I am a fake homesteader*. The idea of growing and/or raising my own food, of making things from scratch, appeals to me tremendously. I love the idea of living off the grid, of being free of the corporate economy, of living off the land.
Although I’m a pretty accomplished DIY-er, I can’t really grow much of anything here. The woods are just too dense for me to have enough hours of sunlight without knocking down a lot of trees. And anything I do grow is immediately inhaled by my deer friends. So, I forage, grow herbs, rely on local farmers during the warmer months, and try to be conscious about my supermarket purchasing during the winter.
Right now, I’m tapping my maple trees again. As I type, the sap is flowing into containers, and I am boiling down gallons using a hot plate just outside the kitchen door. Once it’s down to a cup or two, I bring it in and finish on the stove. It’s pretty labor intensive, but the process is incredibly satisfying to me, making the resulting syrup all the sweeter for the experience.
I love making things from scratch. Homemade ricotta, for example, is far more delicious than the supermarket kind. I adore my own Mindfulness Granola, no store bought product even comes close. I’ve had some success making peanut and almond butters, though I can’t seem to get them super smooth. And last week, it occurred to me that I could make tahini from some of the huge tub of organic black sesame seeds I bought.
The tahini, spiked with a bit of the new maple syrup and some citrus, reminded me of a favorite terrific Charred Broccoli and Lentil Salad from Food 52. Riffing off that recipe, I cut broccoli into thin planks and roasted, then drizzled it with the updated, maply dressing. The resulting warm salad is fresh, smoky, creamy, sweet, and citrusy, fresh and comforting. If you’re like me, you’ll find yourself craving it again and again.
Warm Roasted Broccoli Salad with Maple Sesame Dressing
You may make your own tahini or use prepared.
For the Broccoli:
1 ½ pounds broccoli, trimmed
1 tbs. olive oil
salt, pepper, and sugar, to taste
For the Dressing:
¼ cup tahini
2 tbs. maple syrup
juice of 1 small orange
juice of ½ lime
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste
Optional: black and/or white sesame seeds, toasted, for garnish. Or store bought or homemade gomasio.
Preheat the oven to 450°. Line a sheet pan with parchment.
Cut the broccoli into ¼ inch planks. There will be plenty of smaller pieces that fall off the larger planks, don’t worry, they will be delicious, too.
Pile the planks and smaller stuff onto the baking sheet and drizzle with the oil, salt, sugar, and pepper, and smooge everything around a little. Roast for 10 minutes, or until the broccoli is bright green with some frizzle black around the edges.
While the broccoli cooks, make the dressing by combining all the ingredients. Add water, as needed, to get a thick sauce consistency. Taste, and adjust to your liking.
Place the broccoli in a wide, shallow bowl, drizzle with some of the dressing, and garnish if you like. Serve remaining dressing at the table.
If you have any dressing leftover (or decide to make another batch), it is great on just about any cooked or raw veggie or salad, terrific on grilled or roasted meat. I mixed some into yogurt with a little extra maple syrup and it was wonderful!
Blog note: Make sure to check out my Q and A on Propped. There are some beautiful new pots listed in my Propped Shop, including some of the bowls you see in this post. And keep an eye on mye, Etsy Store, which will be updated soon.