Celebrity Broccoli – Retro Recipe

A Retro Recipe Rediscovered

Celebrity Broccoli is a wonderful broccoli recipe that features steamed broccoli topped with a sauce made of sour cream (or Greek yogurt), red wine vinegar, poppy seeds, paprika, chopped onion, red bell pepper and chopped nuts. Celebrity Broccoli is a recipe from my mother’s recipe box.

My mother died 10 years ago this October. After parents die, the children typically keep some of their belongings as a remembrance of them. I was privileged to receive my mother’s fine china and every time I use it I think of her and how she loved to decorate her long dining table for each holiday or birthday event on the calendar! I wonder how many meals we ate from those plates over the years. I always wondered who received her recipe box, as I wasn’t present when my brothers took what they wanted out of her house.

I was talking to my brother, Lee Annas, a couple of weeks ago and I mentioned to him that I would just love to see her recipe box again. He told me he had her recipe box in his possession. I asked him if I could just look through it sometime. Last week the doorbell rang when the UPS man came to our house. My husband is always ordering car parts online and receiving them by UPS or FedEx so I expected the box at the front door to be for him. I opened the door and was surprised to see the name on the box was mine.

I opened the box and the minute I saw the old familiar golden yellow color of my mother’s recipe box covered with various stickers (probably added to the box by some of her grandchildren), I just burst into tears. It was like having just a small piece of my mother again. (It’s difficult to explain if you’ve never experienced this, I suppose.) The old recipe box in which Mom kept her handwritten or typed recipes was a box from Betty Crocker dated 1971. Periodically subscribers would receive a packet of 27 recipe cards of a specific category. The complete Betty Crocker recipe collection was in that box and my mother had added her recipes to the box too.

I called my brother Lee to thank him for letting me borrow Mom’s recipe box and he told me  he wanted me to keep it. (More tears!) I thanked him for this gracious gift he gave me. Thanks again, Lee!

Celebrity Broccoli Recipe

One of the first recipes I came across in my mother’s old recipe box was the one for Celebrity Broccoli which happened to be a favorite of mine as I love broccoli. The original recipe served 8 so I cut it in half and added some red bell pepper to the recipe for a bright garnish. If you need enough for 8 servings, just double the amounts in this recipe.

Celebrity Broccoli
Serves 4
Steamed broccoli topped with sour cream sauce with onions, red wine vinegar, paprika, poppy seeds, chopped nuts and red bell pepper.
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  1. 1 (8 or 9-oz.) package frozen broccoli
  2. 1 tablespoon butter
  3. 1 tablespoon chopped onion
  4. 1/2 red bell pepper, cut in slivers
  5. 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
  6. 3/4 cup sour cream (or Greek yogurt)
  7. 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  8. 1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds
  9. 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  10. dash cayenne pepper
  11. 2 tablespoons chopped nuts
  1. Cook broccoli according to package directions until tender; drain thoroughly.
  2. Melt butter in a small sauce pan. Add onion and red bell pepper and cook until tender. Remove red bell pepper and reserve for garnish.
  3. Remove pan from heat and stir in sour cream (or Greek yogurt), sugar, vinegar, poppy seeds, paprika, salt and cayenne pepper.
  4. Arrange broccoli on a warmed platter; pour sour cream sauce over center. Sprinkle with chopped nuts and arrange red pepper slivers over top for garnish.
  1. Fresh broccoli may be used instead of frozen broccoli. Celebrity Broccoli would be a great Christmas side dish with the traditional red and green colors.
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 Additional Information

I use a special pan in which to steam broccoli. Water goes into the bottom part, the broccoli goes into the part with holes, and the lid is clear so I can see how quickly the broccoli is getting done.

Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable of the same family as cabbage, cauliflower, bok choy and brussels sprouts. Cruciferous vegetables are powerhouses of nutrients, particularly phytochemicals and antioxidants, and are linked to lower rates of cancer. Broccoli is low in calories and considered to be an excellent source of Vitamin K and Vitamin C.

I can eat steamed broccoli with just a squeeze of lemon juice but Celebrity Broccoli takes plain broccoli to a new level. It’s wonderful to serve to company as well as family and the colors make it a perfect side dish for the Christmas holidays! Try preparing some Celebrity Broccoli soon – you’ll love it!

Remember to Savor the Flavor!


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Homemade Whole Wheat Pita Bread & Hummus

Homemade Whole Wheat Pita Bread

A friend recently gave me a recipe for Whole Wheat Pita Bread which prompted me to think of my favorite food memory of my trip to Israel in 1994. That wonderful memory was of eating hot pita bread right out of the oven at lunch in a restaurant by the Sea of Galilee. The hot pita bread was sent down a chute from the kitchen to a large container in the dining area and several of us would sneak over to the bin holding the hot pitas and grab a few when the waiter wasn’t looking! That hot pita bread was so delicious! 

Sea of Galilee near Tiberias, Israel

Pita bread is a slightly leavened flatbread, sometimes called “pocket bread”, that originated in the area of Mesopotamia around 2500 B.C. It is used in many Mediterranean, Balkan and Middle Eastern cuisines. Pita bread is baked at high temperatures, 450°- 500°F., causing the flat rounds to noticeably puff up. When removed from the oven, the layers of baked dough remain separated inside the deflated pita, which allows the bread to be opened to form a pocket. The pocket is useful for times when pita is used as a sandwich bread as the sandwich filling can be spooned into the pocket.

Whole Wheat Pita Bread may also be used to scoop up dips such as Hummus or to wrap kebabs, gyros or falafel. It can also be cut and baked into crispy pita chips. Greek Classic Chicken Souvlaki and Chicken Pita Pockets with Lentils & Tahini Sauce are two recent posts that you may want to see that feature pita bread.


Whole Wheat Pita Bread is not difficult to make but it does require enough time to allow for two risings of the dough. First the ingredients are all added to a mixer bowl and combined to make a soft dough. Then the dough needs to be kneaded (pun intended) for 6-8 minutes. If you prefer to make it by hand, combine all the ingredients together and knead by hand until the dough is no longer sticky but soft.

Remove the dough from the mixer and place in a lightly oiled bowl, flipping the dough over so the surface is completely coated with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm area to rise for about 1 hour. (I have a “proof” setting on my oven so I placed the dough in the oven to rise.)

After the dough has risen, punch the dough down and cut it into 8 equal pieces. Form each piece into a ball and on a lightly floured surface roll each ball into a 6″ – 7″ circle. Cover loosely with a kitchen towel and let the circles of dough sit on the countertop for the second rise, about 25-35 minutes, until slightly puffy.

After the rounds have risen, place them on a wire rack and bake in the middle rack of a 500°F. oven. Bake 5-6 minutes or until puffy and brown. Remove the rack and wrap the pita bread in a damp towel and keep it covered. Let cool completely, then store in a zippered plastic storage bag in the refrigerator or freezer.

The Recipe for Whole Wheat Pita Bread

Whole Wheat Pita Bread
Yields 8
A delicious slightly leavened flat bread made with whole wheat flour.
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  1. 1 cup warm water (110-115 degrees F.)
  2. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  3. 1 teaspoon salt
  4. 2 teaspoons sugar
  5. 3 cups whole wheat flour
  6. 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  1. In a mixer bowl, combine warm water, oil, salt and sugar. Add 1 cup of flour along with yeast and stir to mix. Add remaining flour and knead for 6-8 minutes.
  2. Place the dough in an oiled bowl and turn over to oil entire surface of dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in a warm place to rise for about 1 hour.
  3. Punch dough down and cut into 8 equal pieces. Form each piece into a ball and on a lightly floured surface roll each ball into a 6" or 7" circle.
  4. As you roll each piece of dough into circles, cover them loosely with a kitchen towel. Repeat making circles and cover all with the towel and let them sit on the countertop for the second rise, about 25-35 minutes, until slightly puffy.
  5. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. On a cooling rack or a wire rack, place 2 circles side-by-side and bake in the middle of the oven for 5-6 minutes until puffy and brown.
  6. Remove the rack and wrap the pita bread immediately in a damp towel and keep it covered.
  7. Repeat the baking and wrapping of the pita bread. Let it cool completely before serving.
  8. Pita bread can be stored in zippered bag in fridge or freezer.
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Hummus is a Middle Eastern dip or spread made from cooked, mashed chickpeas, blended with tahini (sesame seed paste), olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic. It’s often served with pita bread or toasted pita chips but can also be used as a dip with raw vegetables. Some recipes for Hummus contain tahini, which is sesame seed paste and others contain toasted sesame seeds.

A dip made from chick peas, tahini (sesame seed paste), garlic, lemon juice and olive oil. Often Hummus is served with pita bread or toasted pita chips.
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  1. 2 15.5-oz. cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  2. 1/2 cup water
  3. 2/3 cup tahini
  4. 1/2 cup lemon juice
  5. 2 garlic cloves
  6. 2 teaspoons cumin
  7. 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  8. 1/2 cup olive oil
  1. Add chick peas and water to bowl of a food processor and puree.
  2. Add tahini, lemon juice, garlic, cumin and salt and process until smooth.
  3. Slowly add 1/2 cup olive oil and process.
  4. Serve in a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil on top and garnished with flat leaf parsley.
  1. You may wish to reserve a few chick peas to use as a garnish with the parsley on top of the finished hummus.
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Concluding Thoughts

Isn’t it interesting how food creates memories? Just as an old song can transport you to a different time and place, food memories can also take you back to Grandma’s house or a favorite restaurant or a trip to a foreign country.

How about cooking up some memories soon with your loved ones?

Remember to savor the flavor!


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Photo Credit of Sea of Galilee at Tiberias – Pixabay

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