Week 60: Broccoli Rabe

Breen House-003

Our office redo from the very original version with two tiny little desks and a terrible wall color to our new and improved space. I love it!

Every year we get a lot of the same things in our CSA, kale, chard, lettuce, zucchini, etc., but there always seem to be a few new surprises each year too. New varieties of vegetables or just new vegetables. Last week the new addition was broccoli rabe, a bitter green related to broccoli but with mostly leafy green stems and only a few tiny little florets. It is a very bitter leafy green used often in Italian cooking.So it doesn’t look like broccoli and doesn’t really taste like it either, it just happens to be in the same family. I grew up eating it and thinking of it as more of a winter dish, but obviously it grows in the summer, hence it being on this week’s menu. My dad would always make a big pot of it that got better and better each day, though it usually didn’t last long. While the pasta was cooking, of course it’s Italian food after all, my dad would cook the broccoli rabe with garlic and anchovies and serve it all together with lots of Parmesan cheese. The trick is to add back some of the pasta cooking water when you mix it all together. Whenever I would find broccoli rabe in the stores, which isn’t all that often, I would snatch it up and make myself a pot. Well, as I said before broccoli rabe is very bitter and something not everyone grew up with. There are very few things Travis won’t eat but broccoli rabe is on that list. I served it to him right after we’d moved in together in Boulder and did not receive the reaction I was hoping for. He pretty much hated it. At the time I was teaching cooking and nutrition classes to kids and families and told him what I told all my participants, which is that you sometimes have to try things 15 or more times to learn to like it, so he has 14 more to go. And the funniest thing is that literally the next night we had a big family dinner in Boulder at my Aunt and Uncle’s house where Travis was served, you guessed it, a big ol’ bowl of broccoli rabe. As I said, it was pretty early in our relationship so he was still trying to impress everyone and be polite so he did his best to eat a few bites and covertly let me eat most of his plate. It is not often that Travis doesn’t have a clean plate, but this was a very real exception. Thirteen more tries to go. Since broccoli rabe is served often at Pane family dinners it eventually came out that he was not a fan and he was excused from that course for future meals, but it is always fun to watch a guy squirm. We have dinner with my Aunts and Uncles tonight so we will see if Travis could be so lucky as to have broccoli rabe served to him twice in one week again. Great minds do think alike! Meal Plan & Grocery List

Monday: Asiago White Beans with Farro, Kale and Tomatoes

  • This is a totally basic dinner, a variation on spaghetti and sauce, that is very doable feel like more of a meal with all the extra veggies. And with the can of beans it meets my three food group meal rule.
  • I ran out of farro so I used half farro and half red rice, another nutty grain. I cooked them together and it worked out just perfectly.
  • Add any other veggies you enjoy raw for a little more color and crunch.
  • Because of the tomato sauce I served it with parmesan cheese, and added some pesto too.

Tuesday: Beet Glazed Salmon with Orange, Fennel and Pecan Salad

  • This was a new and different way for me to serve salmon. And the color of the salmon was just as good as the picture from the recipe for a change.
  • I served the salad with greens, extra beets that I steamed, and goat cheese since beets and goat cheese are a must.

Wednesday: 30-Minute Sesame Mango Chicken Teriyaki with Brown Rice

  • I made a few changes to this that made it more than a 30-minute recipe but we had so many leftovers it was totally worth it.
  • I stir-fried some cabbage with the onion first, removed it from the pan and did the chicken separately. I love the way the chicken turned out with a little flour on it. I’ve never tried that before but thought it browned really nicely.
  • The dish was a tad on the sweet side for me though the sauce was delicious and totally worth the work! I might use a few less dates next time and serve it with fresh mango as a garnish rather than the frozen mango that was mixed in. I think that was the part that was too sweet.

Thursday: Pasta with Charred Broccoli, Feta and Lemon

  • I used broccoli and broccoli rabe in this recipe to please the two primary eaters in this household. I roasted the broccoli per the recipe and sautéed the broccoli rabe with the garlic. I reserved some pasta liquid but didn’t mix it with flour. Instead I added the feta and lemon back into the pot with the pasta and added the extra liquid as needed.
  • I cooked some extra pancetta we had in the microwave and crumbled it on top. I highly recommend it.

Friday: Antipasto Salad

  • I love a giant dinner salad like this that is mostly stuff with a little bit of lettuce. I used a mix of romaine and red leaf lettuce along with some baby kale, and added anything and everything I could find. It was the perfect summer meal.
  • I don’t love salami in my salads so I skipped that and the tomatoes, but added other things I like more. So pick and choose what you like and have on hand and use this as inspiration.

Weekend Recipe: Jalapeno Cheddar Guacamole Turkey Burgers with Crispy Onions

  • This was just plain delicious so I thought I’d include it as a weekend idea. I used a different recipe for the onion rings since I don’t love dealing with lots of hot oil. All and all it was totally worth the work.

Ice cream of the week:
Because apparently it is National Ice Cream Day and I love ice cream, here is the recipe I used this week to whipped up a batch of homemade CO peach-ginger ice cream. It was “for” my book club but there was a very convenient amount left over. This is a new recipe for me that has cornstarch in it to help it be more scoopable once frozen. It goes without saying that it was delicious.

  • I used 4 large peaches, frozen from last year’s batch of peaches and added some fresh grated ginger.
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