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Home Cooking: Broccoli and cauliflower salad

January 18, 2011

I grew up in a loving home that was family oriented. Mom was a terrific cook who believed that meals were to be eaten together. We spent many hours around the kitchen table discussing the day's events over a meal.

At an early age, I knew I wanted to be a teacher but not until high school did I realize that I wanted to be a family and consumer science teacher — the course once known as home economics.

I love to read cookbooks and prepare new foods. It is especially fun to share with others.

I teach foods and cooking to middle school boys and girls. It is exciting to see their faces when they discover that they really can cook. I think cooking shows on TV have inspired many to try it themselves. Cooking really should be considered an art as it is a time to be creative and think outside the box.

I sometimes gather my students around the demonstration counter as I prepare food. They are not always willing to try new things, especially vegetables, but I encourage them.

The definition of a salad for many of them is a bowl of iceberg lettuce with lots of dressing. I try to introduce them to all types of salads — main course salads, appetizer salads and, yes, even dessert salads.

I remember once one of my boys said he didn't like broccoli. We made this broccoli and cauliflower salad. I made him try it and he discovered broccoli wasn't all that bad. Later, I met his parents and his mother called me "the broccoli teacher." She said her son came home after tasting broccoli and told his mother she had to make the salad he had tried at school. I knew then I had been successful.

Eating vegetables can be fun and very tasty. Here is the recipe that won the heart of one of my students and has encouraged many others to try different vegetables.

— Debbie Hoffman, family and consumer science teacher, Clear Spring Middle School



Broccoli and cauliflower salad

For the salad:

1 head of broccoli
1 head cauliflower
1 small purple onion (see cook's note)
1/2 pound of bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled
1 to 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (see cook's note)

For the dressing:
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoon vinegar

Wash vegetables before using. Chop broccoli and cauliflower into small, bite-size pieces. Dice onion into small chunks.

Place broccoli, cauliflower and onion into large bowl. Add bacon and cheese and mix.

In a small bowl, mix all the dressing ingredients together thoroughly. Pour over salad mixture. Do not use an excessive amount of dressing, as you can always add more to the salad if needed.

Chill before serving.

Cook's notes: Add onion and cheese according to taste. For variety, add 1 diced apple and a 1/2 cup raisins. If you make the salad again and again, you can improvise using other ingredients. Sunflower seeds or nuts would be tasty. Carrots would provide more color, crunch and sweetness.

— Debbie Hoffman

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