Dilled Vegetables

1½ pounds fresh broccoli
1 pound fresh asparagus
½ cup bottled Italian dressing
1 small red onion, sliced and separated into rings

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried dill weed

To Prepare Fresh Broccoli:

To pick fresh broccoli , look for compact, firm dark green clusters. Avoid thick, tough stems. Remove tough ends of lower stems and trim off large leaves. Wash the broccoli. Make lengthwise gashes in each stem if stems are thicker than 1 inch in diameter.

To Boil: Heat ½ teaspoon to 1 cup water (1 inch salted water) to boiling. Add broccoli. Cover and heat to boiling. Reduce heat. Boil until stems are tender, about 12 to 15 minutes. Then drain.

To Microwave: Cover and microwave broccoli (Thin spears or 1-inch pieces) and ¼ cup water in 3-quart microwavable casserole dish on high (100%) 5 minutes. Then stir the broccoli. Cover and microwave until stems are tender, 4 to 6 minutes longer. Let stand covered 1 minute; drain.

To Steam: Place steamer basket in ½ inch water (water should not touch bottom of basket). Place broccoli in basket. Cover tightly and heat to boiling. Reduce heat. Steam until steams are tender, about 15 to 18 minutes.

To Prepare Fresh Asparagus:

To pick fresh asparagus, look for round, tender, smooth, medium-size green spears with closed tips. Break off tough ends as far down as the stalks can snap easily. Wash asparagus. Remove scales is tough or sandy. (If necessary, remove sand particles with a vegetable scrub brush). For spears, tie whole stalks in bundles with string, or hold together with band of aluminum foil. Or cut each stalk into 1-inch pieces.

To Boil Whole Spears: Heat ½ teaspoon salt to 1 cup water (1 inch salted water) to boiling in narrow, deep pan or coffeepot. Place asparagus upright in pan. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat. Boil uncovered 5 minutes. Cover and boil until stalk ends are crisp and tender, about 7 to 10 minutes longer; drain.

To Boil Spear Pieces: Cook lower stalk pieces uncovered in ½ teaspoon salt to 1 cup water (1 inch boiling salted water) for 6 minutes. Then add the tips. Cover and cook until crisp and tender, about 5 to 8 minutes longer. Then drain.

To Microwave: Cover and microwave asparagus (spears or 1-inch pieces) and ¼ cup water in 2-quart microwavable casserole dish on high (100%) for 4 minutes. Turn asparagus over. Cover and microwave until crisp and tender, about 4 to 6 minutes longer. Let stand covered 1 minute. Then drain.

To Steam: Place steamer basket in ½ inch water (water should not touch bottom of basket). Place asparagus (1-inch pieces or spears) in basket. Cover tightly and heat to boiling. Reduce heat. Steam until crisp and tender, about 6 to 8 minutes. Tip: Frozen broccoli flowerets (16 oz) and frozen asparagus (two small packages) can be used instead of fresh broccoli and fresh asparagus. Rinse in cool water and drain.

Place broccoli flowerets, asparagus (pieces preferred) and the rings of onion in a shallow glass dish. Shake remaining ingredients in tightly covered container and pour over vegetables. Cover and refrigerate, stirring once, at least 4 hours. Drain before serving.

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