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?


27 Comments on “147: Veggie love”

  1. Marianne says:

    Robin, thanks for the info on rapini. I saw it in the grocery store, but I’ve never had it before. I’ll definitely try it now I know how to cook it.

    Day 6 did not work out for me. I had a bad night and didn’t get to sleep until 4am. So, I slept in then had to rush out for an appt.

    I should sleep well tonight though, fingers crossed.

    Beautiful photos. The reflections are gorgeous.

    • Robin says:

      I hope you got a good night’s sleep last night, Marianne, and are feeling better today.

      Perfection is not the goal. Taking care of yourself is. 🙂

  2. Bo Mackison says:

    Lovely post, Robin. I love to be near the lakes when they start creaking and making noises, as if they are awakening. Nice memory! Thanks.

  3. Bo Mackison says:

    Oh, for a t’ai chi report, I’ve made it every day except one. You’ve made it every day so far, right? Yay, Robin!

  4. The reflection of the pond with is really neat with the half frozen look. We are melting snow here too. Lovely photos!

  5. Rapini looks interesting, Robin. I’ll have to see if our local garden centre sells it when I go to buy my broccoli plants. I’m sure the winter vege seedlings will be available here soon.

    I love the tree reflection on the pond! I’ve been showing my daughter, Hayley, your photos every day and she’s becoming one of your fans! She’s interested in photography herself and is often amazed at the stunning photos you capture. 🙂

  6. Barbara Rodgers says:

    Good for you Robin! Eating locally as much as possible is good for us and the earth. But I just finished eating a little dish of non-local, but organic, raspberries I treated myself to when I went shopping yesterday. I think I’ve had rapini in a restaurant before… Will have to make a point of looking for it and trying it again sometime. Your pond is beautiful at sunrise and the tree reflection on the pond is very pretty. Sorry about your dove – death is part of the circle of life…

  7. Grilling outside sounds wonderful!! I had actually never heard of broccoli rabe until I saw it on (I think) the Food Network, someone had added it to a sandwich. Your blue sky shots are so pretty!

    • Robin says:

      Thanks, Holly.

      I think broccoli rabe is becoming a little more popular lately. I first had it about 5 years ago. Saw it in an Italian market, already cooked, and decided to try it. Have been hooked ever since. I noticed the last time I was out east that Primo’s, who makes fantastic hoagies (subs), puts broccoli rabe on their veggie hoagie. Good stuff! 🙂

  8. ladyfi says:

    Grilling outside? Already? And thawing… lucky you!

    I heart your wonderful shots.

  9. Meredith says:

    I had never tried rapini/broccoli rabe before you made it for us, but it’s soooooo good! If its in season, then I’m thinking its time for a grocery store run 🙂

    • Robin says:

      Glad you enjoyed it, Meredith. 🙂

      If you can’t find it at your usual grocery store, try Whole Foods if you have one nearby. They usually carry it this time of year.

  10. penpusherpen says:

    Hi Robin,
    Rapini, something that deeply coloured green must be good for you.
    Love the reflecting Trees in the Pond, almost like frozen tendrils reaching deep down.
    Poor Dove, but then Nature is wild and the food chain has to be fed.
    and as if on cue my stomach rumbled, almost time for Dinner. Gammon Steaks, grilled and veggies steamed…xPenx

  11. Love, love, LOVE the tree reflection, and the ice & reflection!
    Never had broccoli rabe, but looking at your picture of it makes me hungry!

  12. Karma says:

    My grill is still covered in snow! 😦 Hope your grilled dinner was wonderful!

  13. milkayphoto says:

    I’m with Michaela (thedailyclick) on the reflection images – gorgeous!

    I hear ya about the Vit D thing…we just can’t get enough here in the Northeast in the winter and my recent lab work showed I am LOW. Sigh. No worries. Trip to the drubstore to pick up D3-1000 which I will take twice a day.

    Glad to hear the yoga committment is going strong! I am doing good, too. AND, I just ordered some Cathe DVDs and can’t wait to get them in! 🙂

    • Robin says:

      Thank you, Tracy. 🙂

      I need to pick up some Vit D. I forgot to do it the last time I was out shopping. I used to get it with my calcium supplement but now that they’re saying calcium supplements can cause heart attacks, well… I stopped taking them.

      Cathe’s tough but you’ll get results. Enjoy. 🙂

  14. I am a huge lover of vegetables, but I have never tried broccoli rabe before. I will now though! The reflection photo is beautiful!

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