First a bit of history…
Chef Chris Perrin of www.blogwelldone.com and Shawna Coronado of http://thecasualgardener.blogspot.com have teamed up to create the ultimate cooking and gardening lineup for the “2009 Nude & Eco-Cheap Cooking Initiative.”
In an effort to encourage people to grow gardens for better health, Shawna Coronado has created the “Get It Garden Challenge” on her blog. As a garden and green living expert, Shawna has written “Gardening Nude”, a book focused on green lifestyle living. Shawna’s challenge has been to replace her suburban front yard with a vegetable garden and grow fresh organic vegetables (naked of chemicals) for better health. She is encouraging her readers to simultaneously grow a garden for better health and record progress with The Casual Gardener gardening blog.
As Shawna pulls ripe and metaphorically nude veggies out of the garden, Chris will feature a meal which includes a special recipe for the veggies picked that day. This entire meal will cost a family of 4 to 6 under $11.50 to prepare. Chris Perrin is author of “How To Make Tofu Not Suck”, an e-book on fantastic tofu cooking techniques, and is internationally famous as the chef for Blog Well Done.
While cooking an entire meal for under $11.50 is an inspiration during these hard economic times, it is also a goal as part of the initiative to stay as natural and organic as possible, utilizing simple, uncomplicated ingredients and cooking techniques that everyone can afford and should use for a healthier lifestyle. Today’s fresh picked vegetable is Bonnie Plants’ Broccoli ‘Packman’ variety.’
You hungry yet? Good, because we’re making
Broccoli Bechamel Loaded Baked Potatoes
When I saw Shawna’s beautiful broccoli, I knew I had just the recipe. Tyler Florence, on his show Tyler’s Ultimate, had a recipe for celebration loaded baked potatoes. Basically it was blanched broccoli and cheesy béchamel stuffed into a crispy baked potato.
This is my inspired take on Tyler’s fantastic dish.
Making broccoli béchamel loaded baked potatoes
You will need:
1/4 package of bacon ($1.05)
(optional) 8 tablespoons kosher or sea salt
4 potatoes (approximately $1)
Shawna’s amazing broccoli (free!)
Olive oil (part of the challenge!)
4-6 white button mushrooms, sliced ($1)
1 pinch of salt
2 cups heavy cream ($4.29)
2 cups white cheddar cheese ($2.75)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a heavy skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon and render out the fat. Keep the fat and cut the bacon into small pieces. Roll the potatoes in the bacon grease and optionally roll in two tablespoons of salt. Prick the potatoes with a fork and bake the potatoes until fork tender (how long this takes varies, but start checking around 20 minutes.)
If you prefer a vegetarian version, use olive oil instead of bacon fat. That’s what Tyler Florence did. Add another dollar’s worth of mushrooms.
Blanch the broccoli by cooking it in well salted boiling water for three minutes. Immediately remove from the heat and shock it in ice cold water.
In the same skillet, add a tablespoon of olive oil, the mushrooms, and the pinch of salt. Cook the mushrooms until they turn brown and have given up their water. Add the broccoli and the heavy cream. When the cream starts to bubble, add the cheddar cheese and stir to melt.
Add the bacon and mix. Top each potato with one quarter of the mixture.
Also, if you have any leftover ham or chicken, you can add it at the same time as the broccoli (as long as it’s cooked.) Now sit back and enjoy!
Get healthy today and follow the “2009 Nude & Eco-Cheap Cooking Initiative” with Blog Well Done’s Chris Perrin and The Casual Gardener, Shawna Coronado