

  16. Brittany says:

    Wow. That chef should be an underwear model.

    There is a little market near my house that serves this salad out of their deli case and I’m addicted to it. Thanks for the recipe!

  17. cindy says:

    my mom makes a salad similar to this and i love it! i love your adaptation as it has dried crans instead of raisins (i’m with jeremy, i fear raisins too…)

  18. le w says:

    forget bacon, that CHEF is beautiful.

  19. Abby says:

    Um, ditto on that chef. Can he come show me his knife skills? Heh heh heh.

    And I don’t know how to FIND the thieves who steal pics. I’ve started putting “watermarks” on my main photos to try to save them, but I don’t know if it’s working.

    And I LOVE broccoli salad. It reminds me of my childhood because it was so popular in the 80s. Of course this one is much more gourmet than the one I remember. But they both still have bacon. Yum. Baaaacon.

  20. Leah says:

    Lovely salad!

    I, too, would like to take a knife skills class. I’d love to cut as beautifully and uniformly as you do!

  21. Fiona says:

    Is there anything in the law that addresses repeat offenders? Didn’t this come up with the old version of FoodGawker, last year?

    Seems like the next person who finds a stolen pic on that website should be able to escalate the penalty, since it’s obvious that these people *know* that what they’re doing is illegal.

    This salad, without some of your excellent changes, appears at my best friend’s house when her grandmother brings a dish. I love it, not least because anything that contains raw broccoli and begs for seconds…that’s good.

    Ditto: chef. Sorry. Sounds like a good teacher, and a nice guy. It’s hard to get past the visuals, though.

  22. caroline says:

    I love the photo of the onion! And the bruschetta. Gorgeous!

  23. Asianmommy says:

    Ooh–that salad looks yummy!

  24. Graeme says:

    I don’t frequently bother with Bacon, but when I do, Broccoli is always welcome. Nicely done!

    I noticed one of your Tablemates is left-handed. Yay! There aren’t nearly enough of us around. :(

  25. chelc says:

    Delicious food! (and extremely delicious chef)

    I’m extremely riled by the disgusting attitudes of photostealers who pretend not to know about copyright infringement, especially when it’s at the the special request of the person who has been kind enough to share it with his/her readers! Seems that what isn’t nailed down is all up for grabs nowadays :(

  26. JessW says:

    I think I would like a serving of that salad with a side of that chef… or maybe it’s the other way around! :) Back to reality, what a great recipe, can’t wait to try it. I really like how flexible it is while still remaining healthy. Thanks~

  27. Lori says:

    Unfreaking-believable. You’d think it would be an amateur that would steal photos, not someone who is suppose to be a professional. I will definitely boycott their products. They really should be shamed. How stupid really.

    Whew sorry.

    The broccoli salad is gorgous. I love broccoli. Love the guy with the knife skills and the scruffy beard. The man is beautiful.

  28. Dragon says:

    I wish I was a ninja. :) Great job!

  29. Diana Banana says:

    ugh, theives really piss me off! and that al rosas jerk has a crappy website to boot.

    well, at least the rest of your post was delicious, including the chef!

    i can’t wait for spring, just to be able to see some wildflower shots from you.

  30. Val says:

    This sounds great. Thanks for sharing your recipe. ;o}

  31. Margie says:

    Wow! There’s so much to rave about here. But first things, first:

    My heart fell when I read the email noted. No reply can justify the action(s) on the part of the people(s) that pirated. Explaining that the item(s) are part of public domain isn’t good enough; it still doesn’t make it right!

    Jenzie, had I been in this class attempting to learn and hone knife skills, I would have sliced my fingers right off; the arthritis just won’t let me bend ‘em any more. Oh, but alas, the dollars would have been spent most wisely; I would have just spent the hours staring at THAT lovely chef. ohh, la, laa….. Smokin!

    ….

    Were you also trying a new lens, a new technique? The onion and the cashews are set to become star students in the next photo grand prize scheme of things. FIRST CLASS, GRADE A++, WINNER TAKES ALL, MOVE TO THE HEAD OF THE CLASS, STAR STUDENT. EL PRIMO.

    …..

    now, back to that chef….

    P.S. I liked the salad, too. ;)

  32. Rasa Malaysia says:

    Jen – thanks so much for the support. Appreciate it. Slashfood also did a piece about it today and many bloggers also posted similar note on their sites. :)

  33. Macie says:

    I hate raw onion, but I think this would be a good recipe to ease into trying a vegan version. Thanks for the inspiration!

  34. annie says:

    Oh my, that Chef is 1000% cute!! And that salad sounds so good!

  35. Manda says:

    LOVE your blog and especially your photos! I’ve been a lurking reader for a while and just wanted to say hi! Theft of photos really really angers me. REALLY. I’ve had a few photos stolen or not credited to me before and it pisses me off to no end.

    Anyway, I feel Jeremy on the anti-raisin, anti-white onion, anti-mayo, pro-dried cranberries thing.

  36. Liz says:

    Gonna make that gorgeous salad for a “bring salad” event this weekend. Will probably blanch the broccoli however as a courtesy gesture. Soak red onions in red wine or milk for a few hours, they mellow out ……..

  37. Mrs Erg├╝l says:

    I ain’t sure if I’m up to it too! So I understand Jeremy’s reservations about raw broccoli (and cauliflower)!

    Indeed that is a hot teacher you have there! And the knife skills class seems very useful! I mean it sure is judging by how paper-thinly the red onion is sliced!

    I hope you’re not injured in any way from that slide. take care Jen! xxoo

  38. SallyBR says:

    I was not going to say anything about the chef, but….. just one little word will have to do: WOW!

  39. joanne at frutto della passione says:

    I’m blushing! Seriously that chef has made me thinks thoughts I shouldn’t be thinking … in the office! Wow. Okay, back to normal now. Love that recipe, broc. have become one of my favourite veggies. I can see myself travelling back in time and tellin my 8 year old self that news!

  40. farmerpam says:

    Everyone should e-mail al rosas, as I just did, and let ‘em know he’s morally bankrupt for STEALING from others. Let’s get his e-mail flooded folks!

  41. maris says:

    I make a similar salad and i L-O-V-E it. Yours looks fantastic!
    Annnd I’ll take one of the chef! :o)

  42. jenyu says:

    Rosa – agreed. I think it’s one thing to claim ignorance, but that response was just unbelievable.

    Tartelette – are your parents there yet?! :) I still want to borrow B for some vacuuming! ha ha.

    Nate – thanks for the tips. I actually prefer the crunch of the raw brassicas!

    Skye – I’ve read about tineye. I heard that the dbase is a little slow in keeping up. Problem is that bloggers put new content on the web regularly, so it’s constantly changing.

    ETE – they’re dried cranberries, not raisins. I think dried cranberries taste sooo much better, but yes, I like the mix.

    Peabody – yup. Mmm, haven’t thought of sultanas.

    Caleb – yeah, I know what you mean :) Thanks!

    La Ninja – great! thanks :)

    Caitlin – oh, I’m sure there MUST be someplace to take cooking classes in WI? Aww, good luck, hon. I hope you get him eating veggies more often – a little bacon always helps ;)

    Dawn – yay!

    Bridget – thanks!

    Jaya – ha ha, you apparently created a little storm here because I have gotten a lot of comments about our instructor/chef! :) thanks.

    Lisa – :o

    Rachel – I actually prefer sunflower seeds, whereas Jeremy likes cashews. I agree, a great combo.

    Brittany – *chuckle* hope you like the recipe!

    Cindy – I don’t fear raisins, but I do like dried cranberries more than raisins.

    Le W – ;)

    Abby – hoo girlfriend! The problem with watermarks is that if they are working, then the image is obscured, and if they aren’t obscuring the image, they can be cropped. I hear ya on bacon, chica.

    Leah – thank you!

    Fiona – actually, I believe Tastespotting and Foodgawker and their brethren have the consent of the author/photographer and so that alleviates that issue. It’s a great way to get a broccoli fix, I admit! He was a good instructor… chill and mellow. Definitely has that young urban hipster look ;)

    Caroline – thanks!

    Asianmommy – :)

    Graeme – thank you, love. Yes, a lefty. Lefties are in good company – lots of talented folks!

    Chelc – ha ha ha, so many comments on the CHEF! :) Yes, it’s a problem of copyright, but I hope things will change soon.

    JessW – you’re welcome!

    Lori – I know, who on earth would be dumb enough to piss off food bloggers as popular as Bee and Haalo? Morons… Glad you like the veggies and the fellow :)

    Dragon – me too!!! :)

    Diana – aww, thanks!

    Val – you’re so welcome :)

    Margie – absolutely. Well, chef was quite knowledgeable, he might could have helped you with technique while considering your arthritis. Nope, these are old pics, but I switch lenses out from time to time – when I’m not being lazy ;)

    Rasa Malaysia – you get ‘em girl. We’ll fight together. I’m with you.

    Macie – thanks for the comment!

    Annie – ha ha ;)

    Manda – thanks for commenting and I’m glad that bloggers recognize what a shitty thing it is to steal photos. We should unite and fight back. Wow, this salad sound perfect for you!

    Liz – thanks for the tip :)

    Mrs. E – oooh, but it’s really crunchy and delicious (at least, I think so) :) Nope, just a large bruise on my calf, but otherwise, I’m doing well – thanks sweetie.

    SallyBR – oh you ladies are so naughty! ;)

    Joanne – what a hoot you all are about the chef. He was my TEACHER! ;) Yes, I too could tell my 8-year old self many good foods that I should have started loving back then!

    Farmerpam – thanks for supporting Bee and Haalo and everyone else.

    Maris – thanks, and apparently you’ll have to get in line behind all of the other ladies for the chef ;)

  43. Kevin says:

    That broccoli salad looks really good!

  44. jenyu says:

    Kevin – thanks :)

  45. Holly says:

    What a sexy teacher! Can I take his class??

  46. jenyu says:

    Holly – I’m sure you could :) He teaches at the Culinary School of the Rockies in Boulder.

  47. Kristal says:

    I just made this and it’s absolutely delicious. I omitted some of the sugar and used maple smoke bacon instead and the sweetness is just right. Thanks!

  48. jenyu says:

    Kristal – mmm, maple smoked is awesome!

  49. ginger says:

    I stumbled onto this website and I love it (how can anyone going wrong with the name!!). Thank you for your wonderful way of describing the preparation of food. The pictures and the recipes are awesome! From one fellow foodie to another!!!

  50. Patty says:

    The recipe looks delicious. Your chef needs to get a haircut and wash it. Also needs a shave. Since when did dirty and unkempt become sexy! If you could see what he looks like, he might be quite nice!

  51. jenyu says:

    Patty – Clearly, different types appeal to different people. To each her own, no?

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