Tag Archives | Broccoli

How to Grow Your Own Sprouts

Regular Food in Jars contributor Alex Jones dropped in today to share her experiences sprouting seeds! This is such a fun project. -Marisa

With the late onset of spring here in Philly, I’ve been craving fresh flavors and textures. Trying my hand at fresh, homegrown sprouts seemed like the perfect food project for April.

In order to get sprouts, you need to start with seeds. You can pick up bags of seeds and beans grown specifically for sprouting, like alfalfa, quinoa, adzuki, and others, by the ounce or by the pound. I ended up going for The Sprout House’s sampler pack, which includes about two ounces of 12 different kinds of sprouts, all certified organic, and followed their guidelines for home sprouting. I’ll spend the next few months cycling through all the different kinds to see which are my favorites.

Large, wide-mouth quart jars are best to use for this project. And since the jars of sprouting seeds need to be covered but allow air flow, I also picked up a fresh batch of cheesecloth. The one I got was a little more tightly woven than what I usually use — after trying it for sprouting, I’d probably stick to using a few layers of a cheesecloth with a more open weave in the future, just to make sure there are openings enough for drainage and airflow.

If you don’t want to use cheesecloth — the only drawbacks I noticed were that it’s not reusable and it will temporarily smell a little funky if you accidentally let it sit in water — there are a ton of special wide-mouth jar lids, like this one Marisa wrote about last year, to try out, too. And if you’re using cheesecloth, grab some snug rubber bands or sturdy kitchen twine.

The last piece of equipment I’d recommend is some kind of shallow, walled container, one for each jar, in which you’ll tilt your jars so the seeds won’t sit in standing water.

I selected three kinds of seeds from my sampler pack to start with: quick-growing broccoli and alfalfa and slower-growing sunflower (truth be told, my dream microgreen).

When you’re ready to sprout, pour a tablespoon or two of seed into your quart jars  — what you see here started with 1 tablespoon of each kind of seed.

Before you soak, start by sanitizing your seeds in a 1:10 solution of bleach or hydrogen peroxide and water for five minutes. (This step is recommended by the FDA for home sprouters and required of commercial sprouters.) Then, drain the seeds and rinse them in fresh water three times.

Once your seeds are sanitized, add water to submerge your seeds, then let them soak overnight. In the morning, drain your seeds, rinse them, and drain again so that no water will be left standing in the jar. Top with cheesecloth secured with a rubber band, or use a sprouting lid.

Here’s where those shallow containers come in. Place your covered jars of rinsed sprouts into the containers so that they’re leaning open-end-down, which will allow any excess liquid to drain out.

Rinse your seeds once in the morning and in the evening, being sure to drain them well and replace them leaning down in the container. Check the container before each rinse to make sure there’s no standing water accumulating in there, either.

By day three of rinsing twice a day, I definitely had sprouting, as you can see in the photo of the alfalfa seeds with their tiny, just-emerging shoots.

By day five, both the broccoli and the alfalfa sprouts were ready to eat. I transferred them to a fresh container with half a paper towel in the bottom and put them in the fridge. They were delicious on my bagel with some herbed fromage blanc this morning — crunchy, fresh, green, and nutritious.

Unfortunately, despite the same treatment, the sunflower seeds didn’t do so well. The Sprout House’s were hulled for easier sprouting, but I wonder if some of the seeds had been damaged or were otherwise not viable. Only a few sprouted, and the sprouts were small, not like the tall, juicy sprouts I buy at the farmers’ market. I’ll do some research and give sunflower sprouts a try again.

But for now, I’m happy to snack on my broccoli and alfalfa sprouts, which I’ll be putting on salads, sandwiches, toast, and tacos all this week — maybe even in a green smoothie.

Have you tried sprouting seeds before? What are your favorite ways to eat sprouts?

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Baked Penne, Broccoli, and Ricotta + Lagostina Martellata Pasta Set Giveaway

A tasty pasta dish and a fabulous Lagostina Pasta Pot giveaway! Best National Pasta Day ever!

lagostina-pasta-pot

Happy National Pasta Day, friends! In honor of today’s holiday, I have a fabulous giveaway from the nice folks at Lagostina (you might remember them from this post last December, when I gave away this snazzy Risotto Pan).

broccoli-pasta-ingredients

One of you will win this truly gorgeous Lagostina Martellata Hammered Copper Pastaiola Set. I’ve had the one pictured above in my kitchen for about a month now, and I can’t say enough good things about it. It’s functional, conducts heat beautifully, and may well be the most beautiful piece of cookware in my kitchen.

chopped-broccoli

I’ve used it for all manner of blanching, steaming, and cooking by now (it also happens to work well as a canning pot for half pint jars!) and have taken to leaving it on the stove between uses, because I so enjoy seeing it there in all its gleaming glory.

blanching-broccoli

The recipe I’m sharing with you today puts this pot to work twice. First, I use it to blanch off a bunch of chopped broccoli. Once it’s cooked, I use the same water to cook the whole wheat penne.

cooked-broccoli

While the broccoli cooks, I browned some chicken sausage in a little olive oil and then drained it on a plate. Once the broccoli is bright green and tender, it gets drained and poured into the pan where the sausage had cooked.

From there, it’s a matter of building a sauce of pressed garlic and ricotta cheese. I wrap it up by adding the cooked sausage back in, along with the pasta, a healthy splash of pasta water, and a generous handful of grated parmesan cheese.

cooked-pasta

I love having a petite pasta pot like this one in my kitchen, because it allows me to stay at the stove, rather than dripping water between the sink and the stove. I’ve long had a larger pasta pot, but rarely pulled it out because it was just too much for my regular weeknight cooking. This one is just so much more functional for my household.

finished-broccoli-and-pasta

The Lagostina Martellata Hammered Copper Pastaiola Set can be found at Bed Bath & Beyond, Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, and other specialty shops, and retails for $249.99. For more information about Lagostina, check out their social accounts and visit their website.

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lagostina-handle

Thanks to the kind folks at Lagostina, I have one of these glorious pasta pots to give away to you guys. Here’s how to enter.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me how you’d use this pot.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Saturday, October 22, 2016. A winner will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, October 23, 2016.
  3. Giveaway open to United States residents only. Void where prohibited.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog at the bottom of this post.

Disclosure: Lagostina sent me this pasta pot to use and write about. No additional compensation was provided. All opinions expressed are entirely my own. 

Baked Penne, Broccoli, and Ricotta

Yield: serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1 pound broccoli florets and stems, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 pound chicken sausage
  • 12 ounces short whole wheat pasta
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Fill a pasta pot with water and bring it to a boil. Once it boils, salt the water well and add the broccoli. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until it turns a vivid green.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Remove the chicken sausage from its casing and brown in the pan, using a spatula to break it up into crumbles. Once it is brown, use a slotted spoon and transfer the cooked pasta onto a paper towel-lined plate.
  3. Tumble the cooked broccoli into the pan that had once held the sausage and reduce the heat to medium. Bring the water in the pasta pot back to a boil and add the pasta.
  4. Add the garlic to the broccoli, along with the ricotta cheese and the drained sausage. Stir to combine.
  5. When the pasta is finished cooking, drain it and pour it into the pan with the other ingredients. Stir to combine and add 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese, along with 1/2 cup of pasta cooking water.
  6. Season with salt and pepper, and add more pasta water, if it is too thick.
  7. Top with the remaining parmesan cheese. Slide the pan under the broiler to brown the top.
http://foodinjars.com/2016/10/baked-penne-broccoli-ricotta-lagostina-martellata-pasta-set-giveaway/