Updated Broccoli & Bacon Salad and Blanching Vegetables

Call me crazy but I love blanched vegetables.  Especially broccoli and cauliflower!  So I have gathered up several armloads of tax papers and cleaned off a spot to work on the taxes but I still have a hankering to fix this salad that has been rattling around in my head for a few days now.  Probably it is my upbringing of waste-not-want-not that reminds me of the fresh vegetables in the crisper needing to be used.  Or, maybe the knowledge Brian is bringing fried chicken home tonight for supper.  This salad would complete the meal beautifully and Brian loves salads too.  He is restricted to 1 cup of lettuce a day because of the vitamin K interaction with the medicines he is taking and this salad contains none!!

The update to the original posting is blanching both the broccoli and cauliflower before mixing up the salad and the addition of shredded carrots, just because I like them.  The vegetables turn a bright color and I think they keep longer upon being blanched.  Many times I will blanch fresh vegetables just to keep them longer.  It works great to then saute them as a hot vegetable in quick order with a bit of butter and seasoning.

To blanch I sort through the vegetables and trim them to size then plunge them into 2-3 quarts of rapidly boiling water I have added a couple of tablespoons of vinegar and a pinch of salt to.  I return to a boil and hold them there for not more than 2 minutes.  Using a spider or slotted spoon I quickly drain them and plunge them into a large bowl, a gallon or so of half ice and half cold water.  As soon as they are totally cooled remove them to a colander to drain well.  HELPFUL HINT:  Blanch the lightest colored vegetables first and you can use the same water for all you want to do at one session.  Now you are ready to use them or store them in the refrigerator for another day.

Ingredients for Broccoli & Bacon Salad:

4 C. broccoli pieces blanched and drained
4 C. cauliflower pieces blanched and drained
1 1/2 C. shredded or thinly sliced carrots
3 green onions sliced
2-3 ribs of celery sliced
2 T. fresh parsley chopped
6-8 strips of bacon diced and fried crisp and drained
1/2 C. raisins
1/2 C. shredded cheddar cheese

Ingredients for the Dressing:

3/4 C. Hellman's Mayonnaise
3/4 C. Ranch Dressing*  (I use my "from scratch recipe.")
2-3 T. sugar (to taste)
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper

Assemble all of the vegetables in a large bowl, cover, and refrigerate.   Stir the dressing ingredients together and pour over the vegetables.  Stir in the raisins, bacon, and cheese.

Cover and refrigerate until serving time.  Just before serving stir all together and turn onto cabbage or lettuce leaves and serve.  Yield 8 servings.   Note: I added links to the original salad and the homemade ranch dressing below.  Just click if you'd like to browse them.

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