Just A Little Monday Food Chat

OK, so our local Wal-Mart no longer carries Greek yogurt or garlic, but for whatever reason, there was broccoli rabe (or rapini) for sale next to the bok choy yesterday. I’d never seen broccoli rabe before. Heck, I’ve never even heard of it! And to find it at Clarion Wal-Mart, of all places, is as likely as finding Krispy Kreme’s at Whole Foods. Seeing as I’m always looking for new and interesting veggies, particularly of the green and leafy variety, I bought a bunch.

According to Gourmet Sleuth, “Broccoli rabe (pronounced broccoli rob) is also referred to as rabe or rapini. This is another leafy green vegetable that is frequently eaten in Southern Italy and has become popular in the United States. The vegetable has a slightly bitter taste and is frequently steamed or lightly sautéed in olive oil. “The Broccoli Rabe flower looks similar to the broccoli florets. Despite the name this plant is not a type of broccoli but it is in the same brassica family. One of the many health benefits of this vegetable is that it is rich in certain phytochemicals, including sulforaphane and indoles. These are chemicals which are proving to protect us against cancer.”

I did a quick search for online recipes and decided to wing it since most of the recipes called for sausage and pasta and all I wanted was some leafy green goodness.

I loosely chopped half the bunch of broccoli rabe and blanched it for about 2 minutes in a pan of boiling water. While it drained, I sautéed a couple cloves of fresh minced garlic in a half-teaspoon of olive oil, added a couple shakes of red pepper flakes and about a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar. Then I added the broccoli rabe, heated it through, and sprinkled a tablespoon of grated parmesan on top.

Broccoli rabe is strong and bitter, but combined with all the other flavors, it was really very tasty. I can see how it would go well with pasta, beans or rice. If any of you have tried it and have a recipe, please share.

I’m getting closer to perfecting homemade fat-free refried beans. I cooked up some dried pinto beans this morning, mashed them this afternoon and added a mishmash of spices, then baked it all up in a covered casserole. I just ate a spoonful and I think I’m pretty close to getting the spices just the way I want them. They’re going in a Tex-Mex casserole I’m making tonight, so we’ll see how they get along with the other ingredients.

Have any of you made refried beans with black beans? I think I want to try making them next time. If you have a recipe, I’d love to see it!

That’s all for today. Short and sweet (or bitter, considering the rabe). Hope your week is off to a good and healthy start. I leave you with a little joke my friend Pam sent me today. After these refried beans, this may be the way I weigh myself tomorrow!

Finally, the correct way to weigh yourself

17 thoughts on “Just A Little Monday Food Chat

  1. I’ve never heard of that kind of broccoli before, but I would be willing to try it. I think that changing up diet keeps things interesting. By the way, I like that picture! so THAT’s what I’ve been doing wrong when I weigh myself?! LOL Have a great day!

  2. Hey there –refried beans are always a family recipe – so how you are making it is perfect. However, I’ll tell you how we do it in Texas. Cook the pintos per usual. Season a cast iron skillet with the tiniest amount of canola oil you can get away with. Since I don’t use lard in mine (!), I do add about a half-teaspon bacon grease to the pan to give that yummy flavor to the beans. Heat the pan really hot, dump in the beans and two cloves of minced garlic, and stir and cook until mushy. Add salt and pepper if desired. I add cumin. Most people add minced onion. (I’m allergic). For a short cut — buy a giant can of beans at a warehouse store and run them through the hot pan 1/3 of a can at a time!

  3. I’m new to your blog, but when I saw you were writing about broccoli rabe, I had to comment. that was one of my Pop’s favorites. He was traditional Sicilian, in his 80’s, loved to cook and we lost him last year. Anyway, he made it all the time, pretty similar to how you did. Sometimes the stems will be pretty tough and he would cut some of that off and throw it out. He would cook up a bunch of it, and then use leftovers in eggs, omelets, and the best is to put it in a grilled sandwich! Oh, he used a lot of olive oil in his, of course, but I cut mine way back. Anyway, so glad to see your post about it and I love your blog!

  4. Wait wait wait…you actually MAKE refried beans from scratch?!? Lazy McLazerson here just buys Rosarita No-Fat Refried Beans, which are pretty good, but I’ll bet your homemade beans are much better.

  5. http://www.amateurgourmet.com/2008/11/the_best_brocco.htmlthe link is a broccoli recipe that Shauna (dietgirl posted) it is VERY good and I thought it might work for your greens.I took your back picture in to show my free weights instructor this morning. She was very impressed with your hard work!!!I also have been meaning to tell you that I have been buying the Arnold’s Sandwich Thins since you mentioned them. Perfect in the toaster oven for the kids – very much a deli style melt taste without being too carb heavy. thanks for sharing!Also – I have been using your veggie burger recipe to make refried beans – I run the veggies through the food processor so they are tiny. And then I just bake in flat casserole (instead of making burgers) works very well.

  6. Lynn, I had the same problem of my local grocery store no longer carrying Fage! As it was almost always nearly sold out, I couldn’t believe they took it off the shelves. I attributed it to Indiana not appreciating delicious, lowfat imports. I live in Boston now, and it’s available at nearly every grocery store. I made the mistake of accidentally buying the regular Fage Total, and it’s one I won’t make again–it has over 20 grams of fat per serving! I find the fat free vesion tastes just as good and it’s guilt free.

  7. Hey there, thanks for all the links and suggestions! I’ve been to them all now and have written down your words of wisdom. Thank you 🙂Reen, I hadn’t thought about making it and storing it for sandwiches. I’m sooo doing that. Thanks! Beanie, we’ll have to have grocery shopping date at Martin’s sometime! LOL Vickie…aw…that was sweet of you to bring in my back to your trainer. I often wish I could see that side of me more often than my squishy belly 🙂And Shelley, yeah, I like mine better than the canned, but ONLY because I can control the salt content. Otherwise, I’m Lazy McLazzyasss, too, most of the time.

  8. Oh I looove broccoli rabe! I first had it in an Italian restaurant. I like to steam it… probably longer than your 2 min, maybe I go 5 or 6 minutes. Then a tiny spritz of olive oil, a sprinkle of lemon juice, and some salt & pepper. Yummy!And the stems are IMO the best part. I just use a carrot peeler to peel the lower half of the stems. The inside is so tender! I do the same with thick broccoli stems.

  9. I never thought of peeling the stems of broccoli and I bet it works great. My grandma used to make her kids eat the stems (as is) on broccoli and asparagus. It is one of my mom’s clearest memories of the kitchen garden.ps – delete was me – too tired to type. . .

  10. Hi Lynn,My Italian husband loves broccoli rabe. We usually cook it the way that you described, but sometimes add chicken broth and small white beans too. It’s great!Teri

  11. Broccoli rabe is my fav, a stable in an italian home. Put it in a big pan, with a little olive oil and garlic, let it shrink -steam out and viola!! Delish! Hope enjoy !!

  12. I love broccoli rabe. I blanch it, shock it in cold water, then saute lots of garlic with red pepper flakes in olive oil and add the rabe and saute it for a while. If you blanch it a little longer, it helps take out some of the bitterness.

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