147: Veggie love

(Rapini, aka broccoli rabe.)

M and I do our best to eat locally grown foods.  We grow some, we buy a lot from the farm just up the road, and while the harvest is at its peak, I preserve the food through canning and freezing so that we can get through the winter months on mostly locally grown vegetables and fruit.

But sometimes we just gotta have something that was shipped in from elsewhere.  Rapini is one of those somethings.  Also known as broccoli rabe, rapini is my favorite green, leafy vegetable.  Italian and Asian cooks have been using rapini for a long time.  It’s a descendant of wild mustard and has loose, broccoli-like clusters of florets and large, dark blue-green leaves.  This lovely veggie is related to cabbage, kale, and cauliflower.  Although the word broccoli is in one of its many names, it is not a form of broccoli.

Rapini can be quite bitter in taste.  One of the ways to tame the bitterness is to blanch it first.  Then pair it with red chile flakes which, I’m told, brings out the boldness while overpowering the bitterness.  The simplest way to serve it is to boil it first in a big pot of water for about 5 minutes, then sauté in olive oil with garlic and red chile flakes.  You can eat this as a side dish or toss the sautéed mixture with a good pasta.  Squeeze a little lemon juice over it all and you have a marvelous dish.

Fresh-looking, lovely rapini is now showing up in the produce section of a few stores in my area.  It’s a winter vegetable so that’s when I look for it.  It always shows up first in the Italian market.  Not long after that, I find it where we buy a lot of our produce, a local market that carries, when they can, locally grown fruits and veggies.  (The rapini/broccoli rabe was not locally grown.  It’s an Andy Boy product, shipped to us from California.  You can find a few recipes for broccoli rabe on their website.)

We tend to eat a lot of rapini while it’s available.  We had it for dinner last night with pasta.  Hence, my babbling on and on about it.  I ♥ rapini.


The February thaw continues.  It was 52 degrees (F) when I stepped outside today.  I stayed out much longer than planned, soaking up the delicious sunshine.  Gotta get that vitamin D while I can.

(The pond at sunrise this morning.)

Winter may not be finished with us yet.  In fact, I’m pretty sure Winter has quite a few more things to say before Spring pushes it aside.  But the sun has some say-so, too.  One of the signs of spring to me is the way the sunlight hits the tops of the trees on the pond at sunrise.  Of course I have to be up at sunrise to see it, and my latest challenge has helped me to do that.  Yoga this morning, by the way, was good.  Very good.  Day 6 completed.

(Little fluffy clouds.)

That link up there under the photo will take you to today’s music.  I’ve linked to it sometime in the past so I apologize for the repeat.  It’s a song I always think of when the clouds take on that fluffy, cotton-ball look.  I first heard the song on a CD we bought in an Oxfam shop somewhere in England, but I can’t find the CD.  It has something to do with Manchester baggy pants music…  the CD’s might be in the car, my mind seems to think.

The clouds have moved in and out today.  It’s clear as a bell right now.  The house seems filled with sunshine, so filled it might burst with all the light.  Or maybe that’s me, and I will be bursting soon.  It’s a joyful thing, a warm-up with sunshine in February.  One would have to be the world’s biggest grump not to appreciate it.

(Tree reflection on the pond.)

The pond is thawing.  It looks so pretty I wanted to walk upon it.  It might have been possible but since I wasn’t sure how thick the ice actually got this winter, I didn’t chance it.  Besides, there is no one around to rescue me if I fall in.  I stayed along the edges, on firm earth, and admired the play of light and water.  I also enjoyed the musical sounds of the ice thawing.  It’s a bubbling sound, difficult to describe.  I would have made a video but it seems the small plane pilots are enjoying the day as much as I am and every time I’d attempt a video a plane would fly by.  A helicopter joined in at one point and that’s when I gave up.  You would not be able to hear the lovely bubbling sounds with all that other racket going on.

(Thawing, ice and reflections.)

I took a lot of photos of the reflections and the ice, but it’s one of those days when almost nothing came out well.  Or so it appears to me right now.  I think that’s because I was so immersed in the gift of the warmth, the melting, and the sunshine that a photo just can’t duplicate that feeling.  I’ll look at the photos again when the Winter returns.

(Remains of a dove.)

I showed you life under the snow yesterday.  There is death out there as well.  I’ve seen several dead field mice and moles (or are they voles?) as the snow has melted.  The dove was probably a victim of one of the two red-tailed hawks that have made Breezy Acres part of their territory.  The dove was likely part of the dule I’ve been following since I began my outdoor adventures.

Well.  On that sad note, I’m going to get this posted.  I’m heading back out to watch the sunset.  I don’t think it will be quite as spectacular as it was the other day, but I’m sure it will be beautiful.

And, for dinner tonight (in case you want to know), we’ll be GRILLING.  Outside.  On the grill.  Black bean burgers and some grilled veggies.  Does that sound heavenly or what?